"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.
|Buffet line at opening reception|
Bob McCubbin of Santa Fe is a noted expert and collector of Western photographs. Bob was a founder and the first president of WWHA, and he remains a force in the organization. Roy Young, of Apache, Oklahoma, is an author, book review editor of the WWHA Journal, and the resourceful, tireless program chair of our Roundups. Bob and Roy asked me, as Texas State Historian, to suggest program topics and field trip possibilities. I lined up certain speakers, and happily accepted several assignments on the program.
|With board member Kurt House, Karon, and WWHA |
founding father Bob McCubbin
Our opening event was a Wednesday evening reception. There was an excellent catered meal, along with entertainment from WWHA President Jim Dunham, Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble, and Michael Wallis, award-winning author and the voice of the Sheriff in Cars and Cars 2.
|With Bill and Gayla Neal|
On Thursday morning it was my privilege to present the opening program on “Tascosa: Cowboy Capital of the Panhandle.” The site of old Tascosa is only 27 miles northwest of Amarillo, and features one of the most haunting boot hills in the West, as well as a stone court house built in 1884. A strong interest of most WWHA members is gunfighters and shootouts, and during Tascosa’s 1880s heyday, I tried to show that this wolf-howl of a town could just a well have been called the “Gunfighter Capital of the Panhandle.” My wife Karon helped me put together a PowerPoint presentation that illustrated old Tascosa.
|Program chair Roy Young|
At noon our Awards Luncheon honored several fine writers, including Larry Ball, whose superb biography of Tom Horn was announced as WWHA Book of the Year. That afternoon there was a field trip to the magnificent Panhandle-Plains Museum in Canyon, 18 miles to the south.
On Thursday evening Bob McCubbin interviewed Karen Holliday Tanner, a descendant of Doc Holliday, who wrote a delightful biography of the dentist/gunfighter. The event was our annual “Evening With…”, and Bob and Karen provided us a memorable and informative hour.
|WWHA President Jim Dunham|
|Speaking on "Tascosa"|
Vendors packed up during the afternoon, and Saturday evening the Annual Boots and Spurs Banquet provided a stage for the Silent Auction and for the auction of donated artifacts. The keynote speaker was Paul Andrew Hutton, who has appeared on more than 200 TV documentaries and has been a historical consultant for a number of motion pictures. A five-time winner of the Spur Award of the Western Writers of America, Dr. Hutton is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. He provided a brilliant and thought-provoking presentation on Kit Carson, recounting his adventurous career, then offering thoughts about Kit’s recent fall from favor as a popular hero in the context of Political Correctness. This superb program from one of the leading frontier historians of our time gave a fitting close to one of the most notable Western events of 2015.
For more information: wildwesthistory.org
|Larry Ball and his wife Ruth after receiving|
the Book of the Year Award
|With Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble|
|Bob McCubbin interviewing Karen Holliday Tanner|
|Four buses at Adobe Walls|
|Marker for 1864 battle|
|Dr. James Bailey|
|Adobe Walls Panel: Brett Cruse, Alvin Lynn,|
Bill, and moderator Clay Renick
|Saturday night banquet|
|My sister and brother-in-law,|
Judy and John Smith
|Keynote speaker Paul Andrew Hutton|