Archive for October, 2012

Whitfield Ross-9th Texas Cavalry-Colonel Dudley W. Jones

A few days ago, I saw a posting on the Texas Civil War History boards about some grave dedications in Houston. Having been a resident of the suburbs of Houston, I looked at the posting to see the names of the Civil War Veterans. In particular, I was looking for Colonel Dudley William Jones who had died in Houston in 1869. It is not a new search. I had read years ago that his grave was not well cared for nor was it easy to find.

This morning I woke up early and was in  a Google mood, so I started to search for the three cemeteries where he might have been residing. The first thing I discovered was that he could not have been in any of the three. The first city cemetery had been changed to the Founders Memorial Cemetery and was basically full in the 1840s. The second two, whose names I had were the Greenwood and the Washington Street Cemeteries were not started till the 1870s and Greenwood was actually Glenwood on Washington Street.

Then I discovered that a second city cemetery was started in the 1840s and was located north of the city on Girard Street. This cemetery was quickly filled with the victims of the several epidemics of that time. Some say there were over 10,000 people in the cemetery called City Cemetery II and was closed in 1904.

All was well, except for the unkempt graves.  In 1904 the city though probably illegally, De-designated the cemetery. In the 1920s the city wanted to build a hospital. Not having a good space, and the second city cemetery was beginning to look bad because it was full and not cared for the way it should have been, they decided to build the hospital over the cemetery. Even though it was opposed by the Daughters of the Confederacy they continued with the construction.  The city elevated the basement above the graves so they would not disturb the graves. A few graves were moved to facilitate the construction. Next the city decided it needed to build a Fire Department Maintenance Facility in 1968.  Again, because there was no one of importance except a few Confederates, the city went ahead with the construction. This time they moved a few graves to the Magnolia Cemetery and basically built right over the cemetery. In a later expansion, they dug up a few bones and they were being carried off as souvenirs until this was stopped and a anthropologist was placed in charge and the graves were dug up and re-interred at another location on the Fire Facility site.

Today the site is only accessible by special  permission according to an article written in December 2006 by Houstonian Tracey. Is Dudley William Jones still buried there, or was he ever? More than likely he was. Without family to protect his grave, it was soon over grown and not cared for.

What kind of city is Houston. Here are the graves of 10,000 people many whom built the city, but were unknown because of their wealth or because of epidemics that wiped out whole families. Dudley William Jones had no family in Houston, so his grave had no one to care for it. None of his soldiers knew he was there or dead until it was written of in Victor Roses’ book on “Fighting With Ross Texas Brigade”. At that time many were getting old, and the hospital, called Jefferson Davis after the President of the Confederacy, was soon built covering many of the graves.

Would some of you Sons of Confederacy in Houston check to see if Dudley Jones grave is still accessible or findable.

One of my friends here in Kerrville tells of his kin who are buried in McKinney. There graves are in a portion of town that is now run down and mostly populated by Black and Hispanic families. He feels that it is an un-safe area for whites, especially those who want to place a Confederate Battle Flag over their grave during Veteran or Confederate Veterans Days. He expresses the sadness of feeling that way.

Who was Dudley William Jones.  He was the son of Henry and Martha (Heron) Jones of Lamar County, Texas. Dudley was birthed in 1840. The year of his birth his family moved to Titus County and the community of Mt Pleasant. Jones was educated by his mother and the few schools of the area. He did attend Maury Institute in Coffeeville before the war.  He was even then noted to be “a great ladies man”. In 1861 he returned to Mt Pleasant and enlisted in the Titus Greys. This company soon went to Tarrent County to join the regiment of Colonel William B. Sims as Company I.

The regiment’s adjutant named Bell, was “accused of Abolitionism and Bigamy, the latter being pretty strongly proven upon him.” He was hauled out by the men and hanged. They soon elected Jones to replace him as adjutant and he was elevated from private to lieutenant.

The regiment fought through the battles in the Indian Territory in late 1861, Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge), Corinth, Hatchie Bridge and the Holly Springs Raid in 1862. Jones had been elected Lieutenant Colonel during the reorganization in May 1862. Sims had been wounded at Elkhorn Tavern. Nathan W. Townes was Sims replacement, but soon resigned and a 22 year old Dudley William Jones was elected to Colonel. His service was always good, but at the battle of Thompson Station in March 1863, it rose to courageous. He was cited by Ross the acting Brigade Commander.

Jones commanded the 9th Texas Cavalry through the battles in the Mississippi campaign against Sherman, the Atlanta Campaign and the Tennessee Campaigns fighting in over 100 days of fighting. He was wounded several times, but returned to be the commander at the surrender in May 1865. At that time he was also the acting commander of the Ross Brigade. He led his regiment home to Titus County. He traveled around the country for a year and returned  to his father’s farm in 1866. He soon learned law and started a practice in Mt Pleasant and was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1866. He was the president of the Texas Club, an organization of former Confederate soldiers. He was a member of the committee that oversaw the removal of the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston from New Orleans and saw to there interment in the Texas Cemetery in Austin.

In 1867 he moved to Houston, where he practiced law and was the editor of a news paper called the Klu Klux Vidette. On August 14, 1869, while eating dinner at a restaurant, he gagged on the food and soon died of a “hemorrhage of the bowels”. During the same time frame there was a bad epidemic and hundreds of people were being buried in the first city cemetery and soon they were being placed in the second city cemetery. Jones was lost in this shuffle.

In Mt Pleasant there is a monument erected in Jones memory on the town square, so I am told and have read. It was dedicated in the early 1900s at one of the Confederate Veteran Reunions. Did they know of the status of Jones grave at the time of the reunion?

This description of Jones life is found at his biography in the Handbook of Texas Civil War History online. The description of his lost grave and the debacle of the City Cemetery II are not there. This is discovery of this author this morning and the result of a couple of years of looking. Again I have not solved the problem. That will not occur until Jones grave is officially known and found.

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Lubbock in Kerrville, Lost Old People

It is almost 10 AM. Time to start getting ready for a Lubbock High ’55 event. Many people do not speak Lubbock. You must be from Lubbock to speak it. Where is it. It is where the sun sets, the sand storm ends and in the middle of the High Plains. That is West Texas for you that are not familiar with the area. It is the home of Texas Tech and Lubbock High School and some other lesser High Schools. Lubbock High was the only high school in 1955.

A Lubbock event is when one Lubbock High graduate gets together with another. This one is scheduled to have over 20 and is occurring in Kerrville, Texas. This is a small town on the Guadelupe River in the Hill Country of Central Texas. It is a normal Texas town, except that it may be the capital of children’s camps for there are over 20. Some have been operating for years and were the summer homes for many great people. Can not think of any, but a current vice presidential candidate’s wife may have been one. The camps are along the river and it’s many creeks and many have been around for over 100 years.

But back to the event. It occurred because everyone else who believes in Lubbock High, Class of 55 had already had monthly meetings around the state, quarterly meetings and other meetings and we old folks in Kerrville  had not even moved. We normally have an outing to a barbecue restaurant some where in the Hill Country, maybe twice a year. For some months we have been dormant or otherwise unable to come up with a reason to meet. This one may have been caused by shame, because we have not meet in months. Anyway, these meetings are necessary, for like groundhog day we keep reliving our high school experience. Over and over the same tales, with aging variations.  Of course we all get together to see who is still alive, and who is going to go next. Maybe, even a last goodby. This event was sparked when our communication’s specialist, Joni said she would be in the area. Then the Class President started to get together a lunch.

In June of 2013 we will have a mini class meeting to celebrate 68 years since we graduated. We could not wait till 2015 when it is our 70th. This may be because we all fear that the end is approaching and we want to get in that last class gathering this side of the pearly gates. The class as a whole voted to have meetings more often. Most of us are 75 years young, and are beginning to be less mobile. You know, canes and wheel chairs and scooters. I did notice that no one set up a golf event today. That was either unusual or was not publicized. We do have some really nice golf courses here in Kerrville and a few classmates still play. We also have world class polo and shooting for the Olympics here in Kerrville.

Well, it happened! The class met, talked, talked and talked some more. We did eat some lunch, but we still talked. Some just watched and others showed their class annuals and pictures. I saw a Cowhand dinner picture. The Cowhands were the middle of three football teams. The Westerners were the Senior team and the Pioneers were the last but not least team. I was a pioneer. Not a great football talent, but a gritty player.

Had to almost laugh when two of the class greats were trying to transfer some pictures with their iphones and did not have both the eye sight nor the dexterity of fingers to complete the job. Ah, what 75 years does to the physical being. We did do pictures of the guys, and then the girls. Only six of the class girls showed up. Guess the girls are too busy. I think the girls do not want anyone to know they are getting old. There were about 15 guys. All told, there were about 30 participants. The class president was there, and a cheer leader. Sad but none of the Crickets of Buddy Holly fame showed.  A couple of football players, not including me were there. I was a half miler. Close to 2 minutes. Later when I learned what physical shape was, I ran a half mile in combat boots in1:57 minutes and was second in a race around the Ulmer Cathedral in Ulm, Germany.

These were the kinds of comments about our passing life that were passed about. It is amazing what you can remember after 68 years. No one was late from being lost, so maybe we are not old lost people. Just the thought of putting Lubbock in Kerrville, is unreal. We found some new people who had moved to the area and are close by. They are even neighbors of some close friends. No one talked politics, though there were some hints dropped. The noise level was great, so no one used their hearing aids. That volume of noise would have driven one crazy. But it was fun, even after all those years. There were surprise member arrivals. Those who showed up though they had not said they would be there. There were some who did not make it.

We had more people come for just a lunch than some people have for their reunions or that they had graduate. The Class of ’55 of Lubbock High included Buddy Holly, the Crickets and many doctors, lawyers, preachers, contractors and educators. There are several writers and some high class musicians and music educators. The class has several bloggers. At this point in their lives many are advisers or on boards of corporations and funds.  They are at the point of traveling and having life end experiences. A few have even made bucket list trips, and are even planning to do more because their first trip was so enjoyable. Life is fun after 75, because you have reached the point you can do what ever you want and you can usually afford to do anything you want. Age does have its advantages. We even have a fund to make sure that those not so fortunate will be able to attend our 2013 reunion. It is also set up to protect names, so we are all equal at the reunion.

Our class president has a blog on Lubbock even though he lives here in Kerrville. It is available through the links on the right side of the page. He is one who is working on his bucket list, more than once. You are familiar with my blog, and I think there are more in the class who have activity specific blogs which do not include the class. Will keep looking for those blogging classmates. Several of us are historians and write of historical events and activities.

But what was this great lunch worth? Like the adds for Visa credit cards, the memories are priceless. The warmth of such a meeting can not be valued. One classmate came wearing a very heavy coat. It was totally out of place in 75 degree weather. Turns out another  classmate had left it last winter. Everyone had a good laugh. And such a lunch is a lot of good laughs. It has to be good for your health.

It is almost 5 PM. Some of us are home and many more are on the road back to homes more than 3 hours away. May the Lord protect them and get them home. Thus ends another Lubbock High ’55 event.

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