Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ideal Venues for Chisum Programs

On a lovely afternoon in early April the Panola County Retired Teachers Association met at the ranch of Gene and Brenda Giles. Gene and Brenda were Panola College students in my classes during the 1970s, and they later married and made their home in Carthage, raising two beautiful daughters. Gene has enjoyed a successful career as a banker, while Brenda became a master teacher. She long taught Gifted and Talented classes, specializing in social studies.
With Gene and Brenda Giles

When she asked me to present the April program for the Retired Teachers, we decided that I would talk about cattle king John Chisum (an East Texan, raised and buried in Paris) at the Giles Ranch. The ranch was Gene's boyhood home, and the house has been handsomely renovated in recent years. Brenda decorated their country place in Texana. For our ranching program she planned a menu that included jerky and "trail" mix.

Under the pergola

I began teaching at Panola College in 1970, so I knew virtually everyone in the Panola County Retired Teachers group. Chairs were set up within a pergola, with pastures in every direction. Western attire was on display, and I could not have asked for a more suitable setting for a program about my most recent book.

The following week I attended the 95th annual meeting of the West Texas Historical Association. I am a past president and fellow of the WTHA, and I've always enjoyed the historical interests of the membership. For this meeting I became part of a session in which WTHA Executive Director Tai Kreidler spoke on rancher John Hittson, David Murrah delivered a program on legendary cattleman C.C. Slaughter, and I made a presentation on Chisum. Our presider was Debbie Liles, a leading researcher/author on the range cattle industry.

WTHA Executive Director Tai Kreidler
and Associate Executive Director Lynn Whitfield
Eggemeyer's General Store, where I signed copies of my book. Down the street, I also signed books at the famous Cactus Book Shop.

Our meeting was held at the First Methodist Church
in Downtown San Angelo
The historic Cactus Hotel stands just behind the First Methodist Church,    and our Friday night banquet was held on the top floor.

Shortly after arriving in San Angelo, I was greeted by Tumbleweed Smith, who drove over from Big Spring to record an interview for his radio show.

The WTHA meeting was held in San Angelo. In the 1860s Chisum moved his open range operation from Denton and Tarrant counties to Coleman and Concho counties, so I got to present a program at a location where Jinglebob cattle once had roamed. Indeed, our session, "Revisiting Three 'Boss' Cattlemen of West Texas," attracted a large crowd. In all, more than 150 West Texans attended the meeting, and they were rewarded with numerous informative sessions.
Scott Sosebee, Executive Director of the East Texas Historical Association was raised in San Angelo and happily provided a program for the WTHA

The vendors' tables proved of great interest to attendees.

 On Friday evening WTHA President Glen Sample Ely hosted a reception and banquet in the historic Cactus Hotel in downtown San Angelo. The catered dinner and the program were excellent, and we had a splendid view from the 15th floor. At the Awards Luncheon on Saturday, two new Fellows were announced to the crowd: Fredonia Pachal and Tom Alexander. A new slate of officers was approved, headed by Jean Stuntz of West Texas State University. We will be on the WTSU campus next April, as the WTHA will meet in Canyon.
Luncheon crowd on Saturday
President Glen Sample Ely delivering the closing address
at the Saturday luncheon.


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