September 27, 2016

Richardson A. Scurry

Richardson A. Scurry, lawyer, soldier, and politician, son of Thomas J. and Catherine (Bledsoe) Scurry, was born on November 11, 1811, in Gallatin, Tennessee. He was educated by private tutors and later studied law. About 1830 he was admitted to the bar and began practice in Covington, Tennessee. He moved to Texas early in 1836 and on March 10 joined the Texas army. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto as first sergeant in Isaac N. Moreland's company. When he resigned on October 4, 1836, he was a first lieutenant. He settled at Clarksville and resumed his law practice. Scurry was secretary of the Senate at the first session of the First Congress, which met from October 2 to December 22, 1836. President Sam Houston appointed him district attorney of the First Judicial District on December 19, 1836, and the Congress of the republic elected him judge of the Sixth Judicial District on January 20, 1840; this election automatically made him a member of the Texas Supreme Court. He resigned on February 5, 1841, to become district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District. At that time he was a law partner of his younger brother, William R. Scurry, at San Augustine.

In 1843 R. A. Scurry married Evantha Foster of Waller County; they had nine children. Scurry was a member of the House of Representatives of the Seventh and Eighth congresses, 1842-44, and was speaker of the House of the Eighth, at which he represented San Augustine County. He was elected to the House of Representatives of the Thirty-second United States Congress on August 4, 1851. After March 3, 1853, he resumed his law practice in what was then Austin County, about one-half mile east of Hempstead. In August 1854 while hunting, Scurry accidentally shot himself. The wound never healed. In 1861 he was appointed adjutant general on the staff of Albert Sidney Johnston. Scurry eventually consented to an operation on his foot, and it was found necessary to amputate his leg. He never regained his health and died on April 9, 1862. He was buried at Hempstead.

GPS Coordinates
30° 05.020, -096° 04.073

Hempstead Cemetery

September 20, 2016

Louis Joseph "The Battler" Rymkus

Lou Rymkus was born on November 6, 1919 in Royalton, Illinois and grew up in Chicago. He was a star lineman in high school and won a football scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, he played on a 1941 team that went undefeated under head coach Frank Leahy. Rymkus was drafted by the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1943 and played one season for the team before joining the U.S. Marines during World War II. Following two years in the service, he signed with the Browns, with whom he spent the remainder of his playing career.

After Rymkus's brief stint as the first head coach of the AFL's Houston Oilers in 1960 (the team won the league's first championship, but Rymkus was fired by Oilers owner Bud Adams after a slow start in 1961), he held numerous football jobs, including as the coach of a high school team in Louisiana and an assistant with the Detroit Lions. Rymkus was a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 but was not elected. He died of a stroke on October 31, 1998 in Houston, Texas, where he lived for most of his later life.

GPS Coordinates
29° 47.892, -096° 06.070

San Felipe de Austin Cemetery
San Felipe

September 13, 2016

Philip Minor Cuney

Philip Minor Cuney, soldier, plantation owner, and legislator, the son of Richard Edmond and Tabitha (Wells) Cuney, was born of Swiss descent in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, in 1808. After the death of his first wife in 1834, he moved to Texas around 1840 and settled in Austin County, where he took up farming. In 1842 he married Eliza Ware; they had three children. Cuney, a Whig, was elected to the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in 1843. He became a prosperous cotton planter and, with Oliver Jones, was Austin County delegate to the Convention of 1845, which voted for annexation to the United States.

On July 13, 1846, Cuney was elected brigadier general of the First Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Texas Militia. Also in 1846 he was elected to the state Senate and represented Austin and Fort Bend counties in the First and Second legislatures until 1848. On February 22, 1848, he was elected a state delegate to the national Democratic convention in Baltimore. In 1851 he was a candidate for the state Senate.

On his plantation, Sunnyside, twelve miles southeast of Hempstead on Iron Creek, Cuney had 2,000 acres and 105 slaves by 1850. Among them was Adeline Stuart, who bore him eight children and whom he eventually set free. Among their sons was Norris Wright Cuney, who became a prominent politician in Galveston. On September 26, 1851, Cuney married Adeline Spurlock, daughter of James L. and Eliza Spurlock, also of Austin County. Cuney died at his Austin County home on January 8, 1866. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association.

Grandfather of Maud Cuney-Hare. His surname was spelled in two different ways, as either Cuney or Cuny, depending on the family branch. Philip himself spelled it either way at different times in his life, andas he died during the period he spelled it Cuny, Cuny went on his stone.

GPS Coordinates
30° 04.974, -096° 04.053

Hempstead Cemetery

September 6, 2016

John McPherson Pinckney

John McPherson Pinckney, United States congressman, the son of Carolene (Finney) and Thomas Shulrick Pinckney, was born on May 4, 1845, near Fields Store in what was then Grimes County but is now Waller County. When the Civil War began in 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate Army. As a member of Company G, Fourth Regiment of Texas Infantry, Hood's Texas Brigade, Pinckney fought at the battles of Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, Antietam, Wilderness, Chickamauga, and Gettysburg and was present at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865. Pinckney joined the Confederates as a private and left the army as a lieutenant.

After the war he returned to Fields Store and worked as a cotton weigher and justice of the peace while he studied law. After admission to the bar in 1875, Pinckney moved to the county seat, Hempstead, where he was district attorney for the Twenty-third Judicial District of Texas from 1890 until 1900. From 1900 to 1903 he served as Waller county judge. He won election to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1903 and filled a seat vacated by Thomas H. Ball. Pinckney represented the First Congressional District of Texas in the Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth congresses. He was a prohibitionist.

On April 24, 1905, he died from gunshot wounds received while attempting to stop a fight at the Waller County Courthouse, where he and members of the Prohibition League were considering a petition calling for the Texas Rangers to enforce a recently enacted prohibition law. Pinckney, who was unarmed, his brother Thomas D., and two other men died. His accused murderer, Roland Brown, was acquitted. Pinckney, a bachelor, was survived by his sister, Susanna S. Pinckney, and a brother, Robert Pinckney. After a funeral conducted by a Baptist minister and members of the Masonic lodge, Pinckney was buried in the Hempstead City Cemetery. As a result of the publicity surrounding his death, the town of Hempstead became known as "Six-Shooter Junction."

GPS Coordinates
30° 05.036, -096° 04.075

Hempstead Cemetery

August 30, 2016

William Polk Milby

William Polk Milby, Republic of Texas congressman and Calhoun County merchant, was born in Delaware on January 5, 1809. After first moving to Maryland, he traveled to Texas by way of Louisiana about 1841 and settled initially in Liberty County. He was elected to represent Liberty in the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas. He then moved to Port Lavaca and served as county clerk of Calhoun County from 1848 to 1858.

In 1853 he acquired land six miles southwest of Indianola, where he tried to develop the town of Cayloma. Five years later he served as commissioner of the Indianola Railroad Company. By 1860 Milby was living in Indianola, where he owned $55,000 in real and personal property, including two slaves. Milby supported secession and was badly hurt by the Civil War and a fire that destroyed his mercantile house in 1867. By 1870 his property was valued at only $1,600. The Indianola storm (1875) destroyed his home. Ironically, he had been one of a three-man commission that had cooperated with the federal signal service's coastal reporting station. Milby and his wife, Mary, a native of Pennsylvania, had at least eight children. Milby was a Mason and Episcopalian. He died on February 2, 1887 and was buried in Glendale Cemetery in Harrisburg.

GPS Coordinates
29° 43.180, -095° 16.458

Glendale Cemetery