Friday, January 2, 2015

Winnsboro Events

"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. 

At Wild West Days
On Saturday, February 15, 2014, I presented a program in Winnsboro, “The History of the Texas Cowboy.” I was invited by the Winnsboro Preservation Commission and the Gilbreath Memorial Library. There was excellent publicity and a large crowd, which included an enthusiastic group of gunfighter re-enactors, The Legends of Crossroads. Karon and I were treated with great hospitality, and I posted a blog about the event. 


Spearheaded by The Legends of Crossroads, a Winnsboro Wild West Days was organized for the weekend of November 14 and 15, to be held at a park which featured a covered pavilion. There would be booths and western music and fast-draw contests. I was asked to provide my program on “Gunfighterology.” The invitation came from librarian Pam Dumse, who also is a gun-totin’ member of The Legends of Crossroads. Like Legends, Karon and I again wore western attire. I brought my replica weapons and various gun rigs, and “Gunfighterology” was well-received by the Wild West enthusiasts who were in attendance.

The Legends of Crossroads, including
Librarian Pam Dumse, second from right.
Pam Dumse recently had earned promotion to head librarian. When she learned that my most recent book, Texas Gunslingers, would be released in December, she graciously offered to host a signing at the Gilbreath Memorial Library. Pam wanted to bring the State Historian to the library early in her tenure, and she knew that Texas Gunslingers and others of my titles would be popular in Winnsboro. I was delighted to appear in this history-minded town for my third time in ten months, and Karon and I were eager to see our new Winnsboro friends again. We also had a favorite eating place to visit, and Karon wanted to puruse the colorful shops in “The Bowery,” once a street of saloons. 


The third week of December was filled with book signings and programs, beginning on Monday in Carthage and extending to West Texas (this week is the subject of the most recent blog). By Saturday morning we were back in East Texas and setting up at the Gilbreath Public Library. Pam once more arranged excellent publicity, and The Legends of Crossroads were present to lend support. Library visitors include Randy Lindsey of KWNS Radio, and for several minutes we broadcast live from the library. Responding to our broadcast, a number of guests came to the library soon after we were on the air. I was also interviewed by Bryan Giguere of The Winnsboro News
With Randy Lindsey of KWNS

The library closes on Saturdays at noon. Karon and I said our goodbyes and expressed gratitude to Pam for a highly enjoyable event. Next we drove a few blocks to The Bowery, where we ate a delicious lunch at the Double C Steakhouse and Saloon. The Double C offers a superb Texana atmosphere, which we photographed as best we could. The Bowery, incidentally, was the site of an epic 1907 shootout between lawmen and saloonkeepers, in which all four participants were fatally wounded. But Karon made her way safely to an inviting shop, where she purchased several Christmas gifts before we headed home. 

Double C Steakhouse and Saloon
With hostess Nancy Reid


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