"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.
Program Chair W. Marvin Dulaney, the 12 members of the Program Committee, and TSHA Chief Historian Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell put together 42 sessions which provided a delicious historical buffet. Throughout Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning, attendees could partake of another type of buffet. A vast ballroom was covered with exhibitor tables, ranging from university presses to booksellers to such organizations as the Former Texas Ranger Foundation, The Hispanic Heritage Center and the Texas General Land Office.
A highlight of the meeting was the Thursday evening Presidential Reception aboard the USS Lexington, moored off the North Beach within sight of our hotel. A squadron of buses transported us from the Omni to the Lexington. It was a cold night, but the reception was held in a large enclosed area of the vast hanger deck. The food was excellent, and we were welcomed by TSHA President John L. Nau III and incoming president Lynn Denton. The Lexington experienced heavy combat service during World War II, and the career of the “Blue Ghost” continued as a training vessel until she was decommissioned in 1991. The Lexington is the oldest aircraft carrier in the world, and our tours of the vessel provided incomparable historical experiences.
On Friday morning, March 6 – Alamo Day – I was involved in Session 26, “Present at the Creation: The First Three Texas State Historians.” Larry McNeill of Austin is a former TSHA President and the individual most responsible for creating the office of Texas State Historian. Most sessions customarily have three speakers and a presider. Larry secured the approval of “Present at the Creation,” and he asked the first two State Historians – Dr. Frank de la Teja of Texas State University and Dr. Light Cummins of Austin College – along with the current officeholder, to prepare a presentation for this session. But Light and his wife Vicki, whose home is in Sherman, could not leave their driveway because of the ice, and their flight was cancelled for the same reason. But Larry McNeill, who served as presider, stepped in to make remarks about Light as State Historian and to read selections from Light’s most recent book: Om History’s Trail – Speeches and Essays by the Texas State Historian, 2009-2012. (Texas State Historical Association, 2014).
|Dining on the Hanger Deck|
|As State Historian I'm a member of the |
|From the podium TSHA Chief Historian Mike Campbell|
shares a word with TSHA Director Brian Bolinger.
|Larry McNeill introduces the session|
"Present at the Creation."
|Dr. Frank de la Teja, first State Historian|
|Current State Historian|