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Dr. Verplanck Ackerman, Veterans DRT Medalion Memorial at Oakland Cemetery

March 20, 2024 - 00:00
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The tombstone of David Verplanck Ackerman in Navasota’s Oakland Cemetery was memorialized this fall with the placement of a Daughters of the Republic of Texas Veteran’s Medallion.

An Ackerman descendant, Gayle Grubbs, chaplain of the Seth Hurin Bates Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic, sponsored the medallion. Grubbs, who resides in Kingwood, is the Pastor of Shiro Presbyterian Church.

Ackerman was born Jan. 2, 1812 in Saugerties, Ulster County, New York. He came to Texas in 1835, first settling in Houston during the peak of the independence talk and actions that created the Republic of Texas in March 1836. Ackerman was a graduate doctor of medicine.

Ackerman’s descendants have a copy of a letter he wrote to his parents, “on April 3, 1836 he had joined the Texas Army for which I am to receive 600 acres of bounty land and 1900 acres for my head right, and if I had a wife 640 more.”

This leads to a research finding at the Texas A&M Cushing Library of a record box entitled “Ackerman and Miller From Old Country General Store Ledger and Journal at Washington-on-the-Brazos of 1854-1855.” It was donated to the Cushing Archives by his great grandsons, Gaston M. Wood, Class of 1925, of Dallas, and Gordon B. Gudger, Class of 1929 of Houston. The donation preface states the “store was owned and operated by David Verplanck Ackerman, who fought with Sam Houston at San Jacinto and who was a First Lieutenant in the Medical Corps Army of the Republic of Texas.”

There are written records that Ackerman was with the Republic of Texas Army in 1837. Again, serving as a medical officer, Ackerman was a recipient of a land grant that was issued stating that he had served the Army for 23 months from early 1837 until Jan. 23, 1839. The bounty land grant was for 1,280 acres in Milam County. At that time Ackerman left the Republic of Texas Army and located the 1,280-acre bounty land grant dated Jan. 29, 1839 on the Leon River in Milam County.

Ackerman then settled in Washington-on-the-Brazos and the first U.S. Census record for Texas of 1850 has him listed as a merchant. Family information indicates he also had merchandise stores up the Brazos River at Port Sullivan and Cameron. He married widow Martha Holtzclaw on March 2, 1845. They had one son, Edwin, before her death.

Following the death of his wife at Washington-on-the-Brazos on an unknown date, he returned to Albany, New York to marry Catherine McCarty in October 1853. The Ackermans then returned to Washington-on-the-Brazos where his merchandise store was in business. He and his second wife had three children.

By 1860, we find Ackerman’s wife and children in the U. S. Census records of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Ackerman’s name does not appear which leads one to believe he is probably on the Brazos River at his other mentioned stores.

This is also the beginning of the Civil War talk and the time Ackerman and other merchants began to close down at Washington-on-the-Brazos with the railroad having already pushed through Navasota to Millican. Family records indicate he and his family began living in Navasota about 1860. He died of pneumonia Dec. 16, 1865 and was buried in the Navasota Oakland Cemetery. His wife, Catherine and family, continued to live in Navasota. She died Sept. 23, 1888. Ackerman’s children are also buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Written by Betty Dunn, Two Rivers Heritage Foundation. See for more info and membership.