Tuesday, February 23, 2016

ETHA and Dallas DRT

"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. 

With Light Cummins, former Texas State Historian
On Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20, I had the pleasure of attending the Spring Meeting of the East Texas Historical Association in Beaumont. I’ve been a member of the ETHA for more than 40 years. I’ve been privileged to serve as president and to be named a fellow, and currently I am chair of the Lock Awards Committee. The ETHA always has been a close-knit group, and at each Fall and Spring Meeting we enjoy the company of longtime friends and kindred spirits.

With ETHA Executive Director Scott Sosebee
More than 150 ETHA members gathered in Beaumont at the spacious Holiday Inn and Suites. There was a Board Meeting and Welcome Reception on Wednesday, but I was unable to come until Thursday morning. I arrived in time to start seeing everyone at the morning break. Immediately afterward I attended a session on “Formidable Texas Women,” chaired by Debbie Liles of the University of North Texas. A program on Oveta Culp Hobby could not be presented because of the illness of the presenter. But Jean Stuntz of West Texas A&M University informed us about the resolute widow and mother of five, “Mary Jane Alexander: The Panhandle’s First Woman Rancher.” My predecessor as State Historian, Light Cummins of Austin College, regaled us with a controversy of the Texas Centennial year: “Goodbye to Pioneer Women: Wauldine Tauch, the Texas Centennial of 1936, and the Evil of Female Nudity in Denton.” There were 15 sessions, each featuring enthusiastic historians and presentations rich in color and historical detail.
ETHA Secretary Chris Gill

George Cooper, First Vice President, Heather Wooten,
Second Vice  President, President Kyle Wilkison
At the Friday night banquet, Sam W. Haynes of the University of Texas at Arlington presented a delightful and informative topic, “Myth, Memory, and Monument: the San Jacinto Battlefield.” At the Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Mary Lynn Dixon was presented the prestigious Ralph W. Steen Award, while Joe and Cecilia Coch received the Lucille Terry Award for their superb preservation of the Monti Verdi Plantation near Cushing. On Saturday afternoon there were tours of Beaumont’s splendid McFadden-Ward House and of the historic Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown. Our Beaumont experience comprised a memorable Spring Meeting.
Presider Debbie Liles

Friday night banquet

Banquet address by Sam W. Haynes 

J.B.Bonham  DRT chapter
A few days before driving to Beaumont, I was in Dallas for a meeting of the James Butler Bonham Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The DRT ladies convened in the Fellowship Hall of the Northway Christian Church. They formed a warm and lively group, and we got to know each other at a mid-morning refreshment period. The highlight of the opening ceremony was “Texas, Our Texas,” sung with a piano accompaniment by 102-year-old Elizabeth Walsh, a devoted DRT member who is treasured by her fellow members. The response to my program on Margaret Houston was gratifying, and I drove out of Dallas happy to have met such a charming group of proud Texans.
With chapter president Currie Wilson Woolverton,
descended from San Jacinto veterans Col. Edward
Burleson and Walker Wilson

Elizabeth Walsh, 102-year-old chapter pianist

I was introduced by Kay Thomas, an old friend from
Carthage who belongs to the Dallas DRT chapter.

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