"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.
|Steve Cure and JoNeita Kelly|
The TSHA office suite is across the hall from the suite of the UNT Press on the campus of the University of North Texas. JoNeita Kelly brought a large number of copies of The Johnson-Sims Feud to Lubbock, and for half an hour following my presentation I autographed and personalized copies purchased from the TSHA by teachers. During this period I had the pleasure of meeting the new Executive Director of the TSHA, Brian Bolinger.
|With Brian Bolinger|
|Steve and JoNeita at the Bob Bullock|
|Teachers at the Bob Bullock Museum|
For my lead-off program, JoNeita requested that I discuss “Texas: Gunfighter Capital of the Western Frontier,” including events in Austin during this period. There is nothing more dramatic than life and death conflict, and when such conflicts take place in an Old West setting, a special appeal is generated. Far more shootouts occurred in Texas than in any other state or territory. More gunfighters were born in Texas, and more died here. There were more blood feuds in Texas, along with violent clashes between cattlemen and sheepherders. The revolving pistol evolved in Texas, which I demonstrate with replica period revolvers and with holsters and gun rigs. The West’s first gunfighter grew up in Austin, where he had his initial fights, found a bride, shot her brother, and – following his sudden demise in San Antonio from 13 bullet wounds – was buried in Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery.
|Members of the Aransas County Historical Society|
After leaving the Bob Bullock Museum I drove to Rockport, where I presented an evening program to the Aransas County Historical Society. My host was David Murrah – former director of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University, past president of the West Texas Historical Association, and longtime museum consultant. David arranged excellent publicity, and there was a receptive crowd of fellow history buffs for my program on “Musical Traditions of Texas.” Afterward David and his lovely wife Anne took me for delicious meal at a seafood restaurant. It was a delightful close to a wonderful day of history.
|Dr. Marsha Hendrix, Director of the|
Fulton Mansion State Historic site
and president of the Aransas County