November 24, 2015

George Washington Petty

   Born April 7, 1812 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Petty emigrated to Texas in the fall of 1835 and settled at Cole's Settlement (now Independence). As the Texas Independence movement took hold in early 1836, he was sworn into the Texican militia by Captain Joseph P. Lynch on March 1 as a soldier in Captain William W. Hill's Company. He remained in the service for just three months, during which time he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, before being discharged from the army on June 1. Petty died during services at a revival meeting at Alexander Camp Grounds at Kenny, Austin County, on July 27, 1901.

30° 09.331, -096° 24.526

Section 3
Prairie Lea Cemetery

November 17, 2015

Gene Elston

   A native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Robert Gene Elston was born on March 26, 1922. His first job in announcing was high school basketball in 1941 and from there progressed to minor league baseball in 1946. His first job in the major leagues was eight years later in 1954, when he became the number two radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs, alongside Bert Wilson. In 1958, he moved to a national radio audience by announcing the Game of the Day on the Mutual Broadcasting System, with Bob Feller.

   In 1961, Elston joined veteran radio broadcaster Loel Passe to announce the final season of Houston's minor league franchise, the Houston Buffs. With the expansion of the major league and the inaugural 1962 season of the Houston Colt 45s, Elston was chosen to lead the radio broadcast. The team changed its name to the Astros three years later, and Elston continued as their main announcer through 1986, when he ended his association with the Astros and joined Tal Smith Enterprises as a consultant and researcher. Starting in 1987, Elston went back to calling national radio broadcasts instead of games for a specific team. He called the CBS Radio Game of the Week until 1995, and also called postseason NLDS games on CBS Radio in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He then retired from broadcasting.

   In 2006, Elston was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. The award is given annually to a baseball announcer who has given major contributions to the game. Elston was healthy enough, at the age of 84, to accept the award in person at Cooperstown. He passed away in Houston on September 5, 2015 and interred at Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.848, -095° 26.759

Section C14
Houston National Cemetery

November 10, 2015

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. Source

30° 04.974, -096° 04.053

Hempstead Cemetery

November 3, 2015

Stephen Franklin Sparks

   Stephen Franklin Sparks was born in Lawrence County, Mississippi, April 7, 1819, a son of Richard and Elizabeth (Cooper) Sparks. His father served in the War of 1812 and moved the family to San Augustine, Texas in 1834, later settling in Nacogdoches. On March 6, 1836, a volunteer company was organized at Nacogdoches and young Stephen left school and volunteered for service in the Texas Revolution on March 8. He was shortly afterward ordered to report to the Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army, and was assigned to Hayden Arnold's Nacogdoches Company, with whom he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto.

   In 1854, Sparks moved his family to McClennan County, where his first wife Elizabeth died in childbirth. On September 1, 1856 he was awarded 640 acres of land for his service in the army . In 1890, he moved his family to Aransas County, where he would remain the rest of his life. In his later years, Sparks was the last president of the Texas Veterans Association, as it was decided to dissolve the group due to the lack of living participants. He died in 1908 in Rockport and was laid to rest at the cemetery there.

28° 02.721, -097° 02.253

Section 1
Rockport Cemetery