This past week concluded my 6 - year tenure as State Historian of Texas. On Tuesday afternoon, September 18, I was in Center to present a program on "East Texas During World War I" for the Shelby County Historical Society. The Society recently received a collection of World War I uniforms, along with a few weapons and other artifacts, and they wanted an appropriate program for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. It was a pleasure for me to help out. I came to Panola College in 1970, and during the spring semesters I required my students to interview someone, preferably a relative, on modern historical events, such as the Great Depression or World War II. When I lectured on these subjects during the spring term the students thus would have a personal connection. I was quite pleased that for a few years I received interviews from various grandparents or great-grandparents who were World War I veterans. I had kept all of the interviews on file, and I was able to find several that were from Shelby County citizens. I also brought World War I weapons from my personal collection, and we had a most satisfactory meeting at the Shelby County Historical Museum.
| Demonstrating a replica of a 1911 .45 automatic pistol and holster |
Two different cameramen recorded my presentation for the Shelby County Historical Society
The following Saturday I drove to New Boston to present a public address at the new "3 Bs" Museum - New Boston, Old Boston, Boston. The meeting was scheduled for eleven o'clock, and I arrived early enough to receive a tour from Curator Jane Hanna and Kathy Peacock, who had issued my invitation. The large, handsome building was erected in downtown New Boston, and it is an impressive two-story structure that doubles as a Visitor Center and Museum. The museum collection of venerable photos and artifacts is excellent, and well worth a stop.
|The new 3 Bs Museum is a handsome 2-story structure which now dominates downtown New Boston |
|With Jane Hanna, curator of the 3 Bs Museum|
|Kathy Peacock invited me to the 3 Bs Museum, and she provided my introduction|
I was introduced to members of the Bowie County Historical Commission and to numerous other area history enthusiasts. We met upstairs, where I presented a program on Margaret Houston and Sam's other wives and sweethearts. Sam Houston entered Texas in 1832, crossing the Red River not far to the west, riding south from Fort Towson. Therefore there is considerable local interest in Houston, and the audience seemed quite entertained by the story of his various romances. Afterward I was treated to lunch at a fine restaurant across the street, and we were joined by a number of the program attendees.
|Showing the audience an image of Margaret Houston |
|Jim and Dora Barling are old friends from New Boston. Jim was of great help with my book on The Johnson County War |
| At lunch with a number of attendees at a downtown restaurant across the street from the museum|
On Tuesday evening, September 25, I was in Tyler for a meeting of the local Sons of American Revolution chapter. Tyler has active DRT, SRT, DAR, SAR, and SCV chapters, and it has been my pleasure to provide programs for each of these organizations during the past 6 years. Indeed, several of these history-minded individuals belong to two or three of these chapters, and it has always been rewarding to meet with them
For this occasion I was invited by Dave McLeod, and there was an excellent crowd. I was joined by my brother, Mike O'Neal, who drove over from his business in Denton. Mike was present on August 22, 2012, when I was sworn into office by Gov. Rick Perry, and he said he wanted to be present at my last official event as State Historian. I was pleased and touched. I spoke on what now is the increasingly "Missing Element from Our Founding Fathers, Our Founding Documents, and Our Founding Period," and since I was still serving as State Historian for a little while longer, I slipped in a few points about Texas.
|Dave McLeod, who issued my invitation to speak to Tyler's SAR chapter, provided a generous introduction for me |
|My brother, Mike O'Neal, attended my Investiture in Austin 6 years ago, and he drove from Denton to be present at my final official activity as State Historian|
|With Mr. and Mrs. John Murphy. John's parents are Foster and Mary Frances Murphy of Tyler, who have generously funded my State Historian travels for the past 6 years. I brought a Texana floral arrangement for Mrs. Murphy, but they were unable to attend, so John volunteered to take it to her.|
|Chapter President Sam Fechenbach and Dave McLeod presented me a certificate acknowledging my presentation to the SAR|
I began posting these blogs in August 2012. I wrote them - in pencil, of course - and my wife Karon provided the blog technology. After a year and about 50 blogs on
lonestarhistorian, Google bought Blogspot and we no longer could add to our site (the original 50 or so blogs may still be read at lonestarhistorian). So we began a new site, lonestarhistorian2, which now contains roughly 250 blogs. Therefore there are about 300 blogs about my State Historian adventures on these two sites. After Karon passed away in 2012, my daughter Dr. Berri O'Neal Gormley very kindly took over the blog tekkie duties, a task which has been assumed in recent weeks by Shay Joines of the Panola College Library. My deepest thanks for blog assistance go to Karon, Berri and Shay - as they well know from my fumbling efforts, without them there would be no blog.
The day after my Tyler appearance, on September 26 in the Senate Chamber, Dr. Monte Monroe was sworn in as the fourth State Historian of Texas. Monte is Archivist at the Southwest Collection on the Texas Tech campus, he frequently teaches history classes on-campus, and he participates actively in historical organizations and activities throughout the Lone Star State. Monte's Investiture was emceed by Kent Hance, former Chancellor of Texas Tech, and he was administered the oath of office by Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos. By Monte's side was his lovely wife, Laura, the new First Lady of Texas History. Monte made appropriate remarks, and he and Laura hosted a reception for more than 80 attendees. Monte has an enthusiastic, outgoing personality and he is a polished speaker. He will be an outstanding State Historian and he will find, as I have, that it is the richest, most enjoyable gig that any Texas history enthusiast could ever embrace.
|Dr. Monte Monroe taking the oath of office as Texas State Historian from Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, while Laura Monroe looks on. |