Walking among the dead seeking hints about our past

Let us endeavor to live our lives that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Words of Mark Twain engraved on the memorial for Bertie Lee Hall (1926-1999), member of the Texas House of Representatives, storyteller and writer

Getting to the cemetery first is not a race you normally want to win, but, when General Edward Burleson (1798-1851) died, leaders of the Republic of Texas realized they were caught flat-footed as to where to honor their heroes. Burleson had served with Ben Milam in San Antonio; fought at San Jacinto; and served as Vice President of the young republic. House member Andrew Jackson Hamilton (1815-1875) offered his own property in East Austin, with the state assuming responsibility for the burial ground in 1854.

Other prominent figures from the early days of the Republic of Texas gradually were reinterred in places of honor in the Texas State Cemetery. The remains of Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) were moved from Peach Point to a commanding spot by Governor Oscar Colquitt in 1910. The statue of him was made by San Antonio sculptor Pompeo Coppini (1870-1957), creator of the currently controversial Cenotaph in Alamo Plaza.

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Four

oh you beautiful doll

Above, Historic Sheet Music Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-Three

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, August 1912

At Thomas’ invitation, Judge Ramsey loosens his tie and plops into the chair on the other side of the desk. His beard is stubbly and his eyes bloodshot.

“You were wise to steer clear of that steamroller in San Antonio, Tom. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. That was the most intellectual sound Oscar Colquitt’s men in the convention hall could utter. The second Cullen Thomas requested recognition, pandemonium broke out. The band struck up ‘You Great Big, Beautiful Doll.’ Upset, Cullen tried shouting over the crowd, shaking his fist. ‘Is this a democratic convention or a mob drunk with power?’”

Thomas frowns. “Sounds more like drunks fueled by the brewers. Children with tin horns on Christmas morning probably demonstrate more maturity.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Four”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Two

Above, “Colonel-dogs for all the men.”

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-One

Andrew Stevens, August 1912

Mountains of mail arrive for Mr. K every single day. Always.

But with Mr. K abroad, Andy agonizes over the piles, trying to determine what letters can wait until his return. What invitations require he pen a simple regret. What should be forwarded to Henry Koehler in accounting. And what should be called to the immediate attention of the Colonel.

If only he could turn to his brother for advice. John would offer it, but Andy fears it would be accompanied by one of those older brother sighs of exasperation. So, instead, Andy frets over each piece of paper. Sorting and resorting. Shifting some things multiple times among multiple piles.

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Two”