Opinions

Fri
20
Apr

RANGERS AND INDIANS UNITE TO FIGHT COMANCHES

by Bartee Haile

Texas Rangers and Indian allies in war paint crossed the Red River on Apr. 24, 1858 in search of a common enemy — the Comanches.

The key to Hardin Runnels’ surprising upset of Sam Houston in the election of 1857 was his belligerent attitude toward the North and the Indians. While the new governor could not declare war on the Yankees, he was free to turn Rip Ford loose on the Comanches.

 

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Fri
20
Apr

The Day The Ranch Changed Hands

I first met the crew in the bunkhouse the day that we bought the 4 D’s.

I’d come in that night after supper and found’em all takin’ their ease.

My job was to count all the cattle and stay till the transfer was done.

I offered my hand to the cowboys and asked how the outfit was run.

“My name is Man’well Palamino. Vaquero. I came here to ride.

 

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Fri
13
Apr

MUTINY ON THE ROAD TO SAN JACINTO

By Bartee Haile

Hearing his commander-in-chief had decided to stand and fight, an insubordinate captain rejoined the Texas Army on Apr. 14, 1836 in time for the Battle of San Jacinto. When Travis’ final appeal reached the independence convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos on Mar. 5, 1836, Sam Houston quickly excused himself. He headed for Gonzales “to collect all the armed forces that could be found” and to march to the Alamo according to his “Review of the San Jacinto Campaign” written in 1845.

Fri
13
Apr

THE #1 FAN OF THE ANDREWS MUSTANGS

Leland Hamilton of Andrews watches the Andrews Mustangs practice, no matter what the sport. It seems he’s always on the sidelines, urging the young athletes to do their best. He is at the practices from start to finish.

“I go to volleyball practice, basketball practice, softball, baseball, and I watch track,” says Leland. “Now golf, I’m out at the course some, but I can’t be everywhere. I start going to football practices every August and stay with them ‘til the end of the season. Summer’s a pretty dull time for me ‘cause there’s no practice to go to.”

Coaches appreciate Mr. Hamilton’s giving the kids encouragement. He’s been doing it so long that when the high school publishes its annual sports magazine it features a full-page color picture of him talking to players or coaches. One year the publication was dedicated to him. I visited with him during baseball season.

 

Fri
06
Apr

CLIFF AND NANCY RICHEY, TENNIS’ SHINING SIBLING STARS

By Bartee Haile

A single point away from losing a Madison Square Garden grudge match on Apr. 5, 1968, the female half of tennis’ best ever sister-brother team mounted one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport.

The story of Nancy and Cliff Richey starts with their father George. Growing up in San Angelo during the Depression, his own dad groomed him for the boxing ring until his mother put her foot down. The athletic boy next showed promise on the baseball diamond before hurting his pitching arm. Searching for a sport in which he could excel, George picked tennis, easily the least popular pastime in 1930’s West Texas. He practiced from daylight to dark on the only private court in town, which happened to be in a neighbor’s backyard, and taught himself to play with his healthy left arm.

 

Fri
06
Apr

A LOVE STORY

By Baxter Black

This is a love story.

In a small ranching community in the west there lived a man, his wife and four children. They were no different than their neighbors, they ran cows, built fence and did their part to keep their little town alive.

The children attended the local school. Students numbered less than a hundred. But the remoteness of the area instilled a strong interdependence among the ranchers, families and townies.

 

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Fri
30
Mar

FITTING END FOR WEST TEXAS GUNFIGHTER

By Bartee Haile

The surprising thing about the Apr. 3, 1902 death of Barney Riggs was not the violent nature of his demise but that the West Texas gunfighter managed to live so long.

There is no telling how many notches Riggs had on his six-gun before moving to Arizona in the early 1880’s. Not that he was a professional killer, but just an amateur with a fast draw and a very bad temper.

The fact that Riggs somehow seemed to have “reasonable doubt” on his side kept him out of jail until Sep. 29, 1886. That was the day he shot a friend in the head for fooling around with his unfaithful wife. This time there was no doubt as to Riggs’ guilt, and the judge saw no reason for leniency. The Texan started serving a life sentence for murder on New Year’s Eve 1886 in the notorious Territorial Prison at Yuma.

 

Fri
30
Mar

OL’ BUDDY

Ernie’s an artist. He’s a rawhide man. He plaits California vaquero style headstalls, romals, reins, reatas and other fancy stuff. When you ride with Ernie you always feel like yer in a parade.

But like any artist who is self-unemployed, he has plenty of time to kill. He told me he was settin’ in the sale barn one mornin’ visitin’ with the geezers and watchin’ Noah’s Ark run through the ring. They ran the assorted single lambs, odd hogs, box of baby chicks and day-old Holstein calves through and had moved on to the beef cows and calves.

Ernie kept his eye on E.B., the local order buyer, to learn some tricks of the trade. E.B. sorted through the lots of killer cows, gummer pairs and shiny lookin’ weaners. Ernie sat on his hands. E.B. noticed Ernie’s lack of participation. In came a shaggy lookin’ something-or-other cross.

 

Fri
23
Mar

A POX ON THIS COLUMN

by Baxter Black

A man in Wahoo, Nebraska said he ate all the eggs he could. He felt it was his contribution to beef sales; every egg he ate was one less chicken!

People take chickens personally. My brother Bob had a rooster named Oscar. They hated each other! Lots of kids like Big Bird on Sesame Street. The state birds of Rhode Island and Delaware are both chickens; one red, one blue. Oklahoma has two cities named after the humble poult: Chickkasha and Henryetta. Toledo had a minor league baseball team called the Mud Hens.

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Fri
23
Mar

This Week In Texas History

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MEXICO’S LINCOLN

by Bartee Haile

On Mar. 21, 1872, Benito Juarez suffered the first of three heart attacks that five months later brought down the curtain on the amazing life of the “Lincoln of Mexico.” As a Zapotec Indian born in the first decade of the nineteenth century, Juarez’s birthright was poverty, oppression, ignorance and disease. Orphaned at the age of three, he was taken in by an uncle and taught to be a shepherd. But the boy wanted to do more with his life than herd sheep and goats. He desired an education, but the closest schools were on the other side of the mountains. So on a cold winter day in 1818, the 12 year old walked the 41 miles to the state capital of Oaxaca.

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