Short Biographies of Some Matagorda County Residents
Buried in Matagorda Cemetery


Compiled by Mary Belle Ingram
 


Hannah Carr
James Wilmer Dallum
Freeman Family
Gibson Family
John F. NcNabb
Lawyer Patterson
Dr. Benjamin A. Phillips
Nora Phillips
 

Rugeley's Company
Peter & Catherine Ryman
Rev. Norman Savage
James H. Selkirk
Roy Traylor
Isaac Van Dorn
J. Frederick Vogg, Sr.
Horace Yeamans

 

HANNAH CARR

Born a Slave – Date Unknown

Died December 9, 1917

 

Hannah Carr, a Negro slave of the Hodge’s family was a devoted servant and an excellent seamstress for the family.  She later worked for Lily Bruce Culver.  At Hannah’s death she left her house to the Matagorda Methodist Church who later sold it to Ned Culver.  A memorial window in the present Methodist Church is dedicated to this remarkable woman.  Hannah died December 14, 1917.  It was reported she froze to death after falling outside after dark.  She was found the next morning by Mr. G. B. Culver.

Visits Old Black Mammy.

Dr. Kit Williams, of At Last, the new town of Gainesmore, was in town again last week, (especially to see his "old black mammy,") well known in Matagorda as "Aunt Hannah Carr," who is now growing very feeble. "Aunt Hannah" is highly esteemed by old and young, and few there are who do not know her personally, for she has lived here about three-quarters of a century, in fact has been a member of the Methodist (Southern White) Church here nearly that long. During slavery times, as was the custom, her name with other Negro slave Methodists was on the roll with the white folks. Hers is the only name of her race on it today, and there as an honest, faithful and respectful old Negress and a consistent Christian, she is respected by all, yea, by many, loved--an impressive lesson to the race and a just rebuke to the mistakes statesmanship which tried to force social equality. Until recently when blindness overcame her the care of the church was her especial pride and pleasure. Aunt Hannah lives alone in her own nice little house just across the street from the Culver home and with her chickens and household work passes away the time.--Matagorda News

Matagorda County Tribune, November 1, 1912


Hannah Carr

Hannah Carr—colored—and an old land mark, was found dead Sunday morning by Mr. G. B. Culver whose house is just across the street. She had evidently been dead for several hours and the general supposition is that she froze to death. She was Mr. Kit Williams’, deceased, old black mammy and old residents here say she was 100 years old if she was a day. She was a strict and faithful member of the white Methodist Church having been brought up in that denomination by her “white mistress.” For years she kept the interior of the church in perfect order and was a familiar figure at services, always taking her seat down by the door. The Methodists took charge of the remains and took the casket to the church she loved so well and Rev. T. S. Williford conducted the funeral services Monday morning at 10 o’clock. She left all her property and cash to the church. God “hath no respect of persons” and we feel certain this aged darkey whose life of usefulness here is over has gone to a rich reward.

The Matagorda County Tribune, December 14, 1917

[Hannah's age was listed as 48 in the 1880 Census of Matagorda County, and age 75 in the 1900 Census. Using that information, Hannah would have been born c1835-1838. The census information would be a more accurate indication of age if Hannah herself gave her age to the census enumerators.]

 

Section A

 

 

LAWYER PATTERSON

Mar. 28, 1912 - Feb. 02 1993


Mr. Patterson worked for the Steves family in Bay City, but as a sideline, he made affordable concrete cemetery markers in his garage. His hand-made markers can be found in most African-American cemeteries in Matagorda County. Their distinctive styles make them easy to recognize. The three markers beside his are examples of his work. To make the inscription for the marker, Mr. Patterson fashioned boards into the size and shape of the front of the marker. He then formed the letters and numbers from rope. Each figure was attached to the wooden board with small tacks in mirror-image as to appear correctly when finished. The board was then pressed into the face of the wet concrete. When the concrete was set, he painted inside the letters with black paint. Most of the markers he made were single upright markers, but examples of double markers exist in the county. The markers were durable and could be easily read from a distance. Mr. Patterson tried unsuccessfully to interest younger men in carrying on his work, but found no one willing to accept the challenge. One of his molds has been preserved and is one of the artifacts in the Matagorda County Museum.
 

Section A

 

 

RUGELEY’S COMPANY


Headstone Inscription (East Side)

IN MEMORY OF

THE MEN OF RUGELEY’S CO, C. S. A.

WHO PERISHED DEC. 31, 1863

IN MATAGORDA BAY

 

ERECTED BY Capt. E. S.

RUGELEY

U. D. C.

 

 

Headstone Inscription (West Side)

 

JESSE MATTHEWS

J. H. JONES

D. A. McKINLEY

A. D. HINES, Bugler

GEO. M. BOWIE

W. G. COPELAND

J. M CONNOR

J. N. HOWELL

W. M. KENERLY

A. J. MAY

J. B. SEABORN

B. H. WALTON

JAMES RUGELEY
THOMAS McKINLEY

TOM WADSWORTH

T. C. SECREST

J. G. SECREST

HENRY GIBSON

A. C. JOHNSON

 

VOLUNTEERS

E. LAKE
E. DUGGAN

JULIUS SHAW


 

Note: This white marble headstone marks the burial of 22 Confederate soldiers who died of exposure while attempting a night raid on a nearby Union encampment on an island in Matagorda Bay.
 

Section B

 


SAVAGE

REV. NORMAN                             MARIANDA A.

DIED MAY 7, 1878                         JUNE 10, 1832

52 yrs 1 mo 10 days                      January 28, 1930

Together Forever

 

 

This gray granite headstone carries a brass plaque facing to the east.  It was placed at the head of these two graves by the State of Texas to indicate the  deceased were “Citizens of the Republic of Texas” (round brass emblem in the center of the plaque)   A Masonic symbol is placed under the name of Reverend Savage.
 

Norman Savage was born March 26, 1826 in New York. In 1829 he came with his parents Emilius and Mary, as part of a group of settlers to found the town of Matagorda.


Norman was a circuit rider preacher and elder in the Methodist Church.  He preached at Tres Palacios Creek near Deming’s Bridge and various sites in the county.  In August 1854, Norman deeded two acres of land on Tres Palacios Creek to the trustees of the church and the land later became known as Hawley Cemetery.
 

Section B

 


John F. McNabb
 
In the memory of
JOHN F. McNAB
A Native of Scotland
Who died September
20th 1839

His family who
immigrated shortly after
him, found only his
grave instead of a fond
husband and father.


 


John Francis McNabb, born in Scotland and as a young man immigrated to the United States, bringing with him a letter of introduction from his minister dated May, 22, 1829. He married Mary Ann Rocklehurst from England in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and they had two children John F. and Mary. In 1839, McNabb came to settle in Matagorda and sent for his family.  When they arrived after their long journey, they were told he had died and was buried in the Matagorda Cemetery.

Six generations of the family have lived in the historic McNabb home.  Mary Ann Rocklehurst planted a pink rosebush in the front yard and it was still flourishing a hundred years later.

Note: The new, gray granite headstone faces to the east (as well as the older stone). The original stone (made of white marble is located next to the replacement stone but it is lying on the ground and in pieces.  It is heavily weathered.  Note the spelling of the last name on the older stone.
 

Section B

 

 

TRAYLOR

ROBERT ROYAL (ROY)

March 16,                    March 7,
1903                               2001

 

1903                                  Roy Traylor was the son of Robert H. and Angelia McNabb Traylor and lived his entire life in Matagorda.  Roy was a former student of Austin College and the Texas A & M class of 1926.

For more than seventy years, he was a weather observer for the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.  He received many awards and was recognized as one of two observers, who served the longest time in the United States.  He was a member of the Shrine and of the Masonic Lodge #4459 of Matagorda and was recognized by the Texas Masons for seventy-five years of service.
 

Section B

 

 

JAMES H. SELKIRK SR.

BORN MARCH 28, 1815

DIED OCTOBER 13, 1862

AGED 47 YRS 6 MOS 14 DAYS

 

SHELTERED AND SAFE FROM SORROW

SELKIRK

 

 

 Note: This stone faces to the east, but is adorned with elaborate sculpting on all four sides.  The upper half of the stone is shaped into an obelisk.  The east side possessing the above inscription also has a sextant sculpted around a face that is supposedly the sun itself.  The stone has the date 1886 sculpted on its north and south sides indicating when it was placed at this grave (note his death was in 1862) which would have been the 50 year celebration of the birth of the Republic of Texas.   James Selkirk, Sr. is buried to the north of his wife, Lucy Hall Selkirk.  The family name is on all four sides of the base stone.

 

James Henry Selkirk played a prominent part in the affairs of Matagorda County – as a businessman and a public official.  With his cousin, James Selkirk, he constructed the first dock in Matagorda which was built on the south side of the town.  For some years he conducted a shipping and warehouse business for the planters and ranchers.  Selkirk was city clerk and treasurer, county surveyor, county clerk and treasurer.  He was interested in art and was a member of the American Art Society.  The 1839 historic map of Matagorda County drawn by Selkirk and is on display in the Matagorda County Museum. He died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1862.
 

Section C

 

 

GIBSON PLOT
 

MARY GIBSON
 FELIX FRANCIS GIBSON
 PETER COFFEE GIBSON

1857-1858

 

 

Mary Gibson, the mother of Felix Francis and Peter Coffee Gibson and the wife of Henry Gibson; all died in 1857 and 1858.  Henry Gibson and his sons were prominent plantation owners on lower Caney. 

 

Note: The white marble headstone of Peter Coffee Gibson is broken into three massive pieces.  At one time, this marker stood more than 20 feet tall.  It was in the shape of a Greek revival column.  The base stone itself is eight sided and approximately 10 feet in diameter.  Mary’s grave nearby is an above ground crypt of white marble.

 

Standing adjacent to the location of the markers for Peter Coffee Gibson and Mary Gibson is another massive white marble stone that is heavily damaged; this stone, at one time in the shape of a Greek Revival column, also stood approximately 20 feet tall. It is inscribed facing the east with the initials “F. F. G (Felix Francis Gibson) who died in 1857.

 

Photo courtesy of Faye Cunningham
 

Section D

 

 

FREEMAN/PHILLIPS PLOT

 

Henry T. Freeman and wife, Nora Phillips Freeman
Olivia E. Phillips

 

 

Nora Phillips Freeman (Aug 27, 1883 - May 1, 1961) and Olivia E. Phillips (Feb. 7, 1880 – June 23, 1969) were daughters of Edward Hugh and Amelia Swartz of Kenner’s Prairie on lower Caney Creek.   They spent their entire life in the Sargent area living on the land they inherited from their father.  Living a frugal disciplined life, they were hard working and were homemakers.

 

In 1962 the two sisters in accordance with Nora’s husband, Henry Thomas Freeman, created a Trust.  Henry Thomas left his land to the Sisters of Incarnate Ward and Blessed Sacrament at Victoria.  The purpose of Nora and Olivia’s Trust was “to procure, by purchase, construction, or otherwise suitable premises to be used and occupied as a home for aged citizens ....”
 

The Legacy in Bay City, a home for senior citizens, is a testimony to that Trust.


Section D

 

 

JAMES WILMER DALLAM

BORN SEPT. 24, 1828

DIED AUG 20, 1847

 

 

Note: The stone is approximately three feet tall and is plain with the exception of the inscription.  It faces west.

 

James Wilmer Dallam was born in Baltimore, Maryland September 24, 1828 the son of Sarah (Wilmer) and Francis Johnson Dallam.  After graduation from Brown University in 1837, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, he studied law in the office of  Reverdey Johnson.

 

He first came to Matagorda County in 1839 and in 1845 returned to marry Ann Pleasant Fisher, the daughter of Samuel Rhoads Fisher and Ann Pleasant Fisher.  On a trip to New Orleans, he contracted yellow fever and died there. Burial services were in Christ Church and interment in Matagorda Cemetery.

 

James Wilmer Dallam founded and edited a weekly paper in Matagorda called The Colorado Herald.  The first issue in July, 1846, carried the motto “Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely above all liberties.” Dallam County, Texas was named for him.


Section  B

 

 

ISAAC VAN DORN

Born in Pennsylvania

1801

Died May 30, 1860

 

Isaac Van Dorn came to Texas in 1822 and was one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old 300.  His grant was on Caney Creek near the Gulf of Mexico.
 

Van Dorn was elected the first sheriff of Matagorda County in 1837. After his marriage to Amanda Reader in 1837, he built a large home on his plantation near Liveoak Bayou.  He built a two story house with four rooms downstairs and one large room upstairs.  He burned oyster shells to make lime for the mortar and square wooden pegs for nails.  The Van Dorns were members of Christ Episcopal Church where Amanda and five of her children were baptized on May 27, 1847.

 

Note: This tombstone stands about three feet tall and is plain with the exception of the inscription.
 

Section D   

 

 

Dr. BENJAMIN A. PHILLIPS

1867 - 1938

 

 

This small, gray granite headstone faces to the east and is within the Berg family plot.   The inscribed surface is at ground level.  There is a Masonic symbol in the upper left corner and a symbol representing that he was a doctor in the upper right corner.  The plot is grass covered and surrounded with an approximate 7 inch by 6 inch wall.

 

Dr. Phillips practiced medicine in the town of Matagorda in the early 1900’s.  He was a veteran of the Spanish American war and was a beloved doctor and friend to the Matagorda Community.
 

Section D

 

 

J. FREDERICK VOGG

Born June 29, 1824

Died July 28, 1901

 

 In 1853 John Frederick left his home in Württemberg, Germany for a distant seaport called Indianola and on to Matagorda Peninsula where he bought land and lived there for twenty years through the 1854 and 1875 hurricanes. The 1854 hurricane hit six months after he settled there.  He and his family moved into the town of Matagorda in 1877 and lived there until his death in 1901. His wife, Mary Haggerty Vogg died January 6, 1908.
 

Section E

 

 

               RYMAN                 

PETER                                 CATHERINE

          BORN 1791                            BORN 1779

      Died After 1860                   Died October 27, 1866

 

RUPPACH NASSAU GERMANY

 

 

Note: This headstone consists of gray granite and is approximately 4 feet long by 2 feet wide by 1 foot tall. Between the two names is a circular brass emblem with a Texas “lone star” with the words “Citizen of the Republic of Texas’ encircling the star.  The stone faces to the east.

 

Peter Reimann (Ryman) and wife, Catherine, from Rappach, Germany in the province of Nassau, arrived in Texas on the ship “Harriet.”  The three masted ship left Antwerp, Belgium on October 31, 1845 and arrived in Galveston, Texas January 18, 1846.  Also on this ship were the two sons of Peter and Catherine, Balthasar Reiman, age 18 and John Reiman, age 19, both single men.  The family sailed to Indianola and then to Matagorda.
 

John Reimann  married Louisa Williams, Mary 14,1853 and they had four children; Julia, George, Carroll, Baltus Albert and an infant which died .  John served in the Confederacy, Company D, 6th Regiment Texas Infantry.
 

 Balthasar (Baldez) Reimann married Marissa Kurzenchacer (Kunrkar) September 26, 1846.  She arrived on the same ship. They were parents of eight children.  They were parents of eight children; John, Peter, Frank Philip, Josephine, Mary, Ellen, and William. Marissa died in 1865 and Balthasar married secondly, Anna Petrucha.

From the patriarch and his two sons, there are many, many descendants in Matagorda County and throughout or state and nation.


Section E

 

 

HORACE YEAMANS

Born July 5, 1811

Died April 30, 1904

 

 

 

Horace Yeamans was a member of the 1829 Elias R. Wightman colonists who came to Matagorda. He was one of the organizers of the Tres Palacios Baptist Church and assisted in organizing other churches in the area. His home built in the 1850’s on FM 521 is still standing.

 

Notes: This white marble headstone faces to the east is heavily weathered.  It has an illustration of parting cloud revealing a city in heaven at the top center of the stone.  The family name appears on the base stone.  There is a small piece of pink granite placed on the ground at the base of the headstone and has a small round brass plaque attached to it stating that Mr. Yeamans was a “Citizen of the Republic of Texas.”


Section E

 

 

Copyright 2006 - Present by Matagorda Cemetery Association
All rights reserved

This page was created
Oct. 29, 2006
This page was updated
Oct. 29, 2006
   

HOME