Marriage of Irene Farr & N. A. Cuny
Irene Farr was born in 1878 to Joseph H. Farr and Sarah Texanna Cloud. Her father and uncles were active in Hempstead politics and newspapers. Joe Farr's brother was married to Sarah's sister Elizabeth "Bettie" Cloud – Sarah Texanna and Bettie being the daughters of Henry George Washington "H.G.W." Cloud. Her father, Joe Farr, was a newspaperman who published or edited numerous newspapers in and around Hempstead,1 while his brother, Napoleon B. "Nap" Farr, was a rancher who was married to her mother's sister, Elizabeth (Cloud) Farr. Her father's sister, Frances (Farr) Newnam was married to Charles W. Newnam, also a newspaperman. Her grandfather, Henry George Washington "H.G.W." Cloud, had also been active in Austin & Waller county politics. 2 Her uncle, a brother of Sarah Texanna and Elizabeth Cloud, was James W. J. "J.W.J." Cloud, who was also involved in Waller county politics and served as the justice of the peace of precinct 1.
Nathaniel A. "N.A., Nat" Cuny (Cuney) was born 1862 the son of wealthy plantation owner Philip Minor Cuny 3 who had children by at least three women, including one of his slaves.
Irene was surrounded by the violence of the time. Her father, Joe Farr, was wounded in 1862 during the Civil War retreat of General Sibley's 5th Texas Cavalry, having both his arms broken by gunshots.4 In 1868 he killed prominent citizen and plantation owner Burwell B. "B.B." Lee in a dispute in Wheeler's saloon in Hempstead. 5 He married Irene's mother, Sarah Texanna Cloud, in 1873. He and his brother-in-law J.W.j. Cloud had ongoing disagreements and, in 1886, when she was eight years old, J.W.J. Cloud, whose judgement was obscured by terminal tuberculosis, shot and killed him. 6 Two years later, in 1888, her uncle Nap Farr was murdered in a dispute over a cattle transaction. 7
N.A. Cuny had not been idle. He had fathered two mixed-race children in 1884 and 1893 by two different women, no marriage records being found for either of them. On November 4, 1895, he and two other men killed Jerry Henderson near his father's plantation. 8 9 The next year, effective October 21, 1897, he was appointed postmaster at Sunny Side, outside his father's plantation. 10 (The population of Sunnyside was about 45 at that time.). He married Irene Farr two weeks later, on November 24th, in Houston. The next summer, he and two different men killed a man, shot up a church, set fire to a home and set a ferry boat adrift at Hill's Ferry. 11
Sarah Texanna (Cloud) Farr had moved 100 miles north to Groesbeck, Texas after the death of her husband in 1886. Her elderly and blind father, H.G.W. Cloud, moved with her and he died there August 6, 1897. 12 In November of 1897, Irene traveled back to Waller, Texas to visit friends when she met Nathaniel A. Cuny and they traveled to Houston to be married. Nat Cuny was 35 and Irene Farr was 19. 13 This appears to have been a spur-of-the-moment elopement, for it didn't last long. (Waller is a town in Waller county located on the western border of Waller county and Harris county.)
The marriage of Irene Farr and Nat Cuny was short lived, possibly due to his previous interludes or his violent nature. It is not known when the marriage was dissolved, but three years later she was listed as divorced on the 1900 census and was living with her mother back in Waller county. She later married Olonzo H. Sullivan and they had one son. She died in 1932 in Dallas, Texas. 14 No record has been found of Nat Cuny marrying again. He died in 1902 and is buried at Hempstead. 15
A transcript of the newspaper article about their elopement follows:
A ROMANTIC WEDDING.
A Young Couple Ride Forty-one Miles to Be Married.
A very romantic wedding occurred at 12:15 last night in the main parlor of the Hutchins House.
At Half past 10 last night a gentleman, accompanied by a handsome young lady, drove up to the Hutchins house. They alighted and went inside and the gentleman registered "N. A. Cuny, Sunnyside." Mr. J. T. Boyle, junior proprietor of the hotel, asked him if he desired to register his wife's name also. Mr. Cuny blushingly replied that she was not his wife, but would be very shortly.
Mr. Boyle was quick to grasp the situation, and very courteously proffered his assistance in carrying out the details of the wedding. In the meantime, the young lady had registered as Miss Irene Farr of Sunnyside, and was shown to the bridal chamber.
Mr. Boyle and Mr. Cuny took a carriage and drove to the residence of County Clerk Ed Dupree, awoke the gentleman and brought him down town and procured the marriage license. They then returned to the hotel and Mr. Boyle went after Rev. Seth Ward of Shoarn (sic ?) Methodist church.
As soon as Rev. Ward arrived he was shown to the parlor, and in a few minutes the couple appeared. They were pronounced man and wife at just 12:17 o'clock in the presence of the following witnesses; Messrs. I. R. Lindley, George M. Reed, J. T. Boyle, E. C. Humphreys, S. D. Arnold and a representative of The Post, all of whom tendered their hearty congratulations to the happy couple.
The prominence of the contracting parties lends additional interest to the wedding. Mr. Cuny is postmaster at Sunnyside, and is a brother of Dick Cuny, county treasurer of Waller county, while Miss Farr is a member of one of the best families in Southern Texas.
In speaking of the occurrence, Mr. Cuny said: "Miss Farr agreed to take me for better or worse, and we decided to come to Houston and be married. Miss Farr's home is at Groesbeck, but she was visiting relatives in Waller, from which point we came in a buggy. We left there at 3 o'clock this afternoon and had a hard time getting into the city, owing to the condition of the streets.
The Houston Post, Wednesday, November 24, 1897, p. 7, col. 4.
- Newspapers of 19th century Hempstead Texas MyKindred.com
- H. G. W. Cloud, Assessor Austin County. State Gazette, (Austin, TX), Vol. 7, No. 13, Ed. 1, Saturday, November 17, 1855, p. 4, col 5. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- Cuney, Philip Minor (1808–1866) Cutrer, Thomas W. Handbook of Texas Online
- Farr, Joseph H. Confederate Scrip Voucher, (Nashville, TN), Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1881; p. 3. Texas General Land Office transcription
- Mr. B. B. Lee Was Shot And Killed By Mr. Joseph Farr Galveston Daily News, Saturday, May 2, 1868, p. 1, Newspapers.com transcription
- Editor Farr Shot And Killed By Justice Of The Peace Cloud Galveston Daily News, Thursday, May 6, 1886, p. 5, col. 4. Newspapers.com transcription
- Further Particulars Of The Killing Of Napoleon B. Farr By James Carroll. Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Sunday, May 6, 1888, p. 4, col. 4. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- Jerry Henderson Killed. Brenham Daily Banner, Thursday, November 7, 1895, p. 7, col. 1. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- Nat Cuney Allowed Bail. The Houston Daily Post, Saturday, January 4, 1896, p. 2, col. 1. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- New Postmasters. The Houston Daily Post, Friday, October 22, 1897, p. 2, col. 4. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- Thousand Dollar Bond. The Galveston Daily News, Sunday, June 14, 1896, p. 5, col. 5. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- A Pioneer's Funeral (wash Cloud). The Houston Daily Post, Saturday, August 7, 1897, p. 2, col. 6. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- A Romantic Wedding. Irene Farr & N.A. Cuny The Houston Post, Wednesday, November 24, 1897, p. 7, col. 4. University Of North Texas Libraries, The Portal To Texas History transcription
- Irene Frances (Farr) Sullivan (1878-1932), 53 years old. FindaGrave.com
- Nathaniel A. Cuny (1862-1902), 40 years old. FindaGrave.com
Newspaper articles may be read at Timeline of News Reports.