The Joe Valentino Act performs during the Pelly Reunion Saturday afternoon at the Shriners Building.

A hundred years of Pelly pride would not be denied just because of a little thunderstorm.

So, dozens of former and current residents took part in the 100th anniversary reunion of the City of Pelly – one of the Tri Cities that would merge and become Baytown – Saturday at the Shriners Building.

Those in attendance enjoyed some brisket, chicken and entertainment from the Joe Valentino Show.

Event organizer Darvis “Sug” McCartney grew up in “Old Pelly” with many members of his family.

“We just decided to have a Pelly Rat reunion and bring some of the old people together who grew up here 50, 60, 70 years ago,” McCartney said. “It’s gone pretty well. Last year, we had probably over a hundred people show up in transit and we had a couple of months to plan it. This one, we had an entire year to prepare.”

Ten briskets and 15 chickens were cooked overnight and prepared for offering to the attendees who were in full force when food was served.

Terry Lawson, from Tomball and a friend of McCartney was the cook for the meal.

“I am not a Pelly Rat, but I am still a rat,” Lawson said. “Pelly people are fabulous people.”

McCartney called Lawson his “brother from another mother.”

Joe Valentino and his associates –Robin Phillips and Ann Marie Contreras – brought the entertainment as they performed a number of musical pieces that rang with a slight feel of Elvis Presley lite and took time to include many of the attendees.

Paula Stoerner, formerly Boatright, was raised in the area on Gulf Hill and now lives in Canyon Lake.

“I haven’t seen some of these people in years; some I didn’t even know were still around,” Stoerner said. “Pelly people were hard working, good people. We would run wild like country people. We are all scattered out now. I don’t know who all still lives here. A lot got married, moved on and had families.”

The celebration noted the incorporation of Pelly and the Shriner’s Building stands in what would be considered Pelly, according to McCartney.

The area of Pelly is considered to run along West Main Street east of Goose Creek waterway, but south of the former city of Goose Creek. 

Pelly annexed the unincorporated community of Baytown in 1945 and merged with Goose Creek in 1948.

McCartney no longer lives in the area – he resides in Northeast Houston - but will always consider himself a “rat.”

“I grew up here and a lot of honorable and influential people have come from out here,” he said. “Some of the old families still live in this area. The town has shifted more north.”

Darryl Jones is a member of a family, which moved into the area back in 1916.

“My grandfather (Virgil C. Porter) is the longest serving lawman in the city; he was elected nine times,” Jones said. “I was born in Gulf Coast Hospital and raised here in Pelly. It’s great. I am a traditional, Pelly person. To me, this is Pelly and it always will be.” 

Jones said that Stewart Heights was a city that was left out in the story of the forging of what is modern Baytown.

“I remember doing the things you wish your kids can do growing up,” he said. “Just have fun, grow up and lead a normal life. We used to leave our windows and doors open at night.”

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