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Chapter 6. It All Depended on the Teacher

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

Resolved: Texas should be divided into two states.


hen Carl Halsell suggested a debate defending or attacking that idea to the boys who had arrived early one fall morning in 1922 at their country school ground to practice basketball, most of them looked puzzled. Carl knew that the students, who seldom saw a newspaper and had no radios in their homes, would learn at least a few research techniques, as well as gain confidence from having to stand in front of their parents and friends and express opinions, whether they actually believed in their defense or not. When he laid out his plan, however, his pupils looked at each other with skepticism. How could they argue for something they definitely didn’t believe in? To them, boasting that they were citizens of the biggest state in the

Union set them apart from Yankees, Arkansawyers, and Okies.

Finally, their teacher convinced them that the topic merited their thought. Two of the boys said they would argue the affirmative, even if they didn’t believe it.

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The Largest of the Circus Animals

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc University of North Texas Press PDF

The Largest of the Circus Animals

Nights when the heat in my room has mass and scale, a heft, or I catch a whiff of straw and dung covered with a dabble of cologne,

I know it looms in a corner with a boy who can smile at anything. In its stomach is a quiet house: a family in five red rooms— five three-legged chairs, five doors shut, five mouths that never speak of the smell.

I can tell you there are two tusks and a trunk that plays the role of hand, nose, or snorkel, depending on the night. Its eyelids swim over human pupils. The heart of course is many-ventricled, and the chambers beat in three directions at once—its three muscles working at off-intervals so that it appears a frenzied man pushes and pulls from inside. His action feeds the stomach, organ of appetite and the filial scene. The meal— fat with memory—went down the gullet, a long greased slide past the clapboard hideout in the voice box. The heavy meal is indigestible. I have nothing left to hide, my pachyderm, and nothing to make the family (still in their rooms) speak to me.

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“The Wheels of Our Lives”

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

THE WHEELS OF OUR LIVES by Scott Hill Bumgardner

Apparently Gronk, the caveman, was inspired when he observed a round rock roll down a hill. This mystery man’s invention really, well, to use a bad pun, “started the ball rolling.” The wheel revolutionized the world of transportation and machines. It simplified the moving of materials and people with carts, chariots, and wagons. Its use in virtually all machinery, with the coming of the mechanized age, eventually gave us trains, automobiles, and much more. My life has been greatly enriched with not only the use and misuse of automobiles, but with the stories of my family’s wheeled past.

The value of wheeled transportation really struck home when I discovered the stories of my ancestors’ flight from their home in the “Run Away Scrape” during Texas’ revolt against Mexico’s tyranny. In April of 1836, my fourth great-grandmother, Lucy

Thomson Kerr, was left in charge of the family at Gay Hill near

Brenham. She was confronted with the frightening news that Santa

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Chapter 3. Murdering, Robbing, and Ravishing

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 3

Murdering, Robbing, and Ravishing

By Longley’s scenario, he left Washington County in the spring of 1869 and headed for Arkansas. At some point, as he reached the Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana border area, he said that he fell in with a Tom Johnson, whose family lived in Lafayette County, Arkansas, just east of the Texas state line where Texarkana is located. Johnson was allegedly a “noted horse thief” and a member of the gang of terrorists led by the notorious Cullen Baker. When Longley asked where he might find accommodations that night for himself and his horse, Johnson invited him to his father’s farm.1

Cullen Montgomery Baker was known as the “Swamp Fox of the Sulphur,” leading a band of cutthroats all over northeastern Texas, western Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana. Repeated raids on blacks, on white supporters of the Union, and on Union troops themselves, dealing death and terror, led Union army troops in the area to focus on his gang, in addition to other marauding groups. Allegedly, Baker’s family had been molested in some fashion by blacks, leading Baker to desert the Confederate army in order to seek revenge. Recruiting a band of desperate men, Baker achieved considerable statewide notoriety for his gang’s bloody deeds, leading to the continuing manhunt for him.2

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22. “I’ll Meet You Smoking”

Chuck Parsons and Norman Wayne Brown University of North Texas Press ePub



"Hardin threw his hand on his gun and I grabbed mine and went to shooting.”

John Selman Sr., August 20, 1895

Various authors over the years have attempted to list the kills of John Wesley Hardin. Most have relied on Hardin’s Life exclusively and accept what he wrote as accurate, not raising the question of whether the man Hardin shot was dead or merely wounded. Several of the gunfights in which he participated must be considered “group kills,” in which two or more men participated. Examples include the killing of Cox and Christman, shot to death in an ambush by an unknown number of participants; Charles Webb died from gunfire from Hardin, Jim Taylor and one of the Dixon brothers, three to one, all four shooting. Hardin and Jim Taylor both shot to death Jack Helm. Should Hardin be credited with those kills alone?

Various historians have questioned if Hardin was involved in the killing of Martin M’rose. He certainly was not on that bridge or close to it the night M’rose and Scarborough faced each other, but was Hardin an accessory to the killing? The El Paso Times reported that M’rose “had made several threats that he would kill Hardin.” Since it is not certain that M’rose and Hardin had ever met, we must deduce that the threat was to avenge his honor for Hardin having seduced Beulah M’rose.

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