~The West Texas Historical Association ~
Latest WTHA News
Welcome to the West Texas Historical Association Web page. Please feel free to browse our site and get to know us. Our executive and editorial offices are located at Texas Tech University.
Last year's meeting was held in Amarillo. We extend our heartfelt Thanks to all those who participated in our 2015 meeting, to the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Bureau for all their help planning this wonderful meeting, to Amarillo College and its former president, Paul Matney, for the use of Dutton Hall and to your gracious staff who helped with IT and room arrangements, and to Center City of Amarillo Inc. for hosting our presidential reception at the historic Bivins House. We would especially like to thank Gary and Annette Nall for all their help with local arrangements in Amarillo, including arranging for our Friday night dinner to take place in the lovely loft area of the Christian Life Center of the Polk Street Methodist Church. Friday night banquet speaker Bill Neal gave a humorous and well received presentation on "Courtroom Gladiators of Yesteryear: Tales of Those Audacious Frontier Lawyers." At Saturday's Business Luncheon incoming President Diana Hinton introduced Bill O'Neal, our outgoing president, who then charmed the audience with yet another great speech on "West Texas: Laboratory and Playground for Historians."
Bill O'Neal and his lovely wife, Karon, have once again written up a detailed recap of our annual meeting in his blog, Lone Star Historian 2, along with numerous images of the presenters and attendees. The photo to the right is by the O'Neals. Congratulations to our newly inducted Fellows for 2015: Suzanne Campbell, Sylvia Mahoney, and J. Travis Roberts Jr.
This year we will be in Abilene, Texas, from April 8-9, 2016. We hope you will join us for another great meeting there! A preliminary list of papers to be presented is now available. Also, the schedule overview, registration form, and description of the 3 tours days [PDF file] are now available as well.
A big heartfelt "Thank You" to Glen Ely for funding a 2016 R. C. Crane Heritage Service Award and a 2016 Student Scholarship Award.
We are seeking donations of items for a raffle for next year's conference. The money raised from the raffle will go towards funding the R. C. Crane Excellence in Heritage Award. Items sought include such things as shirts and caps (unused), books, mugs, history related posters, stuffed animals (new), gift cards, gift baskets, and other gift type items that would appeal to a potential raffle buyer. Does your organization have any of these types of give away items? We'd sure love to have them for the raffle. Contact Lynn Whitfield for more information or to make a donation.
A calendar of upcoming events [2016-2017 meetings, workshops, and links to related organizations and societies] is available for your convenience. If you have events you would like added to our calendar, please email us.
The WTHA student scholarship award applications are due by April 20, 2016.
The Spring 2015 issue of the Cyclone gives a recap of the West Texas Trails Meeting in Quitaque as well as an overview of our upcoming annual meeting in Amarillo.
Upcoming events in 2015-2016:
February 10-13 - Southwest Popular and American Culture Association’s Annual Conference in Albuquerque, Texas.
February 18-20 - East Texas Historical Association spring meeting in Beaumont, Texas.
February 26-27 - Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas.
March 3-5 - Texas State Historical Association Annual Meeting in Irving, Texas.
April 1-3 - Texas Folklore Society Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.
April 8-9 - WTHA Annual meeting in Abilene, Texas. A preliminary program listing of some of the papers that will be presented is now available for viewing. A complete program will be posted at a later date once session times and dates have been worked out.
Our Members in the field:
On our On the Road pages we offer stories and photographs from the travels of our members to various part of the great state of Texas including:
Congratulations to Alvin R. Lynn! His book, Kit Carson and the First Battle of Adobe Walls, is the 2015 winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award.
Those attending this year's Frontier Days at Caprock Canyon State Park in Jerry Leatherman, Henry Crawford, and Marisue Potts. Ada Lester, pictured right, was promoting her upcoming Fort Elliott Buffalo Solder commemoration event set for June 14th.
Judge Vernon H. Cooks gave WTHA member Holle Humphries a tour of the refurbished courthouse of Miami. What a little gem of a building.
Tai Kreidler, Holle Humphries and Bill Neal recently the Downtown Medicine Mound Museum in Quanah, Texas. The Downtown Medicine Mound Preservation Group holds fundraising events in order to sustain the museum.
Tai Kreidler and Monte Monroe also visited with folks at the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and the State Line Tribune to look over some of the collections available at these institutions.
Several members of WTHA attended the Quanah Parker Trail Giant Arrow installation on July 12, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at the entrance way gate to the American Museum of Agriculture, located at 1501 Canyon Lake Drive in Lubbock, Texas. Those in attendance included Delores Moser, Robert Hall, Lynn Whitfield, Randy Vance, Emerson Tucker, Sally Murray, Monte Monroe, Holle Humphries, and Tai Kreidler. Henry Crawford, Randy Vance, and Tai Kreidler help erect the arrow before pouring in the concrete and water needed to stabilize the arrow. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal ran a story with additional photographs under the headline "Arrows Still Falling in Comanche Battle with Buffalo Hunters.
The arrow installation in Abnerathy took place on July 4th in Hale County. More images of the installation are available here, as well as images from the arrow installations at Blanco Canyon, Borger, Channing, Lubbock, Plains, Rocky Ford, Spur, Sudan, and Swisher.
News from the Membership
The Recent Publications and Presentations page spotlights WTHA members activities from 2006-present. In the Bookstore section, you can view a listing of, as well as order copies of, books published by our membership.
Congrats to Patrick Dearen. On March 28th his book The Big Drift received the Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year award from the Academy of Western Artists.
We also received news that Teresa Roberts Harkey, a WTHA Life Member, was one of three nominees for the outstanding Texas Librarian award from the Texas Library Association. Congratulations to Teresa and to her proud father, Travis Roberts who serves on the WTHA board.
WTHA sends our condolences to the family of Ralph Brock. Ralph was a member of WTHA and the Westerners Corral in Lubbock.
Jean Stuntz participated in the "Telling Our Stories in Print: A Roundtable with Local Books, Authors, and Publishers" session during the Texas Plains Trail Region's Tourism & Preservation Roundup 2014. Barbara Brannon and Tai Kreidler were also panelists for the session titled "Roundup of Projects in the Texas Plains Trail Region." The main speaker was Chet Garner from PBS's Day Tripper program. Garner allowed members of the audience to hold his Emmy award. Pictured to the right is Dr. Stuntz with the award.Congratulations go out to Sherry Robinson for her book, "I Fought a Good Fight: A Hisotry of the Lipan Apaches," which received the 2014 Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico.
Bill O'Neal's speaker series "Gunfighterology" was recently featured by KLTV. A heavily published scholar, Bill is only the third person to hold the title of State Historian of Texas. Read the article here.
Sponsored by the Jones County Historical Commission, Cheryl Lewis gave a presentation on February 24th on Rath City (1876), Buffalo Hunters, Double Mountain, and the history of Jones and Stonewall Counties at the Jenkins Conference Center of the Anson Public Library.
In October, Bill Neal (pictured to the right) gave a talk as part of the book signing event at the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Museum in Quanah, Texas. Afterwards, Bill O'Neal, the Texas State Historian, gave a presentation and then presented the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library with 38 reels of microfilm from the Quanah Tribune-Chief dated from 1889-1946. Bill Neal, Tai Kreidler and Bill O'Neal (pictured to the left) were also featured in the Vernon Record newspaper on October 20, 2013.
On the Road with WTHA has photographs and news from our membership's latest travels to promote the organization. The image to the right is from the Friday evening banquet for the opening of the Charles Goodnight Historic House and the Visitor's Center.
John McCullough stands by the newly installed Breedlove Airport marker. THC's William McWhorter attended the event on June 6, 2013, at E. 50th Street in Lubbock Texas, as part of Lubbock's D-Day celebration.
Authors Chuck Parsons and Norm Brown discussed their research and sign copies of “A Lawless Breed,” the story of John Wesley Hardin, Texas Reconstruction, and violence in the Wild West on June 13, 2013, at Ruby Lane Books & Gallery on 127 E. Main in Post, Texas. Published by UNT Press as part of the A. C. Greene Series, the book presents newly found information about Hardin & his family including a chapter on his brother, Jeff Hardin, who lived in the Clairemont area and caused some trouble in Scurry County.
Several WTHA members presented papers in a sponsored session at the April 18-20th meeting of the Historical Society of New Mexico in Las Cruces, NM. WTHA session participants include Troy Ainsworth (chair), WTHA President J. Tillapaugh, Marisue Potts, and Robert Hall. Other WTHA members on the HSNM program included Jack Becker, Bruce Glasrud, Harry Hewitt, Cameron Saffell, and George Cooper. Next year’s meeting will be held in Las Vegas, NM. WTHA members who are interested in presenting at next year’s HSNM meeting should contact WTHA offices.
This year's meeting in Odessa has successfully concluded. Thanks go to all those who participated in our 2014 meeting, to the Odessa Convention and Visitors Bureau for all their help planning this wonderful meeting, and to the Petroleum Museum for hosting us for our Friday night dinner. Our incoming President, Bill O'Neal, regaled us with hilarious stories of his on the road adventures as the State Historian for Texas while our outgoing President, J. Tillapaugh, announced his ongoing dedication to preserving the history of the Permian Basin area by establishing an endowment. Both are pictured to the left.
Donald W. Whisenhunt, professor of history emeritus from Western Washington University, has a new book out titled "A Study of Utopian Movements and Ideas in the Great Depression: Dreamers, Believers, and Madmen."
Joe Specht spoke on the topic of Oil Field Songs at Buffalo Gap Historic Village on March 9, 2013.
WTHA sends our condolences to the family of Hubert Holiday Strom. Hubert was a long-time member of WTHA and served on our board.
Paul Carlson and Jack Becker's book, "Georgia O'Keefe: The Art of Desolation," was featured in a March 2012 issue of Texas Tech Monthly.
WTHA sends its condolences to the family of Ross McSwain. Author of the weekly "Out Yonder" column in the San Angelo Standard-Times for over 30 years, McSwain also wrote nonfiction books and was a well respected historian. The newspaper ran the article "Ross McSwain Remembered" on November 5, 2012.
Books by three of our members were recently reviewed in local newspapers. Patrick Dearen's "To Hell or the Pecos" was featured in the October 22nd issue of the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Bill O'Neal's "The Johnson-Sims Feud: Romeo and Juliet, West Texas Style," a tale about a feud between ranching families right before the Civil War was featured in the October 28th issue of the Brazosport Facts. Peter R. Rose's book "The Reckoning: the Triumph on the Texas Outlaw Frontier" was featured in Ross McSwain's October 6th article in the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Scott White's latest book, "Getting By in Hard Time: Letters from the Pitchfork Ranch,"gives a rare view on the running of the Pitchfork Ranch in the late 1930s during a time of economic depressions and drought. His other latest publication, Viento, centers around interviews conducted about ranching and wind energy.
Older news on WTHA members can be found here.
Who Are We?
The West Texas Historical Association has always been an organization committed to people who are interested in the history of West Texas. Because of our open-membership policy our association has been filled by a healthy cross-section of lay and professional historians. These include teachers, students, business people, farmers, ranchers, and engineers who have contributed to the growth of the organization. In addition, our membership has had solid institutional support from colleges, universities, libraries, museums, county historical groups, and corporations throughout the region and across the nation.
Pictured to the right: Scene from the WTHA Saturday business meeting, 2000.
Our Association is active. Each year we hold a conference in a West Texas city. We visit, present papers, and exchange ideas and information. We publish a selection of papers in our annual Yearbook. Also, twice a year, we put out a newsletter highlighting people, places, and events throughout West Texas. In addition, the Association works cooperatively with other historical groups such as the East Texas Historical Association and the Texas Oral History Association.
Pictured left: Former president Darlene Bellinghausen presiding over a session at the Midland meeting.
In addition, the WTHA promotes research and writing by giving cash awards. These include prizes for the best Year Book article, the best nonfiction and best fiction books on West Texas, and the best student article. The Association also provides research funds on a competitive basis.
Please take time to look us over. Contact us if you would like to attend our annual meeting, present a paper, preside over one of the sessions, and submit one of your articles or books for an award. If you are from West Texas, or if in your heart you are a West Texan, we encourage you to become a member. Our dues are inexpensive. Our journal is well-known, and highly regarded. Our membership is international. And, the hospitality is just right.
Tai Kreidler, Executive
A Brief History
The West Texas Historical Association was organized in 1924 in Abilene at Simmons College (as Hardin-Simmons University was then called). In 1996 the WTHA moved its editorial offices to Lubbock and Texas Tech University, and in 1998 it moved its executive offices there as well. Since 1924 the association has held an annual meeting and published its Yearbook. Officers and board members of the organization are all dedicated volunteers.
Throughout its long and distinguished history, the WTHA has encompassed a wide range of both professional and non-professional historians-- from lawyers and physicians to ranchers, business people, and teachers. Although their interests vary, members share a common desire to preserve the rich history of the West Texas region for present and future generations.
Pictured right: The book dealers tables and silent auction at the 2000 Midland meeting.
The R. C. Crane Excellence in Heritage Award
The Student Scholarship Award
ANNUAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION CONFERENCE SUMMARIES (includes photos and Session information)
Updated on 2-11-16
Travis Roberts Jr. and Clint Chambers attended the WTHA session at the Center for Big Bend Studies meeting, 2010.
At the Frontier Texas Museum, some members take a photo op by a buffalo sculpture. Pictured are H. Allen Anderson, Patricia Clark, ?, Robert Hall, Cheryl Lewis and Travis Roberts Jr.
Lewis Earl and friends.
PHOTOS FROM OUR MEMBERSHIP
Texas Parks & Wildlife ranger Carl Hopper with Whitey the Longhorn, taken by Holle Humphries for the Texas Plains Trail.
A picturesque view of the bridge over White Woman Creek near Darrouzett, Texas, as captured by Bob Burton.
Colorful cactus plants thriving in Palo Duro Canyon is photographed by Robin Clark.
Who says there's no wildlife in suburbia? Holle Humphries shot this photo of a wild turkey on the garage roof of a neighbor's house in the Tech Terrace subdivision of Lubbock, Texas.