Houston Inner Looper’s cover article, written by Chris Daigle, featured Marks and tile curb historian Joey Sanchez. Take a look here: The Word on the Street.
Houston Public Media’s Arts Insights featured Marks and historian Jim Parsons talking about Glenwood Cemetery in the segment A Peaceful Place to Spend Eternity.
Take A Seat: Enjoy Fascinating Stories behind the names of some of Houston’s Historic Streets. Excerpts from Marks’ book are featured in a special section of the February 2014 issue of Papercity Houston.
Rumor Has It by Sharon Albert Brier, reported in the September 2013 Tanglewood/River Oaks BUZZ
Graveyard shift. Marks Hinton’s newest fascination is with cemeteries in a dead-ringer account called “Buried Alive.” He and wife Barbara researched and wrote about that topic and other local cemetery facts in Historic Houston Cemeteries: Stories From Beyond the Grave, available online at historichouston1836.com. The couple’s 12-day trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands included some cemetery hopping as well. A close call gave new meaning to life when they saw a Minke whale close to their rubber raft.
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Uptown-area couple fascinated by final resting places
Houston Chronicle, June 27, 2013
Uptown-area couple finds clues to Houston’s past amidst tombstones
R. Clayton McKee, Freelance
Barbara Hinton looks at a dog guarding Thanh Kim Tran’s tomb at Hollywood Historic Cemetery.
By Flori Meeks
June 27, 2013
If Marks and Barbara Hinton are going on vacation, chances are they will visit a cemetery. The Uptown-area couple has shared a fascination with burial grounds throughout their marriage, prompting them to visit the pyramids in Egypt, tour the catacombs of Rome and participate in elaborate funeral ceremonies in Indonesia.
“Cemeteries have always been one thing that fascinates both of us,” Barbara Hinton, 62, said. “You learn so much about an area’s history by looking at graves and epitaphs.”
The couple is exploring area cemeteries and the stories they reveal through their new website: “Historic Houston: Cemeteries, Streets and Lagniappe” (http://historichouston1836.com).
Marks Hinton, 71, said he seriously considered exploring Houston’s historic cemeteries through a book. His first writing project, “Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Names (Bright Sky Press, $19.95) has been well-received by area residents, educators and clubs, he said. But the book has not necessarily been a success financially.
Ultimately, he decided the website would be a better vehicle to share this new perspective on Houston history. Barbara Hinton is supporting the project by downloading documents and photos in cooperation with the webmaster and confirming the accuracy of the information they post.
R. Clayton McKee, Freelance
Barbara and Marks Hinton explore the stories behind area cemeteries and the people buried in them. This sculture of “The Lord Praying In the Garden” is at Hollywood Historic Cemetery, 3506 N. Main, established in 1895.
On the site are histories of Houston’s cemeteries and the stories of the people buried there. “A lot of these people are so important in starting the city of Houston,” Barbara Hinton said. “Houston is the city it is today because it’s standing on the shoulders of these people.”
Houston cemeteries on the site so far include Alief, Founder’s Memorial Park, Glenwood and St. Vincent de Paul cemeteries.
One of the newest pages on the site is devoted to Hollywood Cemetery, 3506 N. Main, established in 1895.
R. Clayton McKee, Freelance
Historian and author Marks Hinton savors the stories behind road names, such as Shinpei Mykawa, an immigrant Japanese rice farmer who died in 1906 and who is buried in the grave behind Hinton in Hollywood Historic Cemetery. Mykawa Road is named for him.
For decades, most of those buried there were Anglo people from the Houston Heights area. Since the 1970s, most of the people buried there have been Hispanic. The condition of the cemetery went downhill in recent decades, but an effort is under way to restore the facility.
Buried at this cemetery is Sarah Jane Gillis, 1826-1938, a pioneer born in a log cabin. Gillis was 9 when she hid in the woods and watched Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna burn her home as he led a Mexican army on the way to fight in the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texas won its independence. Gillis outlived three husbands and eight children before her death at age 111.
Also buried at Hollywood Cemetery is Julie Bedford Ideson, 1880-1945. Ideson was part of the first class in library science offered by the University of Texas and then became head librarian of the new Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library in 1903. She also was the first Houston woman included in “Who’s Who in America.”
Another recent addition to the website is devoted to College Park Cemetery, 3525 W. Dallas, a black cemetery established in 1896. The cemetery’s name ties in with its location across the street from the Houston Central College for Negroes, in operation 1894-1921. Buried there are freed slaves, World War I veterans, community leaders and people who died in the 1917 Camp Logan Riot.
Revival of a cemetery
College Park was abandoned in the 1970s, the website says, and became overgrown and vandalized. In recent years, the Rev. Robert Robertson and the College Park Cemetery Association have been leading efforts to restore the cemetery. Among those buried there are Annie Pruett Butler Hagan, 1863-1927, who founded the first nurses training club for black women. According to the Hintons’ website, she arrived in Houston with 50 cents in her purse and through her work effort and thrift, became a wealthy woman. She owned a homestead, three rent houses, undeveloped lots and a farm.
Also buried at College Park is the Rev. John Henry “Jack” Yates, 1828-1897, a former slave who would become the first pastor of Houston’s Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in 1866. Through his efforts, the church helped former slaves get an education and prepare to find work.
Along with the website’s cemetery histories, Marks has written sidebars on topics ranging from Cemetery Iconography & Symbolism to Houston’s Fake Cemetery. “Anything I think of or Barbara has that’s of interest, we’ll add it,” Marks said.
Another page on the site, the Gravesites Gallery, is packed with images of Houston gravestones, along with photos of some of the historic figures buried in Houston’s cemeteries.
Also on the site are the stories of many of Houston’s street names, which was the topic of Mark’s book, along with a link for book purchases.
The Hintons plan to continue adding material to the website, and they already have heard from area cemeteries and families interested in contributing information. “I think we can have a lot of fun with this project,” Marks said.” We can keep doing this for a long time.”
The Hintons also have been devoting time to their own cemetery arrangements and already have plots at Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery. “It’s the premier place to get buried in Houston,” Marks said, adding that their plots are very close to Howard Hughes’ grave there. “We’ll be cremated, and we’re working now on our gravestones,” Barbara said. The couple has gotten permission to have markers in the style of ancient Irish gravestones. The writing will be in the early medieval Irish Ogham alphabet.
Press from the Houston Chronicle:
• Fascinated by final resting places
• Spring Branch road names reflect immigrant heritage
• Do many Bellaire street names reflect gender bias
• Early Houston leader has vision for Kirby Drive
• Bissonet carries a long history
• Houstonian Marks Hinton has grave concerns
• Street names have broad appeal to Houston and beyond
By Andrew Dansby | Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:07am
Marks Hinton proudly points to the plot in Glenwood Cemetery where he and his wife will one day be buried, not too terribly far from the final resting place of Howard Hughes, Glenwood’s most famous resident. Hinton’s in no great hurry to join Hughes, actress Gene Tierney, William Hobby and others as a permanent resident. But he clearly has spent a lot of time there. A very fit 70 with his shaved head, Hinton looks a little like actor Terry O’Quinn from “Lost,” as he marches with purpose and vigor from one tombstone to the next.
“I know some people are spooked by cemeteries,” he says. “But I find this place so peaceful. Nobody bugs you here.”
As if on cue, birds resume chirping.
Hinton is compiling his lengthy study of Houston’s cemeteries for a book, though he doesn’t have a firm date for when it will be published. In the meantime, he’ll lead a tour he’s been giving for decades of some of Houston’s graveyards. “Houston’s Graveyards: The Gateway to Eternity” is part of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art‘s Eyeopener Tours, which attempt to dig up some of the city’s buried history. Hinton’s tour will include Glenwood, College Park and Founds cemeteries and will involve both driving and walking, with beer, wine and snacks available.
Hinton is still trying to decide how to best route the tour. With so much knowledge on so many of the burial sites, he has to pare down his tour to fit it into one afternoon. Hughes is obviously a big stop, though it’s fenced in because vandals tended to swipe the bronze trumpets. Others hold a different sort of history. He points out bullet holes in a baby-themed tombstone from the Camp Logan Riots in 1917.
He points out the modest stones in a pauper’s field, which rests in the shadow of a hill with more garish recent burials. Many of the stones bear names familiar to those who drive around Houston. Many prominent early Houstonians are in Glenwood. And streets are also something of interest to Hinton, who wrote the book “Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind the Names.”
A native Houstonian, Hinton attended St. John’s before college at Southern Methodist University. For years he worked as an investment researcher, writing reports for investment bankers, while pursuing his greater interest, local history, on the side. After he retired in 1999, Hinton dedicated himself fully to exhuming the city’s hidden history.
His knowledge of the cemeteries seems to speed him along Glenwood, which was established in the 1870s. He points out the rounded headstones for Union soldiers and the pointed ones for Confederates, and the stones carved to look like limbless trees that are associated with the Woodmen of the World. Sometimes the stones draw his attention: the one Celtic cross in the entire cemetery, or a perturbed archangel Michael, sword drawn, looking over a man killed in a card game by William Eldridge.
But Hinton particularly relishes those with interesting stories that aren’t as well known as Hughes. Like Glenn Herbert McCarthy, the charismatic wildcatter who inspired the Jett Rink character in “Giant.” “I think he’s one of the most interesting people here,” Hinton says. “He could drink, and he loved to fight.”
Emma Seelye doesn’t enjoy quite as lavish a final resting place as McCarthy, but her story is epic: A Canadian, she ran away as a teen to avoid an arranged marriage and, disguised as a man, enlisted with the Union Army. Strange as it sounds, she worked for some time as a Union spy “disguised” as a woman. She deserted after contracting malaria but later worked again without any guises as a nurse. She published an account of her adventures, which got her pension nullified because of her desertion.
Today she’s in a plot that holds 11 Union soldiers.
“It was called German Cemetery,” Hinton says, “but because of World War I, they changed the name to Washington Cemetery. Glenwood was adjacent, and that was probably a good thing. It allowed Glenwood to take it over, which means it was much better cared for than it could’ve been.”
Hinton rattles off the adage: “To speak of the dead makes them live again.”
Which means he’ll be doing a great deal of resurrecting this weekend.
“It’s our history,” he says. “It’s our heritage.”
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