John Hunter Herndon arrived at Galveston in 1838.
He was the epitome of a romantic era gentleman: young and handsome, trained as both a lawyer and artist.
He was a fine sportsman.
A charming conversationalist.
A connoisseur of literature...wines...and skulls.
Once in Texas, Mr. Herndon, Esq. quickly assembled a fine collection of human craniums and mandibles. Many he collected on the battlefield at San Jacinto.
Lodging at a Galveston boarding house, he found a like-minded companion in Dr. Robert H. Watson, who shared his fascination with the human noggin.
Herndon recorded in his dairy that Watson provided his fellow boarders with great amusement one winter's night when he, "drank whisky out of a skull that had yet brains in it."
The good doctor toasted:
This when living was not worth a pin,
But now how precious with good liquor in.
Herndon took part in the Somerville Expedition. By 1850 he was the richest man in Fort Bend County.
Dr. Watson was a member of the Mier Expedition.
It's not known what became of their skull collections.