February 26, 2019

Oscar Farish

   Oscar Farish was born on December 18, 1812, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and emigrated to Texas in October, 1835 to pursue his profession of land surveyor. He joined Captain McIntyre's Company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Regiment, and participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. In 1837 he was elected engrossing clerk of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. He was elected to be the first Clerk of Galveston County in 1856 and was holding that office when he died May 25, 1884.

29° 17.661, -094° 48.709

Range #3
Old City Cemetery

February 19, 2019

Lee Harvey Oswald

   Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1939, the third son of Marguerite Claverie Oswald. His father, Robert Lee Oswald, had died of a heart attack two months earlier. Young Oswald was placed in a Lutheran orphanage at the age of three, but he was removed when his mother left for Dallas in January 1944 and remarried. His schooling began in Benbrook, Texas, but he reentered the first grade in Covington, Louisiana, in 1946; he continued his education in Fort Worth in January 1947, as a result of his mother's separation and divorce. After he and his mother moved to New York in August 1952, he became a chronic truant and was placed under psychiatric care. They moved again to New Orleans in January 1954; in 1955 Oswald left school and tried unsuccessfully to join the Marine Corps. He found a job and used his spare time to pursue his growing interest in communist literature.

   He returned to Fort Worth with his mother in July of the following year and in October 1956 joined the Marine Corps. He served fifteen months overseas, mostly in Japan; later he served in California. After an appeal based on the illness of his mother, he was released early from the service in September 1959. A month later Oswald left for the Soviet Union, entering through Finland. He tried to commit suicide when ordered out of Russia, but while attempting to renounce his United States citizenship he was permitted to remain and work in a Russian radio factory. On April 30, 1961, he married Marina Nikolaevna Prusakova. A daughter was born in February 1962, and in June, after prolonged efforts, Oswald was allowed to return with his family to the United States. He lived in Fort Worth until October, when he moved to Dallas. On April 10, 1963, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker at the latter's home; the bullet missed Walker by inches. In late April, upon his return to New Orleans, Oswald organized a so-called Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He went to Mexico in September in an unsuccessful effort to get a visa to Cuba and the Soviet Union, and he returned in October to Dallas. A second daughter was born at that time.

   Oswald was arrested on November 22, 1963, and later charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the murder of policeman J. D. Tippit. It was alleged that Oswald positioned himself in a sixth-story window of the Texas School Book Depository and there fired on the motorcade of President Kennedy and Governor John B. Connally. It was also claimed that Oswald killed J. D. Tippit shortly after the assassination while resisting arrest. Oswald was finally arrested in a movie theater that same day in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Two days later, on November 24, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the city jail while being transferred to the county jail. Source

32° 43.946, -097° 12.194 

Section 17
Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park
Fort Worth

February 12, 2019

Jerry Gray

   Generoso Graziano, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was a leading composer, arranger, violinist and bandleader who is widely remembered for his work with Glenn Miller as well as Artie Shaw before and during World War II and then his own orchestras. A teenage virtuoso who led his own jazz band, the newly-named Jerry Gray joined Artie Shaw in 1936 as lead violinist and later lead arranger. He wrote some of Shaw’s greatest hits, including Begin The Beguine.

   When Shaw temporarily disbanded in November 1939, Glenn Miller hired Gray. Their highly successful collaboration produced dozens of major hit records, including a variety of American songbook standards, ballads and original jazz arrangements. With Miller in the AAF, Gray’s background and skill gave him the ability to blend a large string section with a traditional big band in a concert orchestra that some observers describe as “the greatest big band ever assembled”. Gray wrote and contributed to the presentation of popular music, jazz and light classics, his most famous efforts being Pennsylvania 6-5000 and Chatanooga Choo Choo.

   Gray wrote arrangements for the postwar Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Tex Beneke, where he developed a friendship with pianist and arranger Henry Mancini. He led his own band for radio broadcasts,and records,as is detailed in The Jerry Gray Story. In 1949 he formed a Miller-style organization, “The Jerry Gray Band of Today” and recorded for Decca records. In 1953 Gray assisted with the production of the Universal-International film The Glenn Miller Story. In 1957, Jerry married Joan Barton, a vocalist and film actress. By the 1960s he had settled in Dallas where he conducted the house band at the Fairmont Hotel. This later band generally featured more modern compositions by Gray and other contemporaries such as Sammy Nestico and Billy Byers. In 1968 he briefly returned to the Miller sound with swing arrangements of contemporary songs for Billy Vaughan's orchestra, including Spanish Eyes, A Walk in the Black Forest, and an AAF-like treatment of One of Those Songs. He continued to lead the Fairmont Hotel band into the 1970s before dying of a heart attack at the age of 61. Source

32° 55.567, -096° 44.369

Abbey Mausoleum
Restland Memorial Park

February 5, 2019

Thomas Barnett

   Thomas Barnett, pioneer settler and public official, was born on January 18, 1798, in Logan County, Kentucky. Before 1821 he moved to Livingston County, Kentucky, where he was sheriff for two years. In 1823 he moved to Texas as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred and on July 10, 1824, received title to a league of land on the east bank of the Brazos River in what is now southeastern Fort Bend County. The 1826 census of Austin's colony noted that Barnett owned two slaves. About 1825 he married Mrs. Nancy Spencer. They had six children. On February 10, 1828, Barnett was elected comisario of the district of Victoria in the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin. In 1829 he was elected alcalde; he represented Austin Municipality at the Consultation and on November 18, 1835, was elected a supernumerary member of the General Council.

   He was one of the three delegates from Austin Municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. On December 20, 1836, President Sam Houston appointed him chief justice of Austin County. Barnett represented Fort Bend County in the House of the Third and Fourth congresses of the republic, 1838–40. He died at his home in Fort Bend County on September 20, 1843, and was buried in the family cemetery. Source

29° 58.625, -95° 88.680

Barnett Cemetery