Monica Hightower, the lovely and highly efficient boss wrangler of the Symposium, invited the State Historian to provide a program for the fifth consecutive year. She wanted me to continue the theme of Western outlawry which has attracted large audiences during these five years, and I developed "Cow Country Outlaws." Of course, most Cow Country Outlaws were rustlers, and I began the presentation by tracing the Regulator (later Vigilante) movement in America back to the colonial period. By the time open range ranching in the Old West began, rustlers preyed on the livestock. I detailed the methods of theft, as well as the violent retaliation by cattlemen (lynching, lynching, lynching!).
|With Monica Hightower, Boss Wrangler of the Cowboy Symposium|
Alvin Davis, the Founding Father of the Cowboy Symposium, attended my first presentation shortly after the Friday lunch event celebrated his 90th birthday. I acknowledged Alvin in front of the large crowd that had gathered to hear about Cow Country Outlaws, and the audience responded with an enthusiastic round of applause. Alvin's charming wife announced that she had brought the remaining portions of Alvin's birthday cake, which we all enjoyed.
I presented "Cow Country Outlaws" on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. Also on Friday I emceed a writer's panel. The other author/presenters were Karen Fitzjerrell and Nathan Dahlstrom. The three of us have worked together before, and our hour passed rapidly.
|Author Panel: State Historian, Karen Fitzjerell and Nathan Dahlstrom|
|Two recent former presidents of the West Texas Historical Association,|
the State Historian and Marisue Potts
|Part of the Friday audience|
On my way to Lubbock from my home in Carthage I experienced several historic sites. I departed Carthage on Wednesday so that I could do some research in Midland's Haley Library and Museum. The Haley Library and Museum features the immense research collections of legendary rancher and author J. Evetts Haley. About 20 years ago I visited the Haley Library in search of material about Pink Higgins, and I found excellent sources. On last Thursday I was aided by museum director Pat McDaniel, who assembled a vast array of materials for me to examine for my biographical project about cattle king John Chisum.
It was a long drive from Carthage to West Texas, so on the first night of the trip I stayed in Stanton, which is less than 20 miles from Midland. Fortunately I arrived in time for a visit to the Martin County Museum in Stanton. The museum director, Ruthie Billett, welcomed the State Historian and pointed out all kinds of historical treasures that are on exhibit in this fine museum.
|Martin County Historical Museum Director Ruthie Billett|
|Statue of Dan Blocker|
On Friday morning, before going to Lubbock's civic center, I visited the Ranch Heritage Center Museum. I'm a member of the Ranch Heritage Association, and I recently published an article on Shanghai Pierce in the RHC publication, the Ranch Record. I had learned that there was a new exhibit on cattle rustling, which I wanted to visit. before delivering my program on "Cow Country Outlaws." While there I visited the gift shop, where I had the pleasure of autographing several of my books on display. And before leaving I could not resist walking through the superb collection of ranch buildings that have been assembled outside. Touring the Ranch Heritage Center Museum is perfect prep for attending the National Cowboy Symposium.
|The Ranch Heritage Center longhorn herd|
|1838 Pioneer cabin|
|JAs Water Tank|