July 30, 2019

John Arledge

   Johnson Lundy Arledge was born on March 12, 1906 (his grave marker reads 1907) in Crockett, Texas. After studying at the University of Texas, he started his career in vaudeville for two years and stock with David Belasco before transitioning to film. He kickstarted his acting career in various films such as Young Sinners (1931), Heartbreak (1931) and the remake Daddy Long Legs (1931) with Janet Gaynor. He also appeared in Week-Ends Only (1932), the sports drama Huddle (1932) with Ramon Novarro and Olsen's Big Moment (1933).

   He kept working in film throughout the thirties, starring in Flirtation Walk (1934) with Dick Powell, the Charles "Buddy" Rogers musical Old Man Rhythm (1935) and the Dick Powell musical Shipmates Forever (1935). He also appeared in Devil Dogs of the Air (1935). Toward the end of his career, he continued to act in Twelve Crowded Hours (1939), the Vivien Leigh box office smash dramatic adaptation Gone With the Wind (1939) and the drama Strange Cargo (1940) with Joan Crawford. He also appeared in The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and the James Cagney drama City For Conquest (1940). His final film was Dark Passage (1947) with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Arledge died later that year and was buried in his hometown. Source

31° 19.905, -095° 27.936

Evergreen Memorial Park

July 23, 2019

Jeff Cross

   Infielder Joffre "Jeff" Cross signed as an amateur free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1938 season and spent five years in the minor leagues before getting his first look at major league pitching with the Cardinals on September 27, 1942. He appeared in one game for the team, managed one hit in four tries, and spent the next three years (1943-1945) with the United States Navy during World War II.

   Jeff returned to the St. Louis Cardinals after the war and was used mainly as a back-up infielder in 1946 and 1947 before being purchased by the Chicago Cubs on May 2, 1948. Jeff appeared in 18 games for the Cubs and was sent to the Texas League Shreveport Sports where he appeared in 81 outings and called it a career at the seasons end. Cross's major league stats showed he appeared in 119 games and hit at a .162 clip. He did better in the minors hitting at a .250 number while appearing in 645 games. Jeff's best batting average came in 1939 when he hit .288 with four home runs for the Mobile Shippers of the class B Southeastern League. Jeff played with five different clubs during his six seasons in the minors. After baseball Cross worked forty years in the insurance business in Houston, retiring in 1988. Cross passed away on July 23, 1997 in Huntsville, TX. Source

29° 78.340, -095° 61.414

Chapel Of The Oaks Mausoleum
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

July 16, 2019

Moon Mullican

   Moon Mullican, "King of the Hillbilly Piano Players" was born Aubrey Wilson Mullican near Corrigan or Moscow in Polk County, Texas, on March 29, 1909. He was the son of Oscar Luther and Virginia (Jordan) Mullican. He lived on his family's eighty-seven-acre farm at Corrigan during his childhood and developed his musical skills on a pump organ his father purchased around 1917.

   The elder Mullican, a deeply religious man, wanted his children to learn sacred music. Though Moon served as a church organist during his teens, he developed an interest in blues music and learned to play the guitar with instruction from a black farmer. Impressed also by pianists who performed in local juke joints, Mullican developed a distinctive two-finger right-handed piano style that became his trademark. Much to the chagrin of his father, he began to play for dances as a teenager and aspired to become a professional musician. When he was about sixteen years old he moved to Houston and worked as a piano player for establishments that some observers characterized as "houses of ill repute." Sleeping by day and working evenings, Mullican may have received his nickname for his nocturnal habits during this period. For a time in the 1930s he performed with his own band in clubs and on the radio in Southeast Texas and Louisiana.

   Later in that decade and in the 1940s he became associated with bands that performed the western swing music made famous by Bob Wills. Mullican played and sang this music with the Blue Ridge Playboys, a band that included such pioneers as Pappy Selph, Floyd Tillman, and Ted Daffan; he later worked with Cliff Bruner's bands, the Texas Wanderers and the Showboys. While with Bruner, a former member of Milton Brown's Musical Brownies, Mullican sang the lead vocal on the classic Truck Driver's Blues in 1939. That same year he traveled to Hollywood, where he played a role in the movie Village Barn Dance. He also led the band that performed with James Houston Davis during the latter's successful campaign for the Louisiana governor's office in 1944.

   By 1947 Mullican, who had made his first recording in 1931, had signed a contract with King Records of Cincinnati, Ohio. With King he recorded two songs, Harry Choates's New Jole Blon (1947) and I'll Sail My Ship Alone (1950), that sold over a million copies each. The King recordings, which numbered 100, featured Mullican's smooth vocals and a piano style that merged swing, blues, honky-tonk, Cajun, ragtime, pop, and country music. During his years with the King label (1947 to 1956), Mullican had great success with such best-selling recordings as Sweeter than the Flowers (1948), Huddie Ledbetter's Goodnight Irene (1950), Mona Lisa (1950), and Cherokee Boogie (1951), which he coauthored with W. C. Redbird. He was less successful commercially with Foggy River, Sugar Beet, Well Oh Well, Moon's Tune, Good Deal Lucille, You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry, Rocket to the Moon, A Thousand and One Sleepless Nights, and others. In some of the King recording sessions Mullican was accompanied by a rock-and-roll band that featured a saxophone player.

   In 1949 he joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was probably the first singing piano player to perform as a solo act on a regular basis. He remained with the show until 1955. During his career he traveled and performed across the United States as well as in Europe and Vietnam and entertained with such well-known artists as Hank Williams, Ernie Ford, and Red Foley. At one stage in his career, Mullican had his own radio show on station KECK in Odessa. He also appeared as a guest on the ABC television program Jubilee U.S.A. and entertained periodically on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. Mullican, who in conjunction with partners owned several nightclubs in Texas, served as a supporting musician on more than 200 recordings by other performers. The legendary singer Jim Reeves was a member of a Mullican band that played in the Beaumont region during the late 1940s.

   In 1958-59 Mullican recorded in Nashville for the Coral label, a subsidiary of Decca Records. His records for Coral were remakes of songs that he had previously performed for King, as well as such new releases as Moon's Rock, I Don't Know Why (I Just Do), Jenny Lee, Sweet Rockin' Music, and The Writin' on the Wall. Hoping to benefit from the ascendancy of rock-and-roll in the United States, Coral sought to incorporate this style with the more traditional honky-tonk, swing, and blues forms that had made Mullican a star. However, the Coral recordings achieved virtually no commercial success and little critical acclaim. Some observers believe that Mullican's strongest performances for Coral consisted of the songs that he performed in the more conventional country style, as opposed to the newer sound.

   From 1960 to 1963 Moon was a member of Jimmie Davis's band. He recorded for several minor companies at various times in his career. He made his final hit record, Ragged but Right, on the Starday label in 1961. He also recorded a few songs such as Quarter Mile Rows, Colinda, Mr. Tears, Make Friends, and This Glass I Hold, for the Hall–Way label in Beaumont between 1962 and 1964. Though his health declined in the 1960s, when he underwent several illnesses, he continued to perform. On January 1, 1967, he died of a heart attack at his home in Beaumont. Source

30° 06.338, -094° 06.080

Section 19
Magnolia Cemetery

July 9, 2019

James A. Chaffin

   James A. Chaffin came to Texas in 1835 to enlist in the Texas Revolutionary Army. He served in Captain Jacob Eberly's Company from September 28 to November 23, 1835, then transferred to Captain William Kimbro's Company from December 19, 1835 to September 6, 1836. He fought at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 and in 1839 was awarded 320 acres of land for having served in the army. Chaffin settled in San Augustine and ran a saloon for a number of years. He died in 1879 and was buried in an unmarked grave five miles south of San Augustine.


Parker Cemetery
San Augustine

July 2, 2019

Tom Hughes

   Thomas Franklin Hughes was a reserve outfielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly at center field for the Detroit Tigers during the 1930 season. Listed at 6 ft 1 in, 190 lb., Hughes batted left-handed and threw right-handed. A native of Emmet, Arkansas, he attended University of Texas at Austin. In his one-season career, Hughes was a .373 hitter (22-for-59) in 17 games, including eight runs, two doubles, three triples, and a .413 on-base percentage. He died in Beaumont, Texas, at the age of 82. Source

30° 07.777, -094° 05.883 

Azalea Garden
Forest Lawn Memorial Park