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Glendale Cemetery in what was Harrisburg, Texas

June 1st, 2017 1 comment

From Malcolm McCorquodale III:

I went to Glendale cemetery today.  Glendale cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Houston and is located right on the bayou in what used to be called Harrisburg.  (Harrisburg was annexed by Houston in the 1920’s.  I remember the Judge [Wilmer Brady Hunt] saying that he was born in “Harrisburg” and that not making much sense to me.)  This historic cemetery is not usually open, but since today was Memorial Day, it was open despite the threat of inclement weather.  There were a few people there and one appeared to be the cemetery archivist.  She had record books with documents relating to the cemetery.  (I requested a copy of some of the records that appeared to be interesting.)

Bridge Brady's Landing

I found a historical marker on the edge of the cemetery that reads:

SITE OF THE HOME OF

GENERAL SIDNEY SHERMAN

1805 – – 1873

COMMANDER OF THE LEFT WING OF THE
ARMY AT THE BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO
MEMBER OF THE TEXAS CONGRESS,
1842-1843 — BUILDER OF THE FIRST
TEXAS RAILROAD — THIS HOUSE WAS
BURNED IN 1853

Erected by the State of Texas
1936

Just to the North and West, across Brays Bayou, you will find Sherman Street.  If you follow Sherman Street to the West a ways, you will see where it intersects with Sidney Street.

General Sherman Tombstone

History of John Day Andrews and Houston History

April 2nd, 2017 Comments off

The following link opens a biography of our ancestor John Day Andrews who, along with his family, were among the founders of Houston. Many thanks to our cousin Dr. Gary Helm Darden and The Texas State Historical Society.

John Day Andrews (1795-1882)

My mother, Eugenia Flewellen Howard Hunt, spoke of nearly everything mentioned in the article, especially the relationship between the Andrews and Sam Houston. She said that when she was a child her mother would often take her to Glenwood Cemetery after Sunday services at Christ Church (circa 1920) to clean the headstones of many of the people mentioned in the article.

Sperry Hunt
April 4, 2017

“You don’t even know where the library is.”

February 16th, 2017 1 comment
Sperry and the judge at C.W. Post College Library 1967

Sperry and the judge at C.W. Post College Library 1967

My parents visited Robin in Manhattan, and me at college in my freshman year at C.W. Post on Long Island. It was springtime and their anniversary (4/29). In high school I used to tell Dad I needed to go to the library on weeknights, which was not always true, of course. He would say, “You don’t even know where the library is.” He and I reenacted this into a little skit for Mom and the camera that day at college.

 

Lennie Sherman

February 16th, 2017 Comments off

Lennie Sherman

This was a print from a painting. According to Eugenia Hunt this is the woman who made or helped to create the battle flag at San Jacinto. She was the wife of [later] General Sydney Sherman. Sherman was second in command at the battle. It is who is credited in Bartletts Quotations as the author of the phrase “Remember the Alamo.” She was the grandmother of Lucy Brady, who married Wilmer Sperry Hunt.

“When you are my age you will understand.”

January 26th, 2017 Comments off

Evinrude Motor

Good stories have clear characterization, character being defines as desire, drive, ability, compassion and perspective all of which change over a lifetime.  Here’s a simple example of those changes from my own family history. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I ponder my upcoming knee replacement.

Philo Howard, my mother’s brother, was  a frank, funny, energetic man. At sixteen, he ran away to Canada from his home in Houston. There, he lied about his age and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force to fight in WWII, which the US had not yet entered. His whereabouts were determined by my dad’s mother who read an article in the Houston paper listing Texas volunteers. Uncle Philo was returned to the bosom of his family forthwith. Several years later he enlisted in  the American Air Corps and flew P-51s over Europe.

My family had a party in Houston in 2003 to celebrate what would have been my late father’s 100th birthday. My uncle, who recently had his pacemaker replaced, couldn’t make the party. He emailed me this tribute to be read at the celebration. My dad, Judge Wilmer Hunt, was nearly twenty-years his senior. To his great sorrow he was denied military service due to his age,  very flat feet and a knee injured by my mother. (That’s another story.) The setting of Philo’s account is the rich farmland of eastern Texas in the 50’s. By prison, my uncle was referring to a pea farm, as they were called back then. They were minimum security prisons where inmates grew food for the prison system.

Wilmer was my favorite, because he liked to fish and many times took me along. One time he took me to Kemah and we got in a small skiff and towed [it] out to the middle of the bay for four hours. I was always a little hyper, and I almost jumped out of the boat after about an hour. Wilmer seeing this, started telling me stories. As I remember, this calmed me down a bit and I caught some fish.

Being a Judge he had access to a prison and one near Brazoria had a great fishing pond. He and I went there about three times. It seemed I always ended up having  to carry a small Outboard motor from the parking lot to the lake each time. I asked him why, and he said “when you are my age you will understand.”

A Celebration in Alpine

December 30th, 2016 Comments off
Robin, Grainger, Sperry and Lalu

Robin, Grainger, Sperry and Lalu at Reata Restaurant in Alpine Sept. 21, 1996

If you’ve been reading this blog,  you’ll know what a special place Alpine, Texas is to our family. Alpine was our mother’s artist retreat and our father’s vacation home. It was where my sisters spent many of their summers making friends among both the town folk and the ranchers as well. It served as my brother’s respite from the terrible summer asthma he suffered as a boy. It was in Alpine that Grainger got his masters, and his wife Barbara, her bachelors. And it was there that my childhood friend Mary Bell Lockhart and I roamed the hills and streets, and our imaginations thrived.

It was in the dark, in the rear seats of the college auditorium, that I watched Grainger and his classmates rehearse and perform Shakespeare’s Henry IV. (Grainger had the title role, in fact.) It was during those performances, as I repeatedly viewed the follies of Sir John Falstaff, the courage of young Hotspur and the coming of age of Prince Hal, that the seed of my film script Texas Dick was planted. (I’ll have more on that in other posts.) It was my attempt at producing the script that drew the four siblings to Alpine on this occasion in 1996. More importantly, it was a celebration of our connection to Alpine, our shared affection for William Shakespeare, and our deep love for one another. These were three of the happiest days of my life. You can see it in all of our faces. I have footage of us reading the script and romping around Alpine and Marfa. I will share clips with all y’all later.

Uncle Philo Back From the War

December 18th, 2016 Comments off

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Eugenia and Wilmer’s First House at 2920 San Felipe, Houston

November 27th, 2016 Comments off

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Judge Wilmer Hunt bought this house for his bride, Jeana.

The judge claimed that when he showed her the living room, she said, “So, this is where we will entertain our guests.”

He nodded and took her into the dining room.

She said, “So, this is where we will eat our dinner.”

He nodded and took her into the kitchen.

She frowned and asked, “What happens in here?”

 

Uncle Ryland’s death – the historical prospective

November 26th, 2016 Comments off

Jennie (Eugenia Kiesling) wrote this on 11/22/16 in response to the to the post about Uncle Ryland. ( http://allyall.org?p=410 ) She teaches military history at the West Point:

For those who are interested (and don’t already know as many of you do), I offer some military history to put my great uncle Ryland’s death into context.  In particular, I think that the report that he flew a “liaison” mission deserves some explanation for those unfamiliar with the nature of artillery “liaison” operations.   This story may be distressing to those who do not know it, but getting the details about war right is important to me.

Ryland enlisted in the artillery, and artillery was the most important component of US Army Ground Forces in World War II.  In that war the US Army acquired guns with remarkable range, accuracy, and rate of fire, but its greatest advantage over the Germans was the development of fire control systems for coordinating the fire of dozens of guns on a single target.   The problem with which field artillery officers wrestled before the war was that there is no point in having sophisticated fire control systems and guns capable of hitting a target ten miles away unless one can see the target, observe where the shells are landing, and adjust fire accordingly.  The problem of artillery observation is exacerbated by the fact that armies conceal targets worth hitting; moreover, howitzers, the guns with the longest ranges, fire at a high trajectory for the purpose of landing shells behind high ground.

During the 1930s, some visionary artillery officers acquired small aircraft and private pilots’ licenses in order to test the idea of artillery spotting from the air.  As a result of their private experiments, during the war the Field Artillery Branch commissioned a military version of the Piper Cub aircraft, designed the L4 Observation Aircraft, for artillery spotting.  The advantage of the L4, familiar to those of  us who have skydived from the Piper Cub, is that they can fly very slowly, allowing for a good view of the ground.   It was Ryland’s job to fly the plane low and slow and close to German lines so that his observer could see where our artillery shells were landing.  It is a sad truth that without brave men flying unprotected aircraft, all of the destructive power of the US Field Artillery would have been impotent.

On 4 July 1944, when Ryland was preforming that crucial artillery spotting role, his plane was hit by a shell from an American 155mm howitzer.   The after action review concluded that the density of US shells was so great that American pilots would be safer flying over German lines, and for the rest of the war our pilots flew their observation missions closer to their targets and further from their own guns.  Like so many wartime death’s Ryland’s was a fluke in the sense that no one was aiming at him.  Unlike many soldiers, he was doing a specific task he knew to be essential to our military operations.   His death created a change in doctrine that probably saved other lives.  But it is very sad story.

The information about Ryland comes from Edward Raines, Eyes of the Artillery: The Origins of Modern US Army Aviation in World War II, a book that wondered into my office many years ago.  I asked Raines whether he knew anything more about the episode, but he did not.

Incidentally, while writing this I am snacking on a dish of yoghurt and frozen cherries, a dessert idea I owe to another uncle, Malcolm McCorquodale, which I often eat with fond thoughts.

Love, Jennie

Judge Wilmer Hunt sat on the board of Houston’s first African-American hospital

November 25th, 2016 Comments off

riverside-general

In the early to mid-1960’s my father, Judge Wilmer Brady Hunt sat on the board of Riverside General, Houston’s first African-American hospital.  Here is an article on the institution, which finally closed in 2014. He took me there on a visit in the summer of 1963.
Sperry Hunt

The article reads:

The Houston Negro Hospital was created in 1926 when the earlier black Union-Jeramiah Hospital was no longer capable of accommodating the rapidly growing black population of Houston, Texas. African American community leaders began a campaign to garner support from local physicians when oilman Joseph Cullinan, who had earlier supported the existing hospital, donated $80,000 to construct a new facility. The city of Houston donated three acres of land in the Third Ward for the new fifty-bed hospital. Construction began in 1925.  

The dedication of the hospital was held on June 19, 1926, a major local holiday in Texas known as “Juneteenth,” which commemorates the day Emancipation occurred in the state.  At the dedication a bronze tablet from the Tiffany Company was unveiled stating that the building was erected “in memory of Lieutenant John Halm Cullinan,” Joseph Cullinan’s son who had died during World War I. The tablet also declared that the hospital was “dedicated to the American Negro to promote self-help, to insure good citizenship, and for the relief of suffering, sickness, and disease among them.”

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