Tag Archives: unsolved mystery

The “Twin Sisters” and Dr. Henry North Graves


“Twin Sister” replicas at San Jacinto Battleground (image in public domain)

The “Twin Sisters” refers to two field pieces (artillery pieces) donated by ladies of Cincinnati, Ohio to the cause of the Texas Revolution.  According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman from 1874, they were two identical six pound rifle cannon that were built by a Mr. Tatum at a foundry in Cincinnati and shipped by riverboat to Texas.  They were delivered in person by Mr. Tatum himself in time to be used by General Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto.  Following the Revolution they became prized relics and were known to have been fired at ceremonial occasions including the fifth anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto and the inauguration of Houston as President of the Republic of Texas.

After 1845, their history becomes somewhat murky, but they were reportedly reunited again during the Civil War and used in the Battle of Galveston in defense of the port in 1863.  By the end of the war though, they had disappeared.  Some believe that they were buried in the general area of Buffalo Bayou near Harrisburg (now Houston), rather than have them be turned over to Union forces.

Dr. Henry North Graves believed that he was the last living person to know the whereabouts of the two historic cannon.  Much of what we know about Dr. Graves comes from an obituary published in the Dallas Daily Times Herald and elsewhere around the state on June 28, 1921.

Dr. Graves was born in Plains Hill, Tennessee to Methodist minister Rev. Harrison A. and Rachel Bond Graves.  At around the age of fourteen, Graves moved with his parents and family to Texas in 1860, settling near Gonzales.  He joined the Confederate Army and as one of his postings, he served in the defense of Galveston Island during the war.  In late 1869, Graves married the former Susan Davidson, a minister’s daughter.  He then took up the study of medicine after which he practiced in Gonzales, Seguin and Georgetown.  The couple were married almost twenty years until Susan died in 1888.  Dr. Graves became known as an expert on anti-toxins.  His obituary stated that he traveled throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas where he taught serum-therapy.

During the Civil War, it is believed that Graves and four other individuals slipped away from the garrison at Galveston and buried two cannon in a field, rather than risk the field pieces falling under the control of Union forces.  Graves fully believed them to be the Twin Sisters, but they have never been recovered, so it cannot be proven with certainty whether or not they were the two legendary field pieces.

Near the end of his life, Dr. Graves lived with his daughter Mrs. J. N. Bigbee and her family in Dallas, Texas on North Haskell Avenue, just out of downtown.  Dr. Graves had desired to travel to Houston to assist in the recovery of the field pieces but had not been in good enough health to make the trip and died before it could happen.  The obituary went on to state that he intended to make a search for the cannon if money could be raised for the effort.  A resolution for the next session of the Texas Legislature was planned to secure funding for the project.  Dr. Graves had however participated in a reunion of Confederate veterans about a year before his death.  He had accompanied a group of the old veterans to a field that he identified as being the one where the cannon were buried, but did not give the exact location.  Before the recovery effort could take place, Dr. Graves died in Dallas in late June of 1921 at the age of 74.  He was buried along side his wife at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas.

There have been numerous attempts to document the fate of the Twin Sisters.  Some accounts have them being used up to the end of the Civil War, up to and including the final Texas battle at Palmito Ranch.  As of this writing however, their ultimate fate and location is considered to be unknown.

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Unsolved Mystery: Texarkana’s Moonlight Murders

A couple, Jimmy Hollis and Mary Larey, had been on a date after which they had parked on the last road of a subdivision in Texarkana the night of February 22, 1946.  At the time, Hollis was 25 and Larey was 19.  After a double date to a movie, they had only been parked for about ten minutes when someone walked up to Hollis’ side of the car and shined a flashlight in his eyes.  The man with the flashlight ordered the couple to exit the car.  Hollis recalled that the man was armed with a gun.  The man then demanded that Hollis remove his trousers.  Hollis had initially resisted but complied, only to be struck hard in the head either with the gun or some other object.  Hollis suffered a fractured skull in the attack.  Thinking it was probably a robbery, Larey was scared but pulled Hollis’ billfold out of his trousers to show the man that Hollis had no money.  The man then ordered Larey to open her purse.  She replied that she didn’t have one and she was knocked to the ground by the assailant after being struck with an object.  The man then ordered Larey to get up and run, which she did.  The man quickly caught her and bewildered Larey by asking her why she was running.  Larey was again knocked to the ground and this time was sexually assaulted.  After the attack, the assailant disappeared and Larey was allowed to escape, managing to get to her feet and run to a nearby house.

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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in films, texas rangers, unsolved mystery


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Chepita Rodriguez

Josefa “Chepita” Rodriguez ran an inn on the old Cotton Road between Refugio and Aransas Pass around the time of the Civil War.   Sometimes her name is spelled Chapita or Chipita, but Chepita appears to be the most common spelling.  Her story began when  John Savage, a cotton dealer and horse trader, was found dead, his body wrapped in burlap in the Aransas River near San Patricio.

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in folklore, texas women, unsolved mystery


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Unsolved mystery: Jesse James’ grave site


The  outlaw Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882) is generally thought to have been shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882.  Ford, a James gang member, reportedly shot James, then 34 years old, in the back of the head at the Kearney, Missouri home of Ford’s sister as they prepared to head out for another robbery.  Ford’s motive was to obtain a reward. Ford and his brother pled guilty to murder but were pardoned by the Missouri governor Thomas Crittendon. Although James body was identified and buried in Kearney, Missouri,  alternative accounts persist that he somehow faked his death and moved to Texas. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 6, 2015 in folklore, outlaws and crimes, unsolved mystery


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Unsolved Mystery: The Train Explosion at Paisano Pass

“Engineer Dies, Fireman Shot, In Mysterious Train Tragedy.”  This was the sensational headline on the front page of the Bisbee, Arizona Daily Review on Saturday July 9, 1921.

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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in railroad, unsolved mystery


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