Capt Joseph Franklin Cummings Jr.

Capt Joseph Franklin Cummings Jr.

Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, USA
Death 30 Mar 1912 (aged 60)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Beallsville, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Plot Row E, Lot 27, Site 6
Memorial ID 64403321 View Source

- Franklin Cummings [1823-1874]
- Ann Mildred (Jones) Cummings [1824-1909]

Married Catherine Garriga [1879-1901] on September 1, 1896 in Brownsville, Cameron, Texas

- Franklin Garriga Cummings [1897-1952]

Woodmen of the World member.

Birth Announcement

Brownsville, Texas 16th July 1851

Dear Mother

I have the happiness of informing you that we have a little boy [Joseph Franklin Cummings]. He was born this morning at precisely six o'clock. Ann says that he ... . She can't tell whether he is pretty or not -- but he is a fine boy anyway. Ann is doing very well and has had excellent health all the time. She has kind friends and neighbors with her and is in every respect comfortable. And now as I shall have to tend the baby I shall not have so much time to write to the ... as often as formerly and as I have been so punctual up to this time I know you will excuse me.

We have an excellent servant and nurse so that I expect my part of the nursing will not be very fatiguing.

I read Mr. McLeod's letter. Will answer soon. Our love to all.

Affectionately yours,
F. Cummings


Joseph Franklin Cummings, teacher, son of Ann Mildred (Jones) and Franklin Cummings, was born in Brownsville, Texas, on July 16, 1851. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; his uncle, Joseph Cummings, was president of the university. On leaving Wesleyan, he entered West Point, from which he graduated in 1876; he was subsequently assigned to the Third United States Cavalry. He served in the Indian Wars of 1876 and 1877 and was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. After he retired from the army, he was employed in 1888 as a teacher in Galveston. He returned to Brownsville in July 1888 to organize the local public school system. Within two years a new school building was finished, on a site that was part of Washington Park. Because the school was well organized and thoroughly disciplined, Cummings became known as the founder of the Brownsville school system. Later, Cummings Junior High [Middle] School was named for him. He also organized the first company of the Brownsville Rifles and was made its Captain. In 1896 he married [C]atherine Garriga of Point Isabel (now Port Isabel); she was the sister of Mariano Simon Garriga, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi. The couple had one son. Cummings died in Washington, D.C., in 1912 and was buried in his mother's family burial plot in Maryland.

W. H. Chatfield, The Twin Cities of the Border and the Country of the Lower Rio Grande (New Orleans: Brandao, 1893; rpt., Brownsville: Brownsville Historical Association, 1959).

Although public education in Cameron County had begun in 1854, the city of Brownsville was able to set up its own public school system in 1875, with classes held in various buildings throughout the city. In 1887 Captain William Kelly, chairman of the board of trustees, began a reorganization of the school system and called J. Frank Cummings to be superintendent of the Brownsville Schools. Cummings, a native of Brownsville, led the board of trustees to erect a centrally located school building on property that was donated by the city council. In October 1889 the Brownsville Public School, which housed the Grammar, Junior, and Senior High classes, opened at this site. The building originally had 12 rooms on two floors, crowned by a cupola, and was expanded as enrollment increased. Supt. Cummings and 12 teachers taught the 9 grades. The first graduates, Aggie Willman and Annie Russell (the niece of JFC), received their diplomas in 1890. Although the original building was razed in 1929, the present school was constructed with some of the bricks from the old school. In continuous use as a location for education since 1889, this site maintains an important link to the city's early history.

Historical Landmark Marker Title: Old Grammar School, City: Brownsville, County: Cameron, Year Marker Erected: 1984, Marker Location: 730 East 8th Street, Brownsville, TX.

50th Annual Report of the Association of Graduates of the Unite States Military Academy at West Point, NY - June 10, 1919

Joseph F. Cummings entered the Academy July 1, 1871, and was graduated June 14, 1876. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant, 10th Cavalry, and served continuously on frontier duty in Wyoming, Nebraska, Dakota and Arizona, until 1884. He was in engagement with hostile Indians on Crow Creek, Black Hills, capturing their village, February 23, 1877, and later in same year participated in movement resulting in capture and death of the Indian Chief, Crazy Horse. He was dismissed, February 15, 1884, for financial irregularities. He was in Mexico, 1884-86; a teacher at Galveston, Texas, 1886-88; superintendent of public schools at Brownsville, Texas, 1888-1898; Captain of Company A, 1st Regiment Texas Volunteer Guard, 1888, winning medal for best Captain at interstate drill at Austin, Texas, May 1, 1888; resigned July 1888; Captain of Brownsville Rifles, Company C, 1st Regiment, Texas Volunteer Guard, March 1889, winning prize flag for best disciplined company at interstate drill at Galveston, May 1889 company disbanded 1890. He was inspector of customs for Brownsville, 1899-1900; proprietor of the "Border News" of Brownsville to 1902; purser of the steamship Manteo to 1902; assisted as civil engineer in building the Galveston seawall, 1902-1903; principal of school in Galveston, 1903-04; employed in U.S. Engineer Department, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1904-06; principal of public school in Greebackville, Va., and taught school at Tappahannock, Va. He bought the Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., and managed it until his death, which occurred March 30, 1912, as a result of an operation for cancer of the stomach.