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The Sons of the Republic of Texas

to Honor

Commander of the Texas Navy 

September 19, 2009

L. Clay Fisher, President of the San Jacinto Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas,

has provided the following press release:

Founders Memorial Cemetery - Houston, Texas

On Saturday, September 19, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., The Sons of the Republic of Texas will honor the second commander of the Texas Navy, Commodore Henry Livingston Thompson, at the historic Founders Memorial Cemetery, in Houston, as part of The Sons of the Republic of Texas' official observance of the Texian Navy Day.  The Texas Navy Association will also participate by laying a wreath to honor Thompson and the entire Republic of Texas Navy.  At the time the Texian went to press, the SRT Texas Navy Committee had no announcement regarding the keynote speaker, but this year's ceremony promises to be special since it has been two years in the making.

Commodore Thompson was named commander of the Texas Navy in the days after the victory at San Jacinto.  The climate and vast terrain of South Texas may have given the young Republic some sense of security from another invasion by the Mexican army, but in the Gulf, the Mexican Navy continually blockaded Texas' ports.  It was in this climate that Commodore Thompson devised an audacious plan to project force outside Texas' territorial waters and raid Mexican ports to force the Mexican Navy to defend Mexico rather than allowing it to blockade Texas' ports.  At the time, this plan was highly controversial, but now historians agree this put the world on notice that the Texas Navy was a potent force despite having its tiny fleet.

The land fall of Hurricane Ike in Galveston on September 13, 2008 caused the postponement of last years observance of Texian Navy Day, and it interrupted the SRT's new tradition of celebrating Texian Navy Day — established by act of the Texas Legislature as the third Saturday of September. 

It is fitting that The Sons of the Republic of Texas renew its observance of Texian Navy Day on the heels of a hurricane since the fleet commanded by Commodore Thompson was ultimately destroyed by one of the most destructive hurricanes in history.  Just as the second Texas Navy was established on the heels of a hurricane, the SRT proudly will renew its tradition on the heels of a modern day hurricane.

About Founders Memorial Cemetery

Designated as an historic cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission in 2007, Founders Memorial Cemetery is a long-forgotten jewel of a cemetery in the shadows of the skyscrapers of downtown Houston.  The cemetery is the final resting place of one of the founders of the City of Houston, John Kirby Allen, 31 veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and many other early leaders of the Republic of Texas.  Most of the burials occurred in the 1800's, although a few are dated in the twentieth century, the most recent being 1949. 

The cemetery was badly neglected for many years.  As a result, many of those reportedly interred no longer have grave markers.  In 1936, when the city took back control of the cemetery, the State of Texas erected individual monuments commemorating the service of 26 of those individuals.

Further Information

Founders Memorial Cemetery is located at 1217 West Dallas Street in Houston at the intersection of Valentine Street.  The cemetery is located in the middle of the historic "Freedman's Town."  Due to very narrow streets in the neighborhood, there is very limited parking.  The City of Houston is giving the SRT a permit to allow parking on West Dallas Street in what is normally a no parking zone; however, people are encouraged to carpool where possible.  Further parking instructions and other details about the Texas Navy and this years celebration of Texian Navy Day may be found on the SRT web site (http://www.srttexas.org). 

You will not want to miss this momentous tribute to Commodore Thompson and the entire Republic of Texas Navy.  The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.  For additional information, contact SRT Texas Navy Committee Chairman, David Hanover (dhanover@suddenlink.net).

Texas Heritge Society