Beginning on Tuesday, March 20, I had the pleasure of delivering history programs to four diverse groups in three communities in four days, along with two media events. On Tuesday afternoon I drove from Carthage to Center for the monthly meeting of the Shelby County Historical Society. In 1835 my great-great-grandparents, Jonathan and Jinsy Bittick, migrated with their children from Tennessee to Texas, where they were among the first settlers of future Shelby County. When I wrote a book about the Regulator-Moderator War of Old East Texas, the Shelby County Museum provided me with a great deal of primary material and photos. Through the years I've offered a number programs to the Shelby County Historical Society at their museum, and I've developed many friendships with their members.
|At the Shelby County Museum in Center|
On Tuesday afternoon a crowd gathered which included several former students from my Panola College classes. Local radio and newspaper reporters also were in attendance. I explained that through happy coincidence, my two most recent books had just been published almost simultaneously. I gave a quick rundown of Frontier Forts of Texas, a publication of Arcadia Press, before presenting a longer description of John Chisum, Frontier Cattle King, published by Eakin Press through the Wild Horse Media Group of Fort Worth. It was my first program on either of these books, and I received welcome assurance that the presentation was entertaining and of interest. Attendees bought a large number of books, and my confidence level improved.
|Several former students of mine were in the audience.|
I started Thursday morning at the Carthage studios of KGAS Radio, where I was interviewed on Panola Pride by owner-manager Jerry Hanszen. Panola Pride is a daily program which runs from 8:30 until 9:00. Jerry spoke to me about my two new books, as well as my public lecture that evening at the Longview University Center, as well as other upcoming events.
|With Jerry Hanszen, who interviewed me on KGAS Radio|
|After lunch at First Baptist Church in Longview|
|Addressing the Senior lunch crowd at FBC Longview|
During the afternoon I went across town to the Longview University Center, which is a satellite campus of the University of Texas at Tyler. The Director of the LUC is Dr. Van Patterson, a former colleague at Panola College. After assuming the controls at the LUC, Van invited me to initiate a lecture series at his institution. Van is an industrious publicist, and we had an excellent crowd. Each subsequent spring Van continued to bring the State Historian to his campus. This year was my fifth appearance at the LUC, and I talked about my two new books to an audience that included a growing number of "regulars" at what has become an annual event.
|That evening at the Longview University Center, |
demonstrating a Jinglebob spur trinket
|Part of the LUC audience|
The next morning I drove to the Marshall Public Library for the opening ceremony of a Smithsonian traveling exhibit, "Hometown Teams." This sports exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution is sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association, and the acting director of the TSHA, Steve Cure, was on hand to introduce the exhibit to the standing-room-only crowd. Steve pointed out that the TSHA had arranged for the exhibit to be displayed during the next several months in seven communities across Texas, and that Marshall was the inaugural city. The event had been widely publicized, and Marshall responded with a major turnout.
|The next morning I was at the Marshall Public Library|
|Steve Cure of the Texas State Historical Association|
|Helping to cut the ribbon to the Smithsonian exhibit|
For three decades Marshall supported a professional baseball team in the Class C East Texas League. I researched and wrote about the East Texas League years ago, during the period when I wrote a book about the centennial history of the Texas League. The East Texas League amassed a rich history until it disbanded, along with numerous other minor leagues, following the 1950 season. For my program I brought a great many items of baseball memorabilia, and the presentation turned out to be lively and filled with audience laughter. Afterward we staged a ribbon-cutting, and still later I had a grand time talking and posing for photos with former students and both old and new friends.
|With students at the Library|
|Part of the traveling exhibit|
A busy week concluded Saturday afternoon at one o'clock with a podcast from Los Angeles. Daniel J. Glenn interviewed me over the phone for more than an hour. The subject of the podcast was the Wild West, and my name had been given to Daniel by the Wild West History Association, of which I am a charter member. Daniel is a personable and enthusiastic interviewer, and we spent an hour-plus talking about gunfighters, our favorite Western movies, and a lineup of lethal Old West shootists which included Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, John Wesley Hardin, Killin' Jim Miller, Doc Holliday, and Henry Plummer. A fun ending to a fun week during Texas History Month!
|Daniel J. Glenn, personable podcast master from Los Angeles|