"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.
|Monument, Adobe Walls 1874|
|Monument honoring Native |
|Billy Dixon grave|
Next I presented a 10-minute program on Billy Dixon, the buffalo hunter who shot a Comanche off his horse on a distant ridge during the 1874 siege. A shooting demonstration followed, with 10 raffle-winners firing blanks from a Sharps Big Fifty buffalo gun at two re-enactors atop a ridge 750 yards away. The re-enactors later told us of the unique view they enjoyed, looking down at the site of the 1874 Battle of Adobe Walls. We all walked around the site, admiring and photographing the monuments and historical markers. We boarded the buses for a one-mile trip to the site of the 1864 Battle of Adobe Walls. Among the features pointed out by Alvin Lynn was the hilltop where Colonel Carson positioned the two field howitzers which held off what should have been an overwhelming force of Comanche and Kiowa warriors. On our drive back to Amarillo, we ate box lunches and reflected upon our remarkable field trip.
|Alvin Lynn addressing the crowd|
|Bill talking about Billy Dixon|
Following a break I was privileged to participate in an hour-long Adobe Walls Panel with Alvin and Brett, while Clay Renick served as moderator. I was able to provide context for Carson’s 1864 campaign and for the Red River War of 1874-75 as well as the tactics of Comanche and Kiowa warriors. Brett and Alvin added more details to their excellent morning presentations, and we each responded to questions from the audience.
At long last I’ve had an opportunity to visit Adobe Walls, after years of writing and lecturing about the campaigns and battles. And I was enormously impressed by the depth of hard-earned knowledge by our guest experts, Alvin Lynn and Brett Cruse.
|The target ridge, 750 yards away. To see two re-enactors,|
just left of center, click on photo to enlarge.
|Monument, Adobe Walls 1864|
|Hilltop where Col. Kit Carson positioned |
the two field howitzers
|Next morning, Adobe Walls Panel:|
Brett Cruse, Alvin Lynn,
Bill, Clay Renick