Monday, April 18, 2016

White Gloves Luncheon

"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 ( 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. 

Karon and our book table at Shady Oaks Country Club
On Saturday, April 2, Karon and I participated in the annual White Gloves Luncheon of the Fort Worth Chapter of the DAR. The event was held at the Shady Oaks Country Club. Husbands and friends were invited, and the crowd in the dining room approached 100. I was invited to present a program on “Texas Icon Sam Houston and the Spectacular Victory at San Jacinto,” and to sign copies of my new book on Houston.
With former student Mary Yamagata

My contact person was Mary Holland Yamagata, a former student of mine at Panola College. Mary’s father, Dr. V. L. Holland, was a Carthage physician and longtime president of the Panola College Board of Trustees. Dr. and Mrs. Holland were keenly interested in history, and Mary, a brilliant student, inherited their love of history. As chair of the White Gloves Luncheon, Mary explained to Karon that the DAR ladies enjoyed wearing hats as well as gloves to this event, and that the decoration theme would be Texana. As she has at many history events, Karon dressed in a striking Texas outfit, with Lone Star jewelry, white gloves, Texas boots, and a rakish sombrero and hat band.

Karon and Mary are seated together, sporting
their hats!
Following a call to order by President Dede Samuelson, Chapter Chaplain Pam Speed provided an invocation. Opening ceremonies included the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag, recitation of the American’s Creed and of the Preamble to the Constitution, singing of the National Anthem, and the Pledge to the Texas Flag.

President Dede Samuelson
Following a delicious lunch, Mary Yamagata introduced me with gracious and nostalgic remarks. As I began my program, I stressed to this DAR audience the American Revolution combat record of Samuel Houston under Daniel Morgan. Major Houston served the rest of his life with the Virginia State Militia, and his namesake son tagged along to militia drills. In Texas Sam Houston acted on the Revolutionary principles he had absorbed at his father’s knee, and during the Texas Revolution he even fashioned his campaign hat into a tricorn (as depicted by the superb equestrian statue of General Houston in Hermann Park in the city named after him). The patriotic DAR audience responded strongly to my account of Houston, the campaign of March and April 1836, and the spectacular victory at San Jacinto. In turn, I was deeply impressed by the enthusiastic response of the crowd to the opening ritual: flag pledges, recitation of the Preamble to the Constitution and the American’s Creed, and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

With distinguished historian Robert A. Divine

Lampasas boasts the biggest spur in Texas.
Two days later I had the pleasure of participating in another patriotic opening ritual. I was in Lampasas on Monday evening, April 4, for a meeting of the Oran Milo Roberts Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. My sister, Judy O’Neal Smith, and her husband John moved to Lampasas more than 12 years ago, and Judy joined the DRT chapter. Lampasas is our mother’s home town, and during the 1960s I spent three years as a coach and language arts teacher at Lampasas Junior High. Since Judy’s move to Lampasas I’ve provided the DRT chapter a number of programs, at regular meetings and at public occasions they have hosted, such as Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day, and the reopening of the historic court house. At every event, large or small, the DRT chapter chaplain opened with an invocation, followed by pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags.
My sister Judy is standing right of center.

My presentation was about Margaret Houston, along with Sam’s other wives and miscellaneous romances, and the DRT ladies enjoyed Sam Houston’s soap opera. But at the end I reflected to them upon the recent DAR opening ritual, as well as the similar activities earlier in the DRT evening. I pointed out the great number of patriotic rituals I’ve witnessed with various groups during my years as State Historian, and I expressed that it is reassuring to realize how many Texans across the Lone Star State regularly act to reinforce our traditions and history.

With chapter president Carol Wright and Judy.
The next day I drove into West Texas for photo stops at Fort Lancaster and Fort Stockton. As usual there were strong winds, and on this day I was especially moved at the sight of the large flags fluttering above the historic parade grounds.   
Old Glory flying proudly above Fort Lancaster's
old parade ground (the next day).

1 comment:

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