"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.
|With Fannie Watson and Melba Pahal|
A few months ago I was invited by Fannie Watson, a retired teacher who lives near Tenaha, to address the January meeting of Delta Gamma Chapter of women educators. Delta Gamma was organized in 1929 by women educators from Shelby, Sabine, and San Augustine counties. Among many other awards, Delta Gamma recently received the coveted President’s Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE) from the Texas State Organization of the Delta Kappa Society International, which has more than 90,000 members in 18 nations worldwide.
Meetings are rotated among communities across the three-county area of Delta Gamma Chapter. The meeting of January 2015 was held at Woodland Christian Church of Timpson, a drive of less than thirty miles for me. The meeting was scheduled for six o’clock on a Monday evening, but I arrived early to set up a selection of books. I was greeted by a number of old friends. By the time the meeting was called to order, I had inscribed all but one of the books I had brought.
|With former students|
Five of my students were seated at my table, and I had a grand time catching up on their families and careers. Almost all of the ladies had participated in my Traveling Texas History Course, and it was great fun reminiscing about those 2,100-mile trips around the Lone Star State. One of the ladies, Nora Robinson of Timpson, photographed the event for the Delta Gamma publication, and she graciously provided photos for me to use in this blog. During the evening I was introduced to Melba Pahal, First Vice President of the Texas State Organization, who was visiting this outstanding chapter from her home in Fredericksburg.
Our catered meal featured barbeque served on Texas plates with other Lone Star decorations and trimmings, all in honor of the State Historian. After I was introduced I mentioned that the “Texas Culinary Trinity” was considered to be barbeque, Tex-Mex, and chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy. I also described my activities as State Historian and how the office came into existence (Larry McNeill, who played a key role in creating the office, is well-known by Fannie Watson and several other members). Following my program I enjoyed a number of pleasant farewells before driving home. This meeting was my first appearance of 2015, and for me it was a memorable evening indeed.