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Catherine Giles, Independent Insurance Agent
About Catherine
     Catherine is a six-generation Texan whose foundations are God; Family; and Country, State, and Community.  She has deep Texas, pioneer, settler, colonial, and immigrant family roots and has many generations of business owners, teachers, veterans, and community advocates in her family. Catherine believes everyone’s talents and life and family experiences have many stories to tell, lessons to teach ourselves and others, and blessings to share for the benefit of others. 

     Catherine is an expert independent insurance agent who is licensed for Life, Accident, and Health/HMO insurance.  She is certified for both Individual and Family as well as for Employer Group health insurance.  Catherine is certified to work as your expert agent of record both on and off the Health Insurance Marketplace, or healthcare.gov site.   Also, she is an expert independent agent licensed for Property and Casualty:  Home; Renters; Landlord; Auto; Umbrella; Motorcycle; RV; Boat/Watercraft; Business; and Worker's Compensation insurance.  Catherine has won awards with her insurance carriers for Top Accounts and Top Annual Premium in a Quarter, and she volunteers to mentor new insurance agents.  She is a member of National Association of Professional Agents.

     In her earlier business career, Catherine has also owned and operated a printing business and a Landman business.  She is an experienced and licensed elementary school teacher as well, certified in grades 1-8, and previously taught for 20 years.

     Catherine is the mother of three adult children: Lindsey Giles, Caitlin Haskins, and Richard S. Haskins.  Also she is the grandmother of five grandsons: Michael Wetmore, Viggo Haskins, Levi Haskins, deceased, Noah Clark, and John Stevenson, and one granddaughter, Kayla Haskins Holman. 

     Catherine volunteers in the community, North Texas, throughout Texas, as well as on the federal level as an advocate and activist for the healthcare, Constitutional, and civil rights of all, particularly others with a mental illness; a disability; veterans; expectant mothers; the young; the elderly; those detained in our city and county jails; against the Muslim ban, for Muslims, asylum-seeking refugees, and immigrants.   She utilizes her knowledge and expertise, her public speaking, media and public relations skills, and networks with new and existing contacts to speak about and to publicize factual events and causes and to urge for legislative and judicial changes in her advocacy and activism projects.  Her advocacy and activism projects are both on an independent basis and also through volunteering with Texas Jail Project.  Catherine has been interviewed by print news, online news, media, and social media news outlets concerning her advocacy efforts.  On May 5, 2014, she gave testimony before members of the Texas Congress on the state of healthcare in Texas and on Constitutional and civil rights violations of those held in the Denton County Jail.  During her testimony Catherine also urged for specific changes and urged legislators to write and to pass specific laws related to medical and mental healthcare, asylum and immigration rights, Constitutional, due process, voting, and civil rights.  In addition, she has organized and promoted "Know Your Constitutional Rights" events, Declaration of Independence and Constitution Day ceremonies, as well as asylum, immigration, citizenship, and voting rights events.

     Catherine also had volunteered with several non-profit organizations, such as having served for many years helping the terminally ill and their families through VITAS Innovative Hospice.  She is a member of and volunteers with National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she  has previously served as 2nd Vice Regent, Constitution Week, Commemorative Events, and Americanism Committees Chair, Corresponding Secretary, and Media and Public Relations Chair.  Catherine also independently networks, markets, and publicizes projects, events, and causes. During Catherine's service in media and public relations, she has been interviewed many times by print news, online news, media, and social media news outlets and has written and submitted many press releases and articles that have appeared in the same sources of news and media throughout Texas and the nation.  One article Catherine wrote and submitted was published in the national American Spirit magazine.  Another article she wrote and submitted to the Denton Record Chronicle was picked up by the Associated Press and was published in USA Today newspaper, a national print news publication.  She also serves as a volunteer researcher.  

     In addition, Catherine volunteers as a storyteller portraying and telling the life stories in first person of her ancestors, who were immigrants to the New World from the 1610's - the early 1760's, who were Mayflower passengers, signers of the Mayflower Compact, part of Jamestown or Martin's Hundred in Virginia, who served as Deputy of the Virginia House of Burgess, served as Governor of North Carolina, or who served as the guardian and caretaker of Mary Ball Washington (George's mother) .  Also she volunteers portraying and telling the life stories in first person of her immigrant ancestors who served in the Continental Navy of New York during the American Revolution, who fought in the Kentucky frontier militia as settlers from 1798-1809.  In addition, Catherine volunteers portraying and telling the life stories in first person of her American-born ancestors who fought in the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution, Civil War, and WWII.  

     Catherine's love of country and of service were nurtured by her late parents, who were in turn nurtured over generations by their ancestors who came before them.  She is 2nd or more cousins of many U.S. Presidents, several U.K. Prime Ministers, two Canadian Prime Ministers, and four founding fathers of the U.S., with three who were signers of the Declaration of Independence. She is George Washington's third cousin, with eight generations separating them from their common ancestor, with family weddings and other celebrations which took place in George's childhood home and Mount Vernon during the lifetimes of her direct ancestors and their cousin, George. Catherine is also James Madison's second cousin, with six generations separating them from their common ancestor.  James Madison is called, "The Father of the Constitution" and was the fourth U.S. President.  Catherine is also a direct descendant of several of the First Families of Virginia - the Allerton, Ball, Browne, Lee, Lewis, Martiau, Mathews, Parke, Pendleton, Smith, Taliaferro, Taylor, Tyler, West, Willoughby, and Woodson families, as well as an extended Washington family member through direct lines from the Warner, Reade, and Ball families.  

      Catherine's Texas story began when her 17-year-old great-great-grandfather, Alphonso Steele, left his home in Hardin County, Kentucky in September 1834 and traveled down the Mississippi River on a flatboat to Lake Providence, Louisiana. In November 1835 he joined Capt. Ephraim Daggett’s company of volunteers bound for Texas to aid in the revolution. The group entered Texas on New Year’s Day 1836 and ended their march at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Texas had not yet declared her independence, and many volunteers returned home; but Alphonso stayed and aided the cause by grinding the corn for bread that fed the delegates who met nearby in secret to draft and sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. 

     After independence was declared Alphonso joined and served in other companies to help secure Texas sovereignty. He joined Capt. Joseph Bennett’s company and marched toward San Antonio to join William B. Travis and aid in the defense of The Alamo, which was under siege by the Mexican army. But the group received word when they reached the Colorado River that The Alamo had already fallen. Near Beeson’s Crossing on the Colorado River Alphonso fell in with Gen. Sam Houston’s army on its retreat from The Battle of Gonzales and marched under his command to Buffalo Bayou. He then served in Capt. James Gillespie’s company under Sidney Sherman’s regiment at The Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Alphonso was severely wounded in one of the first volleys of the battle but continued in the fight where he fell, and accepted no surrenders, until the battle ended. Gen. Houston, whose horse was shot beneath him, rode Alphonso’s gray horse through much of the battle, until that animal was also shot beneath him. After the battle ended Alphonso and other injured patriots were taken to Republic of Texas Vice-President Lorenzo de Zavala’s home across the bayou to treat their wounds, and he was transported to a two-room hospital on Perkin’s Island where he spent many weeks recovering.  

     Texas won the historic 18-minute battle while out-numbered and out-supplied by the Mexican army. The following day the Texas army captured Mexican President and General Santa Anna, who had disappeared during the battle, when they found him hiding in tall grass dirty, wet, and disguised in the uniform of a common Mexican soldier. Following his capture his identity was confirmed when some of his own troops saluted him saying, “El Presidente!” and by the fact that he was found wearing, under a common soldier’s uniform, silk undergarments; Santa Anna’s habit of wearing silk undergarments was information known to the Texas army. General Houston spared Santa Anna’s life and later in the Treaties of Velasco, in exchange for Santa Anna’s safe conduct back to Mexico, General Houston negotiated the end of overall hostilities and the withdrawal of the Mexican army from Texas. The significance of the victory at The Battle of San Jacinto is described on the San Jacinto Monument, “Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.”

     Following the battle and after months of recuperation, Alphonso was discharged and settled in Montgomery County where he farmed and raised cattle.  He brought his father, Stephen Steele, from Kentucky to Texas.  On Sept. 28, 1838 he married Mary Ann Powell.  Mary Ann and her family came to Texas in 1833 with Silas Parker, his daughter Cynthia Ann, who was Mary Ann Powell's cousin, along with Silas' father, Elder John Parker and all of Elder John's sons but one.  Elder John Parker’s family built and settled at Fort Parker, later raided by a band of Comanche Native Americans who killed most of the family and kidnapped five, including Cynthia Ann. Cynthia Ann would spend most of the rest of her life with the Comanche, marrying Chief Peta Nocona and becoming the mother of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Comanche.  The novel and John Wayne movie, The Searchers, were based in part on the story and the long search for Cynthia Ann by her uncle, James Parker.  Mary Ann and her family escaped the massacre by shortly beforehand moving to Grimes County along with Daniel Parker, Elder John Parker's son.  Also shortly thereafter, Mary Ann and her family were part of The Runaway Scrape, a mass exodus of Texans who fled Santa Anna's approaching Mexican Army.  

     Following the Texas Revolution, Alphonso and several of his sons assisted Alphonso's cousin, John Chisum, who was a cattle baron and who formed partnerships with Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving to form the Chisum-Goodnight-Loving trails on which they drove cattle to market through New Mexico territory to feed the U.S. Army, and later on trails through Louisiana.  The John Wayne movie, Chisum, and the movies, Young Guns, and Young Guns II, portray John Chisum, the cattle drive, and later resulting range wars over water rights and territory.  Also many television series have portrayed Chisum, such as "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid".

     In 1907 Alphonso revisited The San Jacinto Battleground at the invitation of General and Republic of Texas President Sam Houston’s son, Andrew Jackson Houston, and retraced the course of the historic battle. On Feb. 10, 1909, the Thirty-first Texas Legislature honored Alphonso as one of two living survivors of The Battle of San Jacinto and invited him to speak on the floor of the Texas Senate. The Legislature awarded Alphonso a gold medal for his service to Texas. Also a life-size portrait of him hangs in the Texas Capitol’s Senate Chamber, behind the Senate dais and beside Sam Houston's portrait and alongside portraits of other Texas patriots.  Also a second portrait of Alphonso hangs in a niche in the Capitol.  A poem entitled, “The Last Hero”, written by Jake H. Harrison was dedicated to him. A book entitled, Biography of Private Alfonso Steele, which contains his first-person account in his own words, was written in 1906, and the Library of Congress contributed a first edition online at: https://archive.org/details/biographyofpriva00stee.

     Alphonso was the last surviving Republic of Texas veteran who fought on the battlefield in The Battle of San Jacinto when he died on July 8, 1911.  The State of Texas erected Texas Historical Marker #5293000114 at his grave. He and his wife along with many of their children and many of their descendants are buried in the Mexia City Cemetery, off US Highway 84 in Mexia, TX.   Alphonso's traditions of public and military service to Texas have been carried on by many of his descendants, who have distinguished themselves in public service and in battles during the Civil War; Spanish American War; WWI; WWII; Korean; Vietnam; Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraqi Wars; and War on ISIL.  Alphonso was granted many leagues of land by the Republic of Texas for his service to Texas and to the Texas Revolution, which have been passed down in the family by many of his descendants.  Catherine was gifted with and solely owns property Alphonso was granted by the Republic of Texas for his service in The Battle of San Jacinto.  

     The descendants of Alphonso and Mary Ann Powell Steele keep in contact with one another and hold an annual family reunion the first Saturday in October at the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site at Lake Mexia, Mexia Texas, which is very near Fort Parker.  The descendants of Elder John Parker, with both the Texian and Native American sides of the family welcome, also keep in contact with one another and hold an annual family reunion in mid-July at Fort Parker located in Fort Parker State Park in Mexia, Texas.  The descendants of Quanah Parker keep in contact with one another  as well and hold an annual family reunion and powwow in mid-July in the Star House in Eagle Park, Cache, OK.

     Contact Catherine at:  [email protected] if you would like more information about:

the insurance products and services she offers;

information about her volunteer work of advocacy and activism through research, public speaking, media and public relations, and as a speaker before governmental entities for medical and mental healthcare, asylum and immigration, Constitutional, due process, voting, and civil rights of all;

or information about her volunteer work as a storyteller giving first-person portrayals of her ancestors as living history narratives.  

Catherine's great-great-grandfather, Alphonso Steele, who served the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, marched toward the Alamo which was under siege in its defense, and after it fell served as the last living Texas soldier on the battlefield in The Battle of San Jacinto.  Photo of Alphonso as an older man with his rifle, pistol, and
powder pouch used during San Jacinto
Last meeting of the veterans
 of The Battle of San Jacinto.  Alphonso Steele is on the far right.
Alphonso and Mary Ann Powell Steele, post Civil War.  Mary Ann Powell Steele came to Texas with her cousin, Cynthia Ann Parker.
Catherine portraying her great-great-great-great-grandmother, Frances Parcot (Parcutt) Steele,
with baby Stephen, who was born in July 1776, and who lived in New York City during the
American Revolution
Catherine testifying before members of the Texas Congress regarding the state of healthcare in Texas and on Constitutional and civil rights violations of those held in the Denton County Jail, on May 5, 2014.  Link to her testimony, at 2:47:23 of the video is:   http://tlchouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=28&clip_id=8309
Life-size Portrait of Alphonso Steele, which hangs in the Texas Capitol, in the Senate Chamber behind the dais, beside Sam Houston's portrait, and alongside the portraits of other Texas patriots
Portrait of Alphonso Steele, which hangs in a niche in the Texas Capitol
Mary Ann Powell Steele's cousin, Cynthia Ann Parker, photographed with her daughter, Prairie Flower.  As a child, Cynthia Ann was captured by the Comanche at Fort Parker, married Chief Peta Nocona, and lived most of her life with the tribe.  Cynthia Ann was also the mother of Quanah Parker, last Chief of the Comanche.
Quanah Parker, last Chief of the Comanche, who was cousin once-removed of Mary Ann Powell Steele
John Chisum, cousin of Alphonso Steele.  Alphonso and some his sons assisted Chisum in cattle drives to feed the US Army
Descendants of Elder John Parker, both Texian and Comanche sides of the family are welcome, meet for a family reunion annually in mid-July at Fort Parker located in Fort Parker State Park, Mexia, Texas
Descendants of Quanah Parker meet for a family reunion and powwow annually in mid-July at the Star House in Eagle Park at Cache, OK
Descendants of Alphonso and Mary Ann Powell Steele meet for a family reunion annually on the first Saturday in October at Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historical Site, Lake Mexia, Mexia, Texas