"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 KCYL broadcaster Jeff Golemba|
|Reporter David Lowe seated at front|
|Presented a State Historian brick by Carol Wright|
|Being introduced by my sister|
Early on Monday morning, March 2, I joined DRT President Carol Northington Wright at Lampasas Radio KCYL. Broadcaster Jeff Golemba conducted a lively interview with us, generating good publicity for our upcoming program. The Lampasas Dispatch Record had published some welcome PR pieces for us, and that night the program was covered by reporter David Lowe. It was a special pleasure for me to meet David, because during the 1960s, as a young teacher-coach in Lampasas, I was privileged to work with his father and uncle, Jim and Fred Lowe.
During the afternoon my sister, DRT member Judy O’Neal Smith, helped me to set up for the program and book-signing during the afternoon. At 6:30 Judy provided a fine introduction for me, but before I began speaking Carol Wright came forward to present me with a red brick inscribed: “Bill O’Neal/ Texas State Historian / 2012-2016.” This brick will be part of the walkway to the Hostess House, an historic building which the DRT chapter maintains at great cost. I am enormously proud that a State Historian brick with my name will be in place at the Hostess House.
There was a crowd numbering more than 80, and they were a most receptive audience. Afterward the DRT ladies served punch and Texas-shaped cookies, while I signed books. Then everyone was handed a candle. When the candles were lit we all sang “Happy Birthday to Texas,” followed by “Texas, Our Texas.” The Lampasas DRT staged a memorable and enjoyable Texas Independence Day celebration for Lampasas, and it was a treat for me to participate.
|Brandishing lighted candles we sang "Happy Birthday to Texas!"|