November 28, 2017

Jesse Grimes (1788-1866)

Jesse Grimes, judge and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of Sampson and Bethsheba (Winder) Grimes, was born in what is now Duplin County, North Carolina, on February 6, 1788. In 1817 he moved to Washington County, Alabama. His first wife, Martha (Smith), died in 1824; they had nine children. In 1826 he married Mrs. Rosanna Ward Britton; they became the parents of six children. Grimes moved to Texas in 1826 and settled temporarily in Stephen F. Austin's second colony on the San Jacinto River in what is now Harris County; in the fall of 1827 he settled on Grimes Prairie, now in Grimes County. On March 21, 1829, he was elected first lieutenant of the First Company, Battalion of Austin. He was elected síndico procurador of the Viesca precinct in December 1830 and in December 1831 was elected a regidor of the ayuntamiento. On October 5, 1832, he was put on a subcommittee of safety and vigilance for the Viesca District and on October 6 was appointed treasurer of the district. He represented Washington Municipality in the Consultation and on November 14, 1835, was elected a member of the General Council of the provisional government. Grimes was one of the four representatives from Washington Municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On June 3, 1836, he enrolled a company of volunteers for three months' service in the Texas army. He represented Washington County in the Senate of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas from October 3, 1836, to September 25, 1837. From November 1, 1841, to December 8, 1843, he represented Montgomery County in the Sixth and Seventh congresses. He filled out Robert M. Williamson's unexpired term in the Eighth Congress, representing Washington, Montgomery, and Brazos counties, and was elected to the Ninth Congress, which ended on June 28, 1845. After annexation he was a member of the Senate of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth legislatures. Grimes County was probably named for him. Grimes died on March 15, 1866, and was buried in the John McGinty cemetery, ten miles east of Navasota. In 1929 his remains and those of his second wife were reinterred in the State Cemetery. Source 

COORDINATES
30° 15.913
-097° 43.630

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

November 21, 2017

Don Deadric Robey (1903–1975)

Don Deadric Robey, music entrepreneur, was born on November 1, 1903, in Houston. A life-long passion for music led Robey into promotional work for ballroom dances in the Houston area. In the late 1930s he spent three years in Los Angeles, where he operated a nightclub called the Harlem Grill. After returning to Houston, he opened the famous Bronze Peacock Dinner Club in 1945. He booked top jazz bands and orchestras to play the club, which became a huge success. Building from this venture, with his assistant Evelyn Johnson, Robey opened record stores and started Buffalo Booking Agency a talent-management agency, by 1950. The first client he had signed was a twenty-three-year-old singer and guitarist named Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Dissatisfied with the way Aladdin Records was handling Brown, Robey decided to start his own record company in 1949; he named it Peacock Records after his nightclub. Over the years Robey added an impressive array of talent to his label, with artists including Memphis Slim, Marie Adams, Floyd Dixon, and Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, whose 1953 recording of "Hound Dog" was later imitated by Elvis Presley. Robey added a gospel division to Peacock Records with artists such as the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Sensational Nightingales, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Peacock became one of the leading gospel labels in the United States. Robey added a second gospel label, Song Bird, in 1963-64. In August 1952 he formed a partnership with Duke Records owners David J. Mattis and Bill Fitzgerald. Less than a year later, in April 1953, Robey gained full control over the Duke label. He closed his Bronze Peacock Club and established the headquarters of both Duke and Peacock there. His acquisition of Duke brought recording rights to artists Johnny Ace, Junior Parker, Roscoe Gordon, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Between 1957 and 1970, Bland recorded thirty-six songs that reached the Billboard R&B charts, thus becoming Robey's most consistently successful artist.

A subsidiary label, Back Beat, was formed in 1957 and became a soul-music label in the 1960s. The talent roster on Back Beat included Joe Hinton, O.V. Wright, and Carl Carlton. At the height of his music-promotion and recording success, Robey had more than a hundred artists and groups under contract to his various labels. At his headquarters, he built an in-house studio that served largely as both a rehearsal complex and a facility for making demo recordings. He made a considerable number of his released recordings at Houston’s ACA and Gold Star studios. Although controversial because of his shrewd business practices and dealings with artists, he is credited with substantially influencing the development of Texas blues by finding and recording blues musicians. His music director, Joe Scott, helped define Texas blues through his distinctive arrangements. Robey's business began to decline in the mid-1960s. He sold Duke-Peacock Records and the subsidiary labels to ABC–Dunhill on May 23, 1973, with the agreement that he would stay on as consultant and oversee the release of catalog materials, a position he held until his death. He was a leader in the United Negro College Fund Drive, a member of Douglass Burrell Consistory No. 56, Doric Temple No. 76, and Sanderson Commandery No. 2 K.T.; and a Century Member of the YMCA, NAACP, and Chamber of Commerce. He died of a heart attack in Houston on June 16, 1975, and was survived by his wife of fifteen years, Murphy L. Robey, three children, three sisters, and seven grandchildren. The Masonic Lodge performed graveside services for him at Paradise North Cemetery in Houston. On April 16, 2011, the Harris County Historical Commission dedicated a Texas Historical Marker to Robey’s Peacock Records at its original offices (now the Louis Robey Professional Building) on Lyons Avenue.  Source 

COORDINATES
29° 53.306
-095° 27.289


Paradise North Cemetery
Houston

November 14, 2017

Isaac Lafayette Hill (1814-1889)

Isaac Lafayette Hill, soldier, settler, and legislator, the son of John Hill, was born on February 1, 1814, in Jasper County, Georgia. In 1834 he traveled to Texas with his uncle Asa Hillqv. Isaac taught school in the Cole settlement in Washington County before joining Company D, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers, as a corporal under the command of Capt. Moseley Baker. He was in command of the ferry at San Felipe during the retreat of the Texas army in April 1836 and subsequently fought at the battle of San Jacinto. In 1845 Isaac settled near Round Top in Fayette County, where he became a prosperous planter and slave owner and represented that county in the Senate of the Fifth and Sixth legislatures (1853-57). In 1863 Hill paid an unknown substitute to serve in his place in Capt. Zebulon M. P. Rabb's company of the Plum Grove Rifles, a Home Guard unit. He later served as a private in Capt. James C. Gaither's company, the Round Top Guerrillas, organized by Brig. Gen. William G. Webb as a volunteer cavalry "to repel armed or hostile invasions of the state." Hill was married three times and had nine children. During the 1870s he was a promoter and stockholder of the Central railroad. He died at his home on July 18, 1889, and was buried near Round Top. Source

COORDINATES
30° 06.523
-096° 41.512


Hill Cemetery
Carmine

November 7, 2017

John Costa “Johnny” Rizzo (1912-1977)

Johnny Rizzo was born on July 30, 1912 in Houston, Texas. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals in 1931 and played at Galveston and Corpus Christi his rookie year. In 1938, Rizzo's rookie season with the Pirates, he set a team record for home runs that lasted until 1946. The Rookie of the Year Award had not yet been established, but Rizzo finished sixth in the balloting for National League Most Valuable Player in his inaugural season. He was traded by the Pirates to the Cincinnati Reds on May 8, 1940. In turn, the Reds traded Rizzo to the Philadelphia Phillies on June 15, 1940. After the 1941 season, he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers on December 10, 1941. The final game of his Major League career was September 25, 1942. On March 1, 1943, he entered military service with the Navy. He was stationed at Norman Air Technical Training Center in Oklahoma where he regularly played baseball with the Navy Skyjackets. Rizzo was 33 when he returned to baseball in 1946. He played with the Dodgers’ farm team at St Paul and was with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in 1947. In 1949 he ended his baseball career. Johnny Rizzo later worked in the sporting goods business and as an automobile salesman. He passed away in Houston, Texas on December 4, 1977, aged 55. Source

COORDINATES
29° 44.518
-095° 36.540

Section 502
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery
Houston