Portal:Texas/Selected Biography

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Selected Biography

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Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was a pioneering aviator, engineer, industrialist and film producer. He was widely known as a playboy and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is famous for setting multiple world air-speed records; building the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules airplanes; producing Hell's Angels and The Outlaw; and, for his debilitating and eccentric behavior later in life.

Hughes was born in Houston, Texas, on December 24, 1905, although some biographers dispute this date. His parents were Allene Gano Hughes and Howard R. Hughes Sr., who patented the tri-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for oil in previously inaccessible places. Howard R. Hughes Sr. founded Hughes Tool Company in 1909 to commercialize this invention.

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William Perry "Bill" Clements, Jr. (born April 17, 1917) is the first Republican to have served as governor of the U.S. state of Texas since Reconstruction. He served two nonconsecutive terms from 1979-1983 and 1987-1991. Clements was born in Dallas and worked as an oil driller for many years. He founded SEDCO, the world's largest offshore drilling company. Clements entered politics as the Deputy United States Secretary of Defense under Presidents Nixon and Ford, in the latter administration under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969). After serving a long career in the U.S. Congress, Johnson became the 37th Vice President; in 1963, he succeeded to the presidency following President John F. Kennedy's assassination. He was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for the passage of key liberal legislation in many areas, including civil rights laws, Medicare, a major "War on Poverty", as well as the acceleration of the war in Vietnam.

Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas, on August 27, 1908, in a small farmhouse in a poor area on the Pedernales River. His parents, Samuel Ealy Johnson and Rebekah Baines, had three girls and two boys: LBJ and his brother, Sam Houston, and sisters Rebekah (1910-1978), Josefa (1912-1961), and Lucia (1916-1997).

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Samuel Houston (March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863) was a 19th century American statesman, politician and soldier. The Virginia-born Houston was a key figure in the history of Texas, including periods as President of the Republic of Texas, Senator for Texas after it joined the Union, and finally as governor. Although a slave owner and opponent of abolitionism, his unionist convictions meant he refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy when Texas seceded from the Union, bringing his governorship to an end. To avoid bloodshed, he refused an offer of an army to put down the rebellion, and instead retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he died before the end of the war.

His earlier life included emigration to Tennessee, time spent with the Cherokee Nation (into which he was adopted and later married into), military service in the War of 1812, and subsequent successful involvement in Tennessee politics. Indeed, as of 2006, Houston has been the only person in U.S. history to have been the governor of two different states, Tennessee and Texas.

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Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious robbers and criminals who travelled the central United States during the Great Depression. Their exploits were known nationwide. They captivated the attention of the American press and its readership during what is sometimes referred to as the "public enemy era" between 1931 and 1935.

Though the public at the time believed Bonnie to be a full partner in the gang, the role of Bonnie Parker in the Barrow Gang crimes has long been a source of controversy. Gang members W.D. Jones and Ralph Fults testified that they never saw Bonnie fire a gun, and described her role as logistical. Jones' sworn statement was that "Bonnie never packed a gun, out of the five major gun battles I was with them she never fired a gun." Writing with Phillip Steele in The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde, Marie Barrow, Clyde's youngest sister, made the same claim: "Bonnie never fired a shot. She just followed my brother no matter where he went."

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Sam Bass (21 July 1851–21 July 1878) was a nineteenth-century American train robber and western icon. Handsome and charismatic, he is best known for his brief, yet extremely lucrative career as a train and bank robber. Born in Indiana in 1851, Bass moved to Denton, Texas, as a young adult. He acquired a prized racing mare and made his living from racing horses from 1874 to 1876. He often traveled to San Antonio during this period. He led a cattle drive north from South Texas, which successfully completed its mission in Nebraska.

He bought a mine, ran a saloon and began robbing stages, all netting very little for him. Then, as part of a gang, he robbed the Union Pacific gold train from San Francisco. Their take was $60,000, shared amongst the 6 gang members. To this day it is the single largest robbery of the Union Pacific. With the Pinkertons and other law enforcement officers on his tail, including lawman Charlie Bassett, he headed back to Denton, Texas.

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Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson, known commonly as Lady Bird Johnson, (born December 22, 1912), is the widow of Lyndon B. Johnson and was First Lady of the United States from 1963-1969. She was born in Karnack, Texas to Minnie Patillo-Taylor (1868-1918) and T.J. Taylor. Her nickname of "Lady Bird" originated while she was an infant. A nursemaid commented on her, "She's as pretty as a ladybird." She graduated from Marshall Senior High School in Marshall, Texas and studied journalism and art at St. Mary's Episcopal School for Girls and the University of Texas at Austin.

She married Lyndon Baines Johnson on November 17, 1934 at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas. They had two daughters, Lynda Bird Johnson, wife of Charles S. Robb, and Luci Baines Johnson, who married Pat Nugent and Ian Turpin.

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James Stephen "Jim" Hogg (March 24, 1851-March 3, 1906) Born near Rusk, Texas, Hogg was a Texas lawyer and statesman, and the first native to become Governor of Texas. Hogg is often remembered for naming his daughter Ima Hogg, an odd name which derived from a poem written by James' brother. Hogg was a follower of the conservative New South Creed which became popular following the U.S. Civil War.

James was born to Joseph Lewis Hogg and Lucanda McMath. His father died in 1862 followed by his mother's death in 1863. Young Jim and his siblings had to run the Hogg family plantation. In 1866, Hogg went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to study. Upon returning to Texas, he became a typesetter of Andrew Jackson's newspaper. Eventually, the Hogg family's fortune went away as a direct consequence of Hogg's mother and father's deaths. The Hogg estate had to be sold, and Jim and his brothers decided to work for the law.

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John Bowden Connally, Jr. (February 27, 1917 – June 15, 1993) was a powerful American politician from the state of Texas. He was first a member of the Democratic Party, and in 1973, at the height of the Watergate affair, he switched allegiance to the Republican Party.

Connally was born into a large family in Floresville, the seat of Wilson County, located south of San Antonio. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, where he was student body president. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was an aide to Lyndon Baines Johnson when the latter was a young congressman, and maintained ties to Johnson throughout his career. During the Vietnam War, Connally hawkishly urged Johnson to "finish" it by whatever military means necessary.

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Chester William Nimitz (February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) was the Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces for the United States and Allied forces during World War II. He was the United States' leading authority on submarines, as well as Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Navigation in 1939. He was his country's last surviving Fleet Admiral.

Chester W. Nimitz, son of Chester Bernhard and Anna (Henke) Nimitz, was born in Fredericksburg, Texas, where his house is now a museum. He was significantly influenced by his grandfather, Charles H. Nimitz, a former seaman in the German Merchant Marine. Originally, young Nimitz had hoped to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and become an Army officer, but there were no appointments available. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from the 12th Congressional District of Texas in 1901, and graduated with distinction in January 1905, 7th in a class of 144. He was known throughout World War II as the "Island Hopper" during the Pacific campaign.

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James Bowie (1796 - March 6, 1836), aka Jim Bowie, was a 19th century pioneer and soldier who took a prominent part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. He was born in Kentucky, and spent most of his life in Louisiana before moving to Texas and joining in the revolution.

Bowie is also known for the style of knife he carried, which came to be known as the "Bowie knife". Stories of his frontier spirit has made him one of the most colorful folk heroes of Texas history. During the period before the Texas Revolution, Bowie had all sorts of adventures, including his famous search for the silver mines of San Saba, which proved unsuccessful. Also during this time, he became embroiled in many fights and was known for his fiery temper.

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Anson Jones (January 20, 1798 – January 9, 1858) was a doctor, businessman, congressman, and the last president of the Republic of Texas, sometimes called the "Architect of Annexation."

Jones was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In 1820, Jones was licensed as a doctor by the Oneida, New York, Medical Society, and began practicing. In 1833 Jones headed west to Texas, settling eventually in Brazoria. Here, at last, he met with success, establishing a medical practice that prospered quickly. In 1835 he began to speak out about the growing tensions between Texas and Mexico, and that year he attended The Consultation, a meeting held at Columbia by Texas patriots to discuss the fight with Mexico. Jones himself presented a resolution at the Consultation calling for a convention to be held to declare independence, but he himself refused to be nominated to the convention.

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Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), better known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer, songwriter, and a pioneer of Rock and Roll. The change of spelling of Holley to Holly came about because of an error in a contract he was asked to sign, listing him as Buddy Holly. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career. The original spelling of "Holley" was engraved on his headstone.

Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, Texas to Lawrence Odell Holley and Ella Pauline Drake. The Holleys were a musical family and as a young boy, Holley learned to play the violin, piano and guitar. In the fall of 1949, he met Bob Montgomery at Hutchinson Jr. High School.

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Woodrow Tracy Harrelson (born July 23, 1961), better known as Woody Harrelson, is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winner American actor. He was the only regular cast member of Cheers to have been nominated for an Academy Award.

Harrelson was born in Midland, Texas to Charles Voyde Harrelson and Diane Lou Oswald, who divorced in 1964; he has two brothers, Jordan and Brett. His father, a professional hitman, was twice convicted for murder for hire, and was jailed for most of Harrelson's childhood for performing a hired killing.

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Gregory Alan Maddux (born April 14, 1966, in San Angelo, Texas, USA) is a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. He is one of only nine pitchers in Major League history to achieve 300 career wins and 3000 strikeouts. He won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher.

Maddux was drafted in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs, making his Major League debut in September 1986 after some time in the minor leagues. Oddly, his first appearance in a major league game was as a pinch runner. At the time, he was the youngest player in the majors.

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Steven James Williams (born December 18, 1964 in Victoria, Texas), better known by his ring name Stone Cold Steve Austin, is an American actor and former professional wrestler. His birth name was Steven James Anderson; he took on the name of Williams when he was adopted by his stepfather, Ken (his biological father had left the family when Williams was a child).

After debuting in 1989, Williams wrestled for promotions such as World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation. Austin was forced to retire from the ring in 2003 due to a variety of chronic injuries, since which time he has pursued an acting career.

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Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American soldier and politician. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45. In 1949 he became the first supreme commander of NATO. As a Republican, he was elected the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961). As president he ended the Korean War, kept up the pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, reoriented the defense budget toward nuclear weapons, launched the space race, enlarged the Social Security program, and built the interstate highway system.

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Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist and former politician who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. In 2004, Forbes magazine called her the fourth most powerful woman in the United States and the sixth most powerful in the world.

Prior to joining the Supreme Court, she was a politician and jurist in Arizona. She was nominated to the Court by President Ronald Reagan and served for over twenty-four years. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of her successor. Justice Samuel Alito, nominated to take her seat in October 2005, received confirmation on January 31, 2006.

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Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1924–May 28, 1971) was an American soldier in World War II. In 27 months of combat action, he became the most decorated soldier in the history of the U.S. Army. Murphy received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, along with 32 additional medals awarded for bravery and service. In the later part of his life, he went on to have a successful movie career, including the extremely popular To Hell and Back.

Audie Leon Murphy was born to Emmett and Josie Bell Murphy (née Killian), two poor sharecroppers. He grew up near Celeste, Texas. He died in an airplane crash in May 1971.

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Lance Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson on September 18, 1971) is a retired American professional road racing cyclist. He is most famous for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. These record-breaking feats were accomplished several years after brain and testicular surgery, and extensive chemotherapy in 1996, to treat testicular cancer that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. Armstrong's domination at the event had prompted many Americans to nickname the race the "Tour de Lance".

In 2002, Sports Illustrated magazine named him Sportsman of the Year. Armstrong retired from racing on July 24, 2005, at the end of the 2005 Tour de France.

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Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas) is the founder of Dell, Inc.. Dell is the son of an orthodontist and grew up in a well-to-do Jewish family. Dell attended Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, where he did not excel scholastically.

After graduating high school, he attended the University of Texas at Austin intending to become a physician. While at the university, he started a computer company called PCs Limited in his room in Dobie Center. The company became successful enough that, with the help of an additional loan from his grandparents, Dell dropped out of college at the age of 19 to run the business full-time.

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William Ben Hogan (August 13, 1912 – July 29, 1997) was a professional golfer, who was born in Dublin, Texas, he began caddying at the age of eleven and started as a professional golfer in 1931. Hogan was, by most accounts, the greatest golfer of his time, and still stands as one of the greatest of all time.

"The Hawk" possessed fierce determination and an iron will, which, when combined with his unquestionable golf skills, often intimidated opponents into submission. Also known as "The Wee Ice Mon" for his steely demeanor, Hogan rarely spoke while in competition, and few opponents could avoid wilting under Hogan's icy glare. Hogan's watershed season was 1953.

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William Roger Clemens (born August 4, 1962 in Dayton, Ohio), nicknamed "The Rocket", is one of the preeminent Major League baseball pitchers of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time. He has won seven Cy Young Awards -- two more than any other pitcher. He throws and bats right-handed, and currently plays for the New York Yankees.

He is currently second on the all-time strikeout list behind Nolan Ryan. After a brief retirement following the 2003 season, he signed with the Houston Astros where he played from 2004 - 2006. After the 2007 season had already begun he decided against retirement and returned to the Yankees pitching his first game on June 9.

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Wiley Hardeman Post (November 22, 1898 – August 15, 1935) was the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Also known for his work in high-altitude flying, Post helped develop one of the first pressure suits. His plywood aircraft, the Winnie Mae, is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center adjacent to Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA, and his pressure suit is being prepared for display at the same location. On August 15, 1935, Post and American humorist Will Rogers were killed when Post's plane crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Point Barrow, in Alaska.

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David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell (August 17, 1959 – April 19, 1993). He was the self-proclaimed head of the Branch Davidians from 1988 until a 1993 raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and subsequent siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended with the burning of Branch Davidian ranch, the Mount Carmel Center.

David Koresh was born in Houston, Texas to a 15-year-old single mother. He never knew his father and was raised by his grandparents. Koresh described his early childhood as lonely, saying that the other kids teased him and called him "Vernie". As a young boy, he was abused by his stepfather. A poor student because of dyslexia, Koresh dropped out of high school.

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Jeana Yeager (born May 18, 1952 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an aviator, most famous for flying with Dick Rutan on a non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world in the Voyager aircraft in 1986 from December 14 to December 23. The flight took 9 days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds and covered 24,986 miles (40,211 km), more than doubling the old distance record. She received the Harmon Trophy and is the first woman to have received the Collier Trophy.

Despite sharing a surname, Jeana Yeager is not related to Brigadier General Charles "Chuck" Yeager.

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Ima Hogg (July 10, 1882 – August 19, 1975), known as "The First Lady of Texas", was an American philanthropist, patron and collector of the arts, and one of the most respected women in Texas during the 20th century. Hogg was an avid art collector, and owned works by Picasso, Klee, and Matisse, among others. Hogg donated hundreds of pieces of artwork to Houston's Museum of Fine Arts and served on a committee to plan the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. She restored and refurbished several properties, including the Varner plantation and Bayou Bend, which she later donated to Texas arts and historical institutions. Hogg received numerous awards and honors, including the Louise E. du Pont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Santa Rita Award from the University of Texas System, and an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Southwestern University.

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Ace Reid (March 10, 1925 - November 10, 1991) was the creator of the cartoon Cowpokes and was a notable Western humorist and after-dinner speaker. Cowpokes, at one time, could be found in over 400 weekly newspapers across the United States. He also produced many popular cartoon books and calendars.

Shortly after his birth at Lelia Lake, Donley County, Texas, the family moved to Electra, Wichita County, Texas, where he grew up ranching and cowboying.

During World War II, he served as a Machinist's Mate in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific aboard the USS Lanier (APA-125). It was on board the Lanier that "Cowpokes" was born. "The Sorry Salt" was a cartoon he drew for the ship's newspaper. After the War, "The Sorry Salt" became "Jake," his primary character.

He and his wife, Madge, moved to Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas in 1952. Ace’s first cartoon appeared in West Texas Livestock Weekly that same year. Ace and Madge were living on their ranch, known as the Draggin S, just outside of Kerrville at the time of his death.

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