"Lone Star Historian 2" is a blog about the travels and activities of the State Historian of Texas during his second year. Bill O'Neal was appointed to a two-year term by Gov. Rick Perry on August 22, 2012, at an impressive ceremony in the State Capitol. Bill is headquartered at Panola College (www.panola.edu) in Carthage, where he has taught since 1970. For more than 20 years Bill conducted the state's first Traveling Texas History class, a three-hour credit course which featured a 2,100-mile itinerary. In 2000 he was awarded a Piper Professorship, and in 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West Historical Association. Bill has published over 40 books, almost half about Texas history subjects, and in 2007 he was named Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by his alma mater, Texas A&M University - Commerce.
Nearly 100 people jammed into the Kinsloe House dining area. The crowd included many old friends, as well as my daughter, Dr. Shellie O’Neal, chair of the Drama Department at Navarro College. The event was scheduled for noon on Wednesday. I arrived early, and I had a grand time visiting with everyone. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, and Margaret provided me with a gracious introduction.
|With Dr. Shellie O'Neal|
|With former schoolmates|
|Introduction by Margaret Thomas|
During the 1890s the first oil field and oil refinery west of the Mississippi River was developed in Corsicana. Desperado John Wesley Hardin, hiding out with relatives near Corsicana, taught a term in a rural school. The home of Major John B. Jones, commander of the famed Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers, was a horse ranch in western Navarro County. The Corsicana Oilers won the 1902 Texas League championship, establishing records that still stand in professional baseball. Victorian homes, commercial structures, and historic churches offer tangible reminders of the past. And Corsicana was the home of a handsome and able governor.
|Birthplace of Beauford Jester, no longer standing|
The father of Beauford Jester was a Navarro County pioneer, George Jester, who came to Corsicana as a child in 1858. His father recently had died, and his mother brought her six children in a covered wagon to Corsicana, where her father had helped to found the town a decade earlier. Growing up in a new town and county, George was enterprising and industrious, and he prospered rapidly. He founded and served as president of the Corsicana National Bank, he acquired land, and he was active in civic affairs. George Jester was elected to the Texas State House and Senate, and he served two terms as lieutenant governor during the 1890s.
|Beauford and Mabel Jester built their family home in 1923.|