~ West Texas Historical Association ~

Summary of WTHA Annual Meeting-  Abilene, Texas

The 84th annual meeting was held in Abilene from March 29-31, 2007.

Registration:  Registration began at noon on Friday and was ongoing until 4:30 p.m. The first session began at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and concluded at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Program:  Presented in 18 sessions were 48 papers and included the participation of members of the East Texas Historical Association, the Texas Oral History Association, and the Center for Big Bend Studies.

Facilities:  All sessions and the Saturday luncheon were held at Hardin-Simmons University.

The 2007 Program Committee was made up of the following members:  Tai Kreidler, Kevin Sweeney and Shirley Eoff

The 2007 Local Arrangements Committee was made up of the following members:  Tiffany Fink, B. W. Aston, and Donathan Taylor

 Overview of the Sessions and Events
Thursday's schedule, March 29, 2007
  • Early Bird Reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Sharon’s Barbeque, 849 East Highway 80, in Abilene

Friday's schedule, March 30, 2007

  • Tour of Frontier! Texas in downtown Abilene, from 9:30-11:00 a.m.
  • Registration began at approximately at noon in the Skiles Social Sciences Building, Hardin-Simmons University
  • The Silent Book Auction ran from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Skiles Social Sciences Building

Session 1A entitled, Military Aviation in West Texas, was chaired by Tom Alexander, Kerrville, and included the following papers:

  • "The History of the Dalhart Army Air Field: The Economic and Social Impact, 1942-1946," Randall Montgomery
  • "The Army Air Corps in West Texas: the Effects of Military Base Closures on Local Communities," Kerry Chandler, Texas State University, San Marcos
  • "Marfa Army Air Field," William McWhorter, Texas Historical Commission

Session 1B entitled, Comancheros in the Texas Panhandle, was chaired by Pat Clark, Texas Tech University, and included the following:

  • "Jose Piedad Tofoya:  A Comancher's Life and Times," Frances Levine, Santa Fe
  • "Canadian River Trails and Historical Sites," Alvin Lynn, Amarillo
  • "Environment, Stereotypes, and Eco-Cultural History," Dan Scurlock, Ft. Sumner

Session 1C entitled, Young Historians of Abilene, 5th Grade AISD, was chaired by Rob Fink, Abilene, and was comprised of papers by Young Historian Presenters of the Abilene Independent School District.

Session 2A entitled, Faith At Home and Abroad, was chaired by David Marshall, Texas Tech University, and included the following papers:

  • "Methodist Ministers on the West Texas Frontier," David Murrah, Rockport
  • "Religion in West Texas," Joe Early, Cumberland College, Tennessee
  • "Muddy Boots: Ulmer Bird and the Experience of World War II Combat Chaplains," Shannon Sturm, San Angelo

Session 2B entitled, Highbrow and Lowbrow Reflections of Self & Society Mirrored in West Texas Architecture, Art, and Photography, was chaired by Jim Matthews, San Antonio, and included the following papers:

  • "Civic Cathedrals on the High Plains in the Trans-Pecos and on the Edwards Plateau," Troy Ainsworth, Arlington
  • "High Art vs. Low Art viewed from Your West Texas-bound Automobile," Holle Humphries, Lubbock
  • "Mid-20th Century Lubbock Cityscapes," Jennifer Spurrier, Texas Tech University

Session 2C entitled, Ghosts, Indians, and Water, was chaired by Jack Becker, Texas Tech University, and included the following papers:

  • "Phantom Lights and Ghost Trains: A Sense of Place in West Texas Ghost Stories," Rob Fink, Abilene
  • "Defined by Water: the Callahan Divide and West Central Texas," Dixie Hoover, Abilene
  • "Wichita Historiography: Problems of Identity and Distinctiveness, 1750 to 1860," Earl Elam, Hillsboro

Session 3A entitled, Oil, Music and Dancin' - West Texas Style, was chaired by Curtis Peoples, Texas Tech University, and included the following papers:

  • "Creating Company Culture: Oil Company Camps in the Southwest," Diana Davids Hinton, Midland
  • "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" - Slim Willet's Idiosyncratic Chart-Topper... Lives On," Joe Specht, McMurray University
  • "Music, Dancing, and Freedom: The History of the Lubbock Cotton Club," Ashley Pettiet, Texas Tech University

Session 3B entitled, Protectors of Our Treasures - West Texas History Groups and Associations, was chaired by David Murrah, Rockport, presiding, and included the following papers:

  • "History of Ranger, Texas," Jeane Pruett, Ranger
  • "Spirit of the West," Ted Knorr, Lubbock
  • "Mallet Ranch: What Was, What Is, What the Future Can Be," Christena Stephens

Session 3C entitled, Life on the Wild Side, was chaired by Albert Camp, Texas Tech University, and included the following papers:

  • "Booze, Brawls, and Big Business: The Importance of Alcohol and Saloons to the Company Town of Thurber, Texas," Gene Tucker, Arlington
  • "Quanah The Family Murder:  Miss Winnie's Revenge," Bill Neal, Quanah
  • "Laura Bullion: The Unlikely Outlaw Queen," Robert Stiles, San Angelo

  • The President's Reception began at 6:00 p.m. at Hardin-Simmons University student center
  • Dinner began around 7 p.m.
  • Presentation: The evening program with guest speaker Clive Siegle began around 8 p.m.

Saturday's schedule, April 1, 2006

  • Registration ran from 8:00-11:00 a.m. in the Skiles Social Sciences Building, Hardin-Simmons University
  • The Silent Book Auction hours ran from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., with book pickups from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Session 4A entitled, West Texas Feuds, was chaired by Pat Parsons, Luling, and included the following papers:

  • "The Horrell-Higgins Feud of Lampasas County," Bill O'Neal, Carthage
  • "The Sutton-Taylor Feud," Chuck Parsons, Luling

Session 4B entitled, Diversity, Immigrants and Tolerance, was chaired by Charles Rodenberger, Baird, and included the following papers:

  • "Kelton's Illegal Immigrants," Lewis Toland, Roswell
  • "Overcoming Adversity: The Eva Camunez-Tucker Story," Ashley Wallace, San Angelo
  • "Turning Germans into Texans: The Anti-German Hysteria in Texas, 1917-1918," Matt Tippens, Lubbock

Session 4C entitled, The Charles Goodnight House - Interdisciplinary Student Involvement in Historical Research and Preservation was chaired by Tiffany Fink.  Tim Chandler, Randy Armstrong and Tiffany Fink of Hardin-Simmons University presented the projects scope, how it began, and where it is going as well as insight into student involvement and how students are learning from the project.

Session 5A entitled, the East Texas History Association Session, was chaired by Mark Barringer, Nacogdoches, and included the following papers:

  • "Rural Edens or Jillion Dollar Foolishness: The Woodlake and Ropesville Resettlement Projects," L. Patrick Hughes, Austin
  • "Daniel Jesse Hines:  Legendary Texas Ranger, Ranchman, and Rodeo Cowboy," Jody E. Grinn, Austin
  • "War in East Texas," Bill O'Neal, Carthage

Session 5B entitled, Center for Big Bend Studies Session, was chaired by Tom Crum, Granbury, and included the following papers:

  • "Graham Barnett, Shootist," Glenn Willeford, Chihuahua
  • "Whiting and Poli Explore The Big Bend," Glenn Justice, Odessa
  • "The Flapper, The Cowboys, and the Rangers," Gerald Raun, Alpine

Session 5C by the Texas Oral History Association was entitled, West Texas or East Texas:  Universal Applications for Oral Histories, and chaired by JoAnn Pospisil, Houston. It included the following papers:

  • "Tales from the Quilt," Linda L. Reynolds, Stephen F. Austin State University

  • "Oral History as a Teaching Tool, Curtis Odom," Stephen F. Austin State University
  • "Me, a Playwright? Dramatic Uses of Oral History," Bobby H. Johnson, Stephen F. Austin State University

Session 6A entitled, Choppers', Airlines, and Cattle Drives - West Texas Transport, was chaired by Jake Sheffield, Burleson, and included the following papers:

  • "U. S. Army Primary Helicopter School Fort Wolters, Texas, 1956-1973," Wes Sheffield, Burlson
  • "Flying the El Paso to Los Angeles Run:  The Social History of an American Airways Pilot in the 1930s," Erik Carlson, Dallas
  • "San Sabá and the Spanish Imperial System of Defense," Jose Manuel Serrano Alvarez, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

Session 6B entitled, Banks and Postcard Treasures and Best Student Award Winner, was chaired by B. W. Aston, Abilene, and included the following papers:

  • "The 1933 Texas & Pacific Mail Robbery in Fort Worth," T. Lindsey Baker, Rio Vista
  • "Trash or Treasure? A Field Guide to West Texas Postal History, 1850s-1890s," John Miller Morris, Austin
  • "Pre-Flights On Tech Campus," John McCullough, Lubbock

Session 6C entitled, Free Range, Segregation, the Klan, was chaired by Gene Preuss, University of Houston, and included the following papers:

  • "The Last Free-Range Ranches of Greer County, Texas," Scott White, Lubbock
  • "Keeping the Schools Separate:  Racial Politics in the Late 1950s," Charles V. Waite, University of Texas-Pan American
  • "Action / Reaction: West Texas' Showdown Between the Klan and Its Opposition," Nick Pruitt, Plainview

  • Lunch and Business meeting took place from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Out going WTHA President, Cheryl Lewis, presented, "A Century of History Yields Far More Then Railroads, Grain Elevators, and Pied Pipers."
  • Baseball Game and Tour at Buffalo Gap began at 3:00 p.m.
  • Dinner began 6:00 p.m.

P.O. 41041
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

Ph. 806-742-9076


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Picture This!

Jennifer Spurrier, Troy Ainsworth, Holle Humphries, Jim Matthews, and Tom Alexander take time out following their session for a group portrait.

Clive  Siegle speaking at Thursday night's reception.

Tai Kreidler and Robert Hall present Jim Matthews with the 2006 award for best book on West Texas history.

Annette Nall and David Murrah reminisce about the early history of the Southwest Collections Library at Texas Tech.

Author Patrick Dearen had numerous fans of his books stop by to get their personal copies autographed.

More pictures from the 2007 meeting can be seen here.

2007 program cover:   The many faces of Abilene, Texas, are shown featuring the Grace and Hilton Hotels, historic Texas-Pacific railroad buildings, and Hardin-Simmons University, our host site for this year's WTHA meeting.