|With granddaughter Jessie Martinez and daughter Lynn Martinez|
I was invited to present this program several months ago by Debi Carl, Tour Director of the Sid Richardson Museum of Western Art and a member of the North Fort Worth Historical Society. I became acquainted with Debi when I brought students from my Traveling Texas History Classes to the Sid Richardson Museum. On one occasion Debi reciprocated to our visits, bringing an excellent program to the campus of Panola College. Debi asked me to make a presentation on “Texas Gunfighting” to the Stockyards Museum for meeting of the NFWHS. The Stockyards Museum is located in the historic Livestock Exchange Building, which is next door to the Coliseum in the Stockyards District.
Karon and I were delighted at the opportunity to enjoy another visit to the Stockyards. We soon enlisted our oldest daughter, Lynn Martinez, and one of her daughters, Jessie, to join our Stockyards outing. I was dressed in Western attire to match the program, while Karon, Lynn, and Jessie donned boots and sharp Western outfits to match the Stockyards. Lynn and her family live in Mansfield and are not strangers to the Stockyards District. They picked a highly atmospheric restaurant for us, and we enjoyed a terrific meal. Afterward we walked to the Livestock Exchange Building. An afternoon circus was staged at the Coliseum, and as the crowd exited we soon encountered another daughter/sister, Berri Gormley, and her three little children. Prior to the circus the children had seen the daily longhorn cattle drive through the Stockyards District, and the children even mounted a longhorn. We had great fun during our unplanned visit with Berri and our youngest grandkids.
Inside the Livestock Exchange chairs were set up in the broad hallway just outside the Stockyards Museum. Museum Director Teresa Burleson took charge of arrangements, which also included a speaker’s stand with microphone and a table for my program props. A large crowd included many Fort Worth friends, and the audience and I had a fine time with the gunfighter program. Frontier Fort Worth was a noted gunfighter town, boasting one of the West’s largest and rowdiest red-light districts, the notorious “Hell’s Half-Acre.” The West’s premier assassin, “Killin’ Jim” Miller, operated out of Fort Worth. Two top-tier shootists, gambler Luke Short and two-gun “Longhair Jim” Courtright, shot it out on Main Street in 1887, with fatal consequences for Courtright. Miller, Short, and Courtright are buried in Fort Worth’s Oakwood Cemetery. It was invigorating to talk about gunfighters in a Western setting at an old-time gunfighter town.
|The Menard Public Library|
The 2016 fundraiser was held at Menard’s country club, which is adjacent to the old presidio. I arrived about eleven o’clock, and was greeted by Caroline and her friends. The large round tables were beautifully decorated in Texana – at the table where I was seated the centerpiece was a Winchester rifle. The lunch buffet prepared by the ladies was superb, and the crowd was congenial. It was a pleasure to visit with a room full of kindred spirits, and they responded enthusiastically to my program. It was one of the most enjoyable events of my four years as State Historian.
|Introduction by Caroline Runge|
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