Founders’ Memorial Park
1217 West Dallas
Texas Historical Markers: Numerous
“This park is dedicated to the men and women – many of whom sleep here – who founded and defended the Republic of Texas. May they rest in peace”
Originally named City Cemetery and later Old San Felipe Road Cemetery, Founders’ is the oldest burial ground in Houston. It is impossible to establish how many graves are located here. In the early days of our city, record keeping was spotty. In addition, during the yellow fever epidemics of the 1850’s so many people were being interred every day some were placed in mass graves while markers for others, if they ever had one, no longer exist. Today there are approximately 80 stones here, many so weather beaten that they are indecipherable.
Allen, George (1812-1854) – Real Estate Developer – Born in New York, he was another of the Allen brothers involved in the early development of Houston. He moved here in1838. George’s responsibility was to improve navigation on Buffalo Bayou from the foot of Main Street to Galveston Bay. (See Allen, J. and Glenwood – Allen, Charlotte and Samuel.)
Allen, Harvey H. (1819-1863) – Politician – He was the second Chief Justice of Harris County and first Railroad Commissioner of the State of Texas.
Allen, John Kirby (1810-1838) – Real Estate Developer – Allen was born in New York but came to Texas in 1832 along with his brother, Augustus Chapman Allen. These two land speculators quickly recognized the “commercial emporium of Texas.” In 1836, using money inherited by Augustus’ wife, Charlotte Baldwin Allen, they purchased 6,642 acres east of Harrisburg for $9,428 and established the town of Houston. During the Texas Revolution the brothers bought, equipped and armed a vessel they named Brutus to protect the coastline and transport Sam Houston’s troops. Following independence the Allens sold the Brutus to the Republic. It became the second warship in the fledgling Texas Navy. He was elected to the Texas Congress and was successful in establishing Houston as the Republic’s capital (1836-9). John Allen died of congestive fever in 1838 at the age of 28. (See C. Allen – Glenwood Cemetery.)
Bancroft, Jethro Russell (?-1848) – Texas Hero – Bancroft came to Texas in 1830 and served in Captain Thomas H. McIntire’s company at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Barr, Robert (1802-1839) – Politician – Barr was born in Urbana, Ohio. He was a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto. Following the conflict Barr was named Postmaster General of the Republic under President Sam Houston and continued in the position in President Lamar’s administration. He was one of many victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1839. He was buried under the auspices of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge and the Milam Guard.
Brigham, Moses (?-1854) – Texas Hero – Brigham was a member of Captain Amasa Turner’s company at the Battle of San Jacinto. He died in Houston.
Cheevers, John (?-1846) – Texas Hero – Cheevers came to Houston in 1829. He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto as a member of Captain Thomas H. McIntire’s company.
Collinsworth, James (1806-1838) –Texas Hero – Collingsworth was a close friend and confidant of Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. He moved to Texas in 1835 to practice law. He signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at the Convention of 1836 and led the fight to make Sam Houston commander of the Army of Texas. General Houston appointed Collinsworth a major and his aide-de-camp. He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and was commended for bravery. He served a term as a senator in the Republic of Texas Senate. In the election for the 2nd President of the Republic of Texas in 1838, he ran against Mirabeau B. Lamar and Peter W. Grayson as the candidate promising to continue Sam Houston’s policies. Unfortunately Collinsworth enjoyed his whiskey and after a week of drunken revelry prior to the election he fell or jumped off a boat in Galveston Bay and drowned. His body was recovered and taken by boat up Buffalo Bayou to the then capitol of Texas, Houston, where he lay in state. His burial in this cemetery was the first Masonic funeral ever held in Texas. Since Grayson committed suicide prior to the election, Lamar won easily as he was opposed by two dead men. The Texas Legislature named a county for him (although they misspelled it “Collingsworth”) and Collinsworth street north of downtown Houston also recalls this colorful character.
Durham, William Daniel (1814-1838) – Texas Hero – Durham came to Texas from England. He joined the Texas Army and participated in the capture of Bexar (December 5-10, 1835). Durham fought in Captain William J. E. Heard’s company at San Jacinto and was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Milam Guards when he died in Houston.
Edson, Amos (?-1837) – Texas Hero – He arrived in Texas in January, 1836 having been recruited in New Orleans for the Army of Texas by Captain Amasa Turner in whose company he served at San Jacinto. Edison died in Houston.
Ehlinger, Joseph (1792-1845) – Texas Hero – Ehlinger was born in the Alsace. He served in Captain William J. E. Heard’s company at San Jacinto. Ehlinger received a land grant in Fayette County where his family moved after his death. A local resident suggested naming a town in his honor. The spelling was changed to a more anglicized Ellinger.
Gammell, William (?-1869) – Texas Hero – Gammell was born in Scotland. He fought at San Jacinto in Captain A. H. Wyly’s company. His widow, Jean McDaniel Gammell died November, 1908 and is interred in Glenwood Cemetery on Washington Avenue.
Grieves, David (?-1837) – Texas Hero – Grieves was born is Scotland. He served as a member of Captain Henry Teal’s company at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Lamar, Rebecca (?-1839) – Wife & Mother – She gave birth to Mirabeau B. Lamar on August 16, 1798 on the family plantation near Louisville, Georgia. The law prohibited Sam Houston from succeeding himself. Houston and Lamar had an adversarial relationship. So when the election came up for the second presidency of the Republic of Texas, Houston’s people supported two candidates opposing Lamar – Peter W. Grayson and James Collinsworth. As mentioned above both were dead prior to the election so Lamar became the 2nd President of the Republic of Texas. (See Collinsworth.)
Moreland, Isaac N. (?-1842) – Texas Hero – Moreland came to Texas in 1834 from Georgia. He arrived in Anahuac where he worked as a secretary for Mexican government officials. Moreland became infected with revolutionary fever and authored the Anahuac Resolutions. This document protested unjust and arbitrary taxation by Mexico. In 1835 he joined the Texas Army with the rank of captain. At the Battle of San Jacinto he was in the artillery and served with the battery that fired the legendary cannons remembered as the “Two Sisters.” After the war he went into a law partnership with David G. Burnet. In 1840 President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Moreland as chief justice of the Second Judicial District of Harris County, a post he held until his death in 1842. (See Stillwell.)
Mooore, John W. (1797-1846) – Texas Hero – Moore was born in Pennsylvania. He arrived in Texas from Tennessee in 1830 settling in Harrisburg. Moore was a friend of William B. Travis and was with him on July 30, 1835, when Travis forced the capitulation of the Mexicans at Anahuac. He attended the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and signed the Declaration of Independence. In January 1837 Moore was elected sheriff of Harrisburg County (now Harris County) and in 1840 he won election as a Houston alderman.
Reid, John R. (?-1841) – Politician – Reid was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas in 1839 and a member of the Congress of the Republic 1840-41. He died in Houston on Christmas Day 1841 and was buried under the auspices of Holland Masonic Lodge #1.
Stillwell, William S. (1809-1837) – Texas Hero – Stillwell was born in New York. After arriving in Texas he enlisted as a private in Captain Isaac M. Moreland’s artillery company and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. In December 1836 he was promoted to the rank of captain. In his obituary in The Texas Telegraph it was reported, “Suddenly Captain William S. Stillwell late of the Texian Army died in this city on September the 12th .The New Orleans and New York papers are requested to notice this.” (See Moreland.)
Swearingen, William C. (?-1839) – Texas Hero – Swearingen came to Texas in 1836 to fight in the Texas Revolution. He was a veteran of much of the campaign and fought beside Sam Houston at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. He wrote a lengthy account of the battles of the Revolution and sent it to his brother in Kentucky. He ended the letter with a poignant close asking his brother Lemuel to “kiss William (his son) for me and tell him the Pappy will be there in the fall and stay with him always.”
Thompson, Henry Livingston (?-1837) – Texas Hero – He was a Commodore of the Texas Navy. The Texas Telegraph reported “The funeral of the late Commodore Thompson took place on the morning of Thursday last. His remains were followed to the grave by the largest and most respectable assemblage of citizens who has ever attended a similar occasion in this city. An oration was delivered at the grave by General Thomas Jefferson Rusk.”