"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.
|Tinsmiths fashioned pie safes, and in Texas the air |
holes often featured a Lone Star design.
|Gourds had numerous uses.|
|Handmade tray and butter mold|
|A wood-burning range|
Clothing was another basic need. Most houses had a spinning wheel. Texas was close to the textile industry of Mexico, and we bought a lot of cloth and sewed it ourselves. It took about ten hours to sew a shirt by hand. Quilts were produced at home on quilting frames, which were suspended (and stored) from the ceiling, then lowered when the quilting process was continued. Quilting bees allowed several ladies to work on quilts simultaneously, enjoying one another’s company while creating comfortable and often beautiful bed coverings. Quilting, of course, is one of the most popular contemporary crafts. The Texas Quilt Museum is located, appropriately, in two nineteenth century buildings in downtown LaGrange. A few years ago, my wife Karon and I happened to be in Paducah, Kentucky, where we toured the National Quilt Museum. Karon and her mother, Louise Ashby, have collaborated on several lovely quilts. Louise s a superb quilter, and she is an active member of several quilting clubs.
|Leather worker Ted Standard made this Masonic |
billfold for my father, W.C. O'Neal
|Ted Standard crafted a decorated Western belt for Karon.|
|The Panola County Jail Museum, like many local museums,|
has numerous homemade items from the 19th century.
|Holding a corn shuck mop made by one of my students|
decades ago. As the shuck surfaces wore down, new
shucks would be inserted.
|Beautiful corn shuck doll|
|Farmers made their own whiskey in stills.|
|This homemade school desk seated |
five on each side on long
benches. The lid opened on each
side for desk space.