John Lang Sinclair

John Lang Sinclair (HMK48)

Location: San Antonio, TX 78205 Bexar County
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Country: United States of America
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N 29° 25.186', W 98° 28.159'

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(November 26, 1879 - January 4, 1947)

In 1899, John Lang Sinclair became a student at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. The first UT band was formed in 1900 and Sinclair, possessing an aptitude for music, joined it as well as the Glee Club. The student head of the Glee Club, Lewis Johnson, urged Sinclair to write a school song in 1903. His first attempt was "The Jolly Students of Varsity." His second, to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad," was "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You." University of Texas president William L. Prather, formerly a student at Washington College (later Washington and Lee University), had often heard Robert E. Lee admonish his students, "The eyes of the South are upon you." Prather altered the saying for use at UT, and Sinclair borrowed it for his song. "The Eyes of Texas," first performed at a minstrel show at Austin's Hancock Opera House to benefit the UT track team, was an instant success.

Sinclair graduated in 1904 and returned to his family's dairy farm in eastern Bexar County. When Prather died in 1905, his family requested a performance of "The Eyes of Texas" at his funeral. Sinclair moved to New York City, where he and his wife, Stella Anderson of San Antonio (also a UT graduate) were active in the New York Texas Eyes' Association.

The song was so popular throughout the nation that many confused it with the official state song of Texas. After years of copyright battles, the University of Texas acquired the rights to it in the 1980s. According to the university magazine, The Alcalde, the chimes atop the UT Tower played "The Eyes of Texas" during Sinclair's San Antonio funeral. Though he revised the words from the original version, the spirit of the song remained the same. Its popularity continues at the dawn of the 21st century.
HM NumberHMK48
Year Placed2000
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 12:20pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14R E 551478 N 3254610
Decimal Degrees29.41976667, -98.46931667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 29° 25.186', W 98° 28.159'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds29° 25' 11.16" N, 98° 28' 9.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)210
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1701-1751 E Commerce St, San Antonio TX 78205, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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