Janice Williams

Tombstone Tuesday: Poor Little Boys

In Dave Cunningham, Tombstone Tuesday on October 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I noticed the gravestone in the Albin Cemetery of two boys that died on the same day long before I knew what happened to them.

Marshall & Durward Cunningham

(Sorry for the poor picture on a too-sunny day. This is a photo I took. There is a better picture on findagrave.com.)

Finally, a few years ago at the reunion, I remembered to ask and Mary Shannon (Taber) Autrey told me of the poor boys that drown. Mary Shannon is from the Dave family, as are the boys.

Seven-year-old Marshal and just-turned-six-year-old Durward were playing in a swollen creek after flooding rains and were swept away and drowned. The sad story made it to papers across the state.


This article was on the front page of the Houston Post on May 19, 1908. In the weather column of the same page, it reports the Trinity River still at flood stage and the Colorado, Brazos, and Trinity all rising in their middle and lower portions.

The next day, the boys’ deaths were again on the front page of the Houston Post with an additional bit of detail (but I wonder how such a detail could be provided except through speculation).


The Palestine Daily Register also had the story of the flooding rivers and the deaths of the boys on its front page on May 19, 1908.


Durward and Marshal were the sons of G. Jay and Lizzie Cunningham (maiden name Martha Elizabeth Hamilton). Jay was one of Dave Cunningham’s six children, the older of Dave’s two sons. He was just 35 when the boys died and Lizzie was 31. The only other child the couple had was only 3 years old. Reba Cunningham grew up and married Randle Burton. They had no children. They were well known in the Newburg Community.

  1. It breaks your heart all these many years later. So sad!

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