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Lamartine Sieker - Texas Ranger

The Texas State Cemetery has a number of Texas Rangers buried within its grounds. Some are quite well know in certain circles, John Hughes is one, Stephen F. Austin is another. Robert McAlpin “Three-legged Willie” Williamson was charged with founding a corps of rangers in 1835 in the Texas Revolution’s infancy at Mina. There are rangers from every era buried at the State Cemetery, from Stephen F. Austin and his pre-Texas Revolution rangers to modern day ranger captains who testify in court as much or more than chasing down bandits. However, the one era that has come to define the Texas Rangers and stirs the imagination more than any other is the “Old West” period between the early 1850s and the early 1900s when the rangers were reorganized.

John Hughes, the basis for Zane Gray’s Lone Star Ranger, is perhaps the most well-known Ranger from the “Old West” period buried at the Cemetery. Hughes is a blog entry in his own right, but he has a handbook of Texas article and a Wikipedia page and is generally well known in Ranger circles. Someone who is not is a man named Lamartine Sieker, or “Lam” Sieker as he was known back then. Lam Sieker is buried in Confederate Field, Section 2 a stone’s throw from Elizabet Ney’s statue of Albert Sidney Johnston. He surely has a right to a space in Confederate Field having served in Longstreet’s Corps during the Civil War, but he has just as much a right to be buried next to Lone Star Ranger John Hughes. Sieker was the longest serving member of the Texas Rangers, according to a Fall 2005 issue of the Texas Ranger dispatch. He was also one of four Sieker brothers to serve in the famous Frontier Battalion. One of the Sieker brothers, Frank, was killed in the line of duty in 1885.

Lam Sieker served from 1874 to 1905 when he retired for good, but served the Rangers in any number of ways. Sieker rose through the ranks to become a Ranger Captain and eventually Quartermaster for the Frontier Battalion. He retired and operated a hotel in the Houston area until he died in 1914 and was buried in historic Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. Sieker was married to Nannie Lee Sieker who died in 1928. Nannie Sieker is a story in herself and calls forth names from Austin’s history that used to be so well known as to be casually referred to in period news articles, but now are all but forgotten. Her obituary states that she founded the Cactus Tea Room near the University of Texas. Several old UT yearbooks write of the tea room in passing as a place where young men and women would go on first dates. In addition to the tea room, Nannie operated the Austin Cafeteria just before she died, mentioned casually in her obituary but unknown today. She was buried in the State Cemetery, presumably because she was Sieker’s wife.

Seven days after his wife died, Lam Sieker’s daughter, W.M. Howe, requested his remains be moved from Houston to be next to her. Their burial place is an unassuming area close to the uniform stones of Confederate Field but not among them and far enough away from Albert Sidney Johnston’s grave to be overlooked. There is more information about Lam Sieker in the Handbook of Texas and we have it posted to our Web site, but not too much more. However if you do read it, the author notes that “in his role as quartermaster, Sieker stressed administrative efficiency and frugality,” admirable traits, but apparently not very memorable. 

- WE