"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.
The CRT was organized in 1929 to foster the study of Texas history among Texans to young to join DRT or SRT chapters. There is a special focus on fourth- and seventh-grade schoolchildren, who study Texas history in the classroom. Today CRT boasts more than 2,000 members statewide.
|With L to R: Jodi, Joseph, Jacob,|
and their mother, Arlene Lopez
|Arlene and her husband Jose Lopez (at far right)|
The day after I met the Lopez family, I was back in Carthage. Following church I went to our Old Jail Museum, where a reception was being held for the CRT President General, Sarah Funderburk. Sarah is the granddaughter of a longtime faculty colleague of mine, Liz Hedges, and Sarah’s parents are former students of mine – Jason and Kim Hedges Funderburk. Following her retirement from Panola College, Liz became active in family genealogy research, as well as in Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the American Revolution. Indeed, through the years Liz enlisted me to provide an occasional program for chapters that she led.
|Old Jail Museum in Carthage|
|President General Sarah Funderburk and the CRT|
Grandmother of the Year Liz Hedges
“This year was one of our biggest conventions,” related Sarah, “and I was very honored to be participating in it and being elected as president general for the upcoming year.”
President General Funderburk has ambitious plans, and her senior year at Carthage High School will include a great deal of travel. And as Sarah has advanced to the presidency general, her grandmother has become a member of the DRT Board of Management, while also serving as CRT Registrar General for the DRT. Furthermore, at the state convention in Brenham, Liz was selected as the Grandmother of the Year. While I was learning about these matters from Sarah and Liz, I received an invitation as State Historian to deliver the keynote address at the 2016 State Convention of CRT in Castroville. I eagerly accepted, and I’m already looking forward to my first CRT event on June 25, 2016.