Brazoria County Land Records show George Armstrong bought 320acres in the Polly Chance league from William B. Sweeny in 1839. This is supported by the 1839 Brazoria County tax records where George Armstrong was taxed on 320 acres, a wagon, 4 mules, 4 slaves and a gold watch. This was the beginning of the George Armstrong Plantation in Chance’s Prairie, now known as the Old Ocean area. 


George Armstrong original 320 acres

In 1857 George Armstrong purchased 500 plus Polly Chance acres from the widow of William B. Sweeny. In 1868 George Armstrong bought another 870 wooded Polly Chance acres from John Sweeny Jr. Between 1874 and 1875 George Armstrong and John Sweeny Jr. basically swapped the 870 acres of wooded land for equal amount of prairie acreage. This amounted to around 1700 total plantation acres. 

The 1850 Federal Census listed George Armstrong with his younger brother David Armstrong, an overseer James Bond and a carpenter by the name of O.D. Shannon, in his household. It appears that George is building or remodeling his house. At this time there were also the nearby plantations of John Sweeny Jr., Samuel Sweeny, Thomas Sweeny Jordan Sweeny, John Sweeny Sr. and James Eliot Black who was also operating a ferry on the San Bernard River. 

In the fall of 1850, probably after the cotton crop was harvested, George Armstrong returned to Williamson County, Tennessee and on 10 October 1850 married Ann Lucas Baugh, daughter of William and Amarilla Lucas Baugh. After the honeymoon, they returned to Texas and it is speculated that they were accompanied by slaves who carried the Baugh name which is carried on to this day by their descendants. 

Brazoria County Deed Records show that George Armstrong loaned money nine different times where people put up land as collateral, one lien indicated a man put up a 400 acre cotton crop for $90.

The plantation remained with George Armstrong until his death sometime between 1874 and 1875. The date of his death was abstracted by the fact that he was listed as head of the household in the tax roll of 1874 and Mrs. Ann Armstrong was head of household in the 1875 tax roll.


 George Armstrong Plantation at time of his death

Ann Armstrong retained most of the plantation until her death on January 4, 1909, however she did sell a portion of it prior to her death. 


Land at Ann Armstrong's death

Ann is buried in the Columbia Cemetery in West Columbia. Her last will and Testament asked that the land be sold and listed twelve people to receive a payment which included two former servants. The remainder was to be given to the Methodist Church of West Columbia. 


The Armstrong plantation was purchased in 1934 by Harrison and Abercrombie Companies, later owned by Amoco, and in 1998 Amoco sold it to Phillips Petroleum Company.  

Phillips, knowing there was a cemetery on the property, asked team leader Henry Hanson to research, document and preserve it. 



Henry involved Maurice Grovey whose grandparents were Nellie Baugh/Thomas Jefferson Grovey. Nellie was the daughter of Jessie Baugh and Louise Glapey Baugh.  Maurice also enlisted Connie Kennedy who lived next to Ronnie Griffins hardware store (second location).  Connie had attended one of the last funerals and burials at that cemetery sometime during the 1930s. 

The research discovered that burials took place between 1857 and 1930.  

In 1855 George and Ann started a family with a daughter Eunice born on the Chance’s Prairie plantation. The second child William B. Armstrong was born in December of 1857 and died seven days later. The death and burial of William appears to be the first burial on the plantation, in what is now known as the “Armstrong-Baugh Cemetery”. 


William B Armstrong (1857-1857)  

On the 2nd of August of 1859, Ann gave birth to John Allen Armstrong. John Allen died the 3rd February 1866 and for many years his foot stone marked JAA was all that identified his burial.
Missing tombstone. JAA=John Allen Armstrong (1859-1866)
Gina Scott read a Brazoria County News article published on the 26th of June 2014 about the Armstrong Baugh Cemetery in Old Ocean. Gina had wondered for years about an old tombstone her grandfather found decades ago on his property in West Columbia. She made contact with Beverly Stinson a member of the County Cemetery Association and it was thought the tombstone would return to the cemetery near Old Ocean.


Brazoria County News June 26, 2014



Brazoria County News July 3, 2014

 At this time the tombstone has not returned. The “Sweeny History Digital Preservation Committee” has contacted Phillips 66 and direct descendants of George Armstrong about holding a ceremony at the cemetery at some future date and resetting the stone. We have hopes this little boy's tombstone can soon be returned to his gravesite and would very much appreciate any information that could help in making this happen. 

Thomas Armstrong was born in 1862 in Chance’s Prairie and died in 1886 in Chance’s Prairie and is buried in the Armstrong – Baugh Cemetery.

Pic12 Thomas Armstrong (1862-1886)



George Armstrong most likely died on his plantation in Chance’s Prairie and Henry believes he is buried in the Armstrong-Baugh Cemetery even though there is not a tombstone to indicate such. After Henry first cleaned the cemetery, the next spring four lilies came out and bloomed in about the same location of each burial plot of the three boys which led him to believe that the fourth lily marked the spot where George was buried. Was his tombstone stolen like that of his son John Allen to the right of his grave?????? If so, maybe one day it will return.





L-R Debra Mayberry Bess, Cleo Baugh Grimes, Henry Hanson, Maurice Grovey, Marilyn Davis and Zealous Mayberry.

Prior to Henry’s retirement from Phillips, the Baugh family held a family reunion and asked him to make the arrangements to enter Phillips property to view the cemetery. During this visit to the cemetery Henry pointed out that it was possible to see graves by the depressions in the ground and he asked the family to submit a list of those that they knew were buried at the Armstrong-Baugh Cemetery. The family submitted the following list:


Baugh, Austin b.1874

Baugh, Elvenia b.1895

Baugh, Frances b. 1862

Baugh, Henderson 

Baugh, Ishman b. 1905

Baugh, Jesse b. November b.1830 d. 1900

Baugh, Louise Glapey b. 1842

Baugh, Martha Grovey b. 1878

Baugh, Tennessee b. 1866

Baugh, William “Buck” b. September 1875

Grimes, Ollie Grovey b. 1905

Grovey, Archie b. 1915

Grovey, Hattie b. 1878

Grovey, Sylvester b. March 12, 1898

Harris, Caleb b. March 1847

Harris, Gussie Baugh b January 1896

Harris, Caleb b. 1909

Beverly Stimson of the Texas Historical Cemetery Guardianship Association provided the following bit of history identifying one person buried at the cemetery.


1840 - 1867

Born in Ireland and living in Coventry, Orleans County Vermont, when the Civil War broke out. Duggan enlisted as a private in the Vermont Volunteers. After seeing action in several battles, Duggan was promoted to second lieutenant and transferred to the 10th Regiment , U.S. Colored Infantry in 1864. Eventually promoted to first lieutenant and adjutant of the regiment, Duggan was honorably discharged in Galveston in May 1866.

A year later, now twenty seven years old, Duggan arrived in East Columbia. The next four and a half months, as Freedmen’s Bureau records reveal, Duggan worked as an advocate for the freed people. He traveled to plantations throughout the county, intervening on behalf of both planters and workers, settling disputes, supervising voter’s registration, establishing and maintaining schools for freed adults as well as their children.

On Tuesday, October 8th, Duggan visited the Armstrong plantation to oversee payment under the labor contracts. Jesse and Louisa Baugh and nine other freed people named Baugh were listed on the contract.

Duggan spent the night at John Sweeny Jr. plantation nearby, intending to oversee Sweeny’s payout the next day. Instead, Duggan fell ill and died of yellow fever on Sunday, October 13th 1867.

George Armstrong, perhaps moved by the yellow fever epidemic and sudden illness of young Duggan, permitted Duggan to be buried beside the Armstrong children in the family cemetery.


Pic2Duggan’s epitaph might well be taken from Amon Underwood’s letter advising bureau officials of his death:

“He showed a desire to administer equal justicebetween white and black.”

(National Archives Freedmen’s Bureau Records andMilitary Records)


Through the efforts of Beverly Stimson, Phillips 66 employees Cynthia Jordy and James Ashton Jr. and many others a ceremony was held at the cemetery on November 12, 2009 to unveil a Patrick Duggan headstone and a cemetery memorial plaque. Among those in attendance were; James Ashton Jr., Larry Baugh, John Fitzgerald, Deborah Bess, Maurice Grovey, The Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard and Baugh Family descendants.


Pictures from the Ceremony



Larry Baugh, James Ashton Jr. and John Fitzgerald



Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard



Claudia Grovey, Deborah Bess, Maurice Grovey, Eddie Baugh


Cemetery Memorial


Pic18Image Courtesy Brazoria County Historical Museum

John Sweeny Jr home built 1836-1837 by slave labor


See See Armstrong Family Tree Here

 Update John Allen Armstrong’s Headstone.


A group of family and friends met at the Armstrong-Baugh Cemetery in Old Ocean on Monday, July 17, 2017. The occasion was to return the tombstone of John Allen Armstrong who was buried here in 1866 as a child.

Jean Wunderlich, a descendent of Thomas Armstrong, shared these words with the group:Pic3

“The Armstrong-Baugh cemetery is a marker of human history. Of all the love, sweat, toil, tears, and joys of the past. It is a link to family we never knew, a source of history, and it tells us a great deal about ourselves.

The Armstrong and Baugh families would like to say thank you to the Phillips 66 Refinery. To the administration and to the employees for the restoration and care of this piece of our history---both of the Armstrong family and the men and women who were slaves who are buried here.

Let’s take a moment to honor the men and women who toiled on this land without choice. Who served this family, lived and died on this land as slaves. Present today are some of their descendents: Neal Bess, Larry Baugh, Louelle Baugh, Earnestine Cloyd and Maurice Grovey.

It is was a sad thing for John Armstrong’s tombstone to be removed from his grave and lost for many years. Our thanks to Ms. Gina Scott who made it possible for this tombstone to be returned to its rightful place. Thank you to the Historical Group ( for their interest and dedication to preserving history. Special thanks to Henry Hanson and Bill Long.

In 1836 George Armstrong and his brother Allen came to Texas. Soon after they were joined by 3 more brothers. This land was the plantation and home of George and Ann Baugh Armstrong. Sadly none of their children survived past 1886 and there were no grandchildren. George’s brother Thomas, the great great grandfather of the Armstrong descendants here today died leaving 6 children. George and his brother White took in those children and Maria and Emma grew up on this property. Maria’s brother James Lapsley lived with White Armstrong but surely he spent time here also. The Armstrong family members here today are descended from Thomas Armstrong’s child Maria Armstrong Farmer: great great granddaughter Jean Farmer Wunderlich, 3 great granddaughter Michele Shifflett, 4 great granddaughter Madeline Shifflett, and great great granddaughter Olivia Farmer Brower and husband Charles Brower.”

Jean concluded by saying “Either George or Ann Armstrong documented the death of their son in the family Bible with these words: “John Allen Armstrong departed this life of dropsy on the 3rd day of February 1866 at 11 o’clock pm. Rest in peace my kind and ever dutiful boy!”











Ernestine Cloyd read 1Corinthians 15:20-28 with Neal Bess, Maurice Grovey and Larry Baugh looking on.

Maurice Grovey closed with prayer.











Pic6Entrance to cemetery



Henry Hanson speaking to the group



Olivia Brower, Jean Wunderlich, Michelle Shifflett & Madaline Shifflett



Neal Bess, Louella Baugh, Earnestine Cloyd, Larry Baugh and Maurice Grovey



Back Row: Neal Bess, Maurice Grovey, Larry Baugh, & Henry Hanson

Front Row: Louella Baugh, Beverly Stimson, Earnestine Cloyd, Olivia Brower,

Jean Wunderlich, Michelle Shifflett & Madaline Shifflett