~ West Texas Historical Association ~

Summary of WTHA Annual Meeting-  Midland, Texas

The West Texas Historical Association held its 77th annual meeting on Friday and Saturday, March 30th and 31st, 2000, in Midland, Texas. he Tall City was the host site for the first time since 1994. Much like that meeting the 2000 conference was a success. In spite of the rain or because of it 150 people attended nine sessions that were held in the Holiday Inn headquarters hotel. Registration began at 12:30 pm.

Caption: B. W. Aston addressing his audience.

The program committee made up of Cindy Martin, chair, Marisue Potts, Cynthia Savage and Becky Matthews put together a program featuring 28 papers.  The meeting also showcased a plenary session that reviewed the history and significance of West Texas.  A silent book auction was held for the enjoyment of the attendees.  A large crowd of 125 turned out to attend the Friday night banquet and to hear Robert Flynnís colorful and entertaining examination of growing up in Chillicothe, Texas. The success of the Midland meeting is directly attributable to the work and diligence of the one-person local arrangements committee- Cynthia Savage.

The meeting pioneered something new in the affairs of the Association.  In a true East-meets-West encounter the East Texas Historical Association organized and presented a session on East Texas history.  With a contingent led by Archie McDonald, the ETHA Executive Secretary, the session presented three papers.  As a part of a reciprocal agreement the WTHA presents a session at the Fall 2000 ETHA meeting in Nacogdoches.

 Overview of the Sessions and Events

The Friday afternoon program included five sessions: Sessions 1 and 2 were held from 1:15-2:30 pm, Sessions 3 and 4 were held from 2:45-4:00 pm, and Session 5 was held from 4:00-5:00 pm.

Session 1 was chaired by Martin Kuhlman from West Texas A&M. The session was entitled "The Historic JA Ranch," had 38 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Montie Ritchie and the JA Ranch." H. Allen Anderson, Texas Tech University.
  • "History of the JA Ranch Headquarters." John White, Texas Tech University.
  • "The Goodnight Bison Herd: Past and Present." Danny Sweptson, Canyon.

Session 2 was chaired by Carey Behrends from the Pesidential Museum in Midland. The session was entitled "Preserving the Heritage of West Texas," had 42 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Commemorating the Pacific War: Fredericksburgís Fleet Admiral Nimitz Museum." Carol Parsonage, Georgetown.
  • "Willard B. Robinson and the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University." Gary Lindsey, Texas Tech University (Student Award Winner).
  • "Preserving the American Windmill." Jan Hayes, American Wind Power Center.

Session 3 was chaired by Troy Solis from Sul Ross University. The session was entitled "Ranching in West Texas," had 35 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Terlingua Creek Valley and Ranching." Loovinka DeKoninck, Sul Ross State University.
  • "The Morris Cattle Company, 1921-1937." Jack Becker, Texas Tech University.
  • "The pitchfork Ranch: Tradition and Change." Kenneth Davis, Lubbock.

Session 4 was chaired by Betty Orbeck from Midland. The session was entitled "Trails and Trade Between Mexico and West Texas, Old and New," had 45 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Tracing the Comanche Trail." John Yates, Benbrook.
  • "Stradling the Border: Don Tomas Barksdale, Border Trader." Marisue Potts, Motley County Historical Commission.
  • "Texas and NAFTA at Five: Who Cares?" B. W. Aston, Hardin-Simmons University.

Session 5 was chaired by Darlene Bellinghausen, WTHA President, from Knox City. The session was entitled "West Texas History: Looking Back, Looking Forward," had 83 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "The WTHA at Seventy-Seven and Beyond." B. W. Aston, Hardin-Simmons University.
  • "Women and West Texas History." Lou Rodenberger, Baird.
  • "A Literary View of West Texas." Lawrence Clayton, Hardin-Simmons University.

Presidentís Reception and Banquet. The Presidentís Reception was held in the Texas Deck B room at the Holiday Inn. Darlene Bellinghausen, Association President, presided at the Banquet. Dr. Robert Flynn of San Antonio presented a paper entitled "Miracles in Chillicothe." He was introduced by Dr. Kenneth Davis. Darlene Bellinghausen adjourned the session.

The Saturday morning program consisted of 4 sessions:  Sessions 6 and 7 were held from 8:30-10:30 am, and Sessions 8 and 9 were held from 10:15-11:30 pm.

Session 6 was chaired by Alwyn Barr from Texas Tech University. The session was entitled "African Americans in West Texas," had 30 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Mae Simmons and Edward Struggs: The African American Educational Experience in Lubbock." June Steele, Texas Tech University.
  • "Desegregation of Public Schools in Lubbock, Texas." Scott Sosebee, Texas Tech University.
  • "African-American Baseball: The Negro Baseball League in West Texas." Rob Fink, Texas Tech University.

Session 7 was chaired by J'Nell Pate who was substituting for Kirk Bane. The session was entitled "Exploring and Settling West Texas," had 56 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "Unsettling Settling: Notes on Exploration and Occupation of the Texas Panhandle." Steve Schroeder, Capital University.
  • "John Chadbourne Irwin: Clear Fork of the Brazos Pioneer." Sonya Irwin Clayton, Abilene.
  • "The Three R's and the Hickory Stick on the West Texas Frontier." Ty Cashion, Sam Houston State University.

Session 8 was chaired by Don Willett, President of ETHA. The session was entitled "Greeting from East Texas: Joint Sessions with the East Texas Historical Association," had 40 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "The East Texas Historical Association." Archie P. McDonald, Stephen F. Austin State University.
  • "I Ain't Sure I Understand Everything I Know About This: A Study of East Texas Good Ol' Boy Expressions." Bob Bowman, Lufkin.
  • "Tex Ritter: Country Music's Most Versatile Artist." Bill O'Neal, Panola College.

Caption: Jorge Iber presenting his paper on Bobby Cavazos.

Session 9 was chaired by Lynn Whitfield from Texas Tech University. The session was entitled "West Texas Personalities," had 33 in attendance, and included the following papers:

  • "A Vaquero in the Backfield: The Football Career of Texas Tech's Bobby Cavazos." Jorge Iber, Texas Tech University.
  • "Sonny Gordon: An Afro-American Cowboy in the Texas Big Bend." Marilyn Dell Brady, Sul Ross State University.
  • "The Soldier and the Emparesario's Daughter: Alexander Keyes and Virginia Maxwell." Jim and Becky Matthews, San Antonio.
  • "Richard Franklin Tankersley: Cattleman, Indian Fighter, and Texas Ranger." Barbara Barton, Knickerbocker, Texas.
Noon Lunch and Business Meeting
Darlene Bellinghausen presided over the noon luncheon and business meeting. Tom Crum gave the invocation. 120+ people were in attendance and the following business was handled by the membership.

Crum presented the following resolution to the membership:
Resolved that the members in attendance at the annual meeting of the West Texas Historical Association for the year 2000 unanimously express their gratitude and sincere thanks to the following committees and persons for the dedicated work and effort they provided the association in making this meeting a success. Those committees and persons are:

  • Program Committee consisting of Cindy Martin (chair), Cynthia Savage, Becky Matthews and Marisue Potts.
  • Melissa Harmonson, Convention Business Manager for the Midland Holiday Inn.
  • Tai Kreidler and his staff, and especially the registration staff.

Crum moved that the Association accept and include this resolution. The membership approved the resolution.

The financial and state of the association report was given by Tai Kreidler.

For the membership report, Cynthia Savage provided a review on the price of dues and submitted the recommendation of the board to increase dues $5 for all membership categories except for Sponsoring, Life and Student. The membership approved the recommendation.

The following awards were presented during the business session:

  • The Mrs. Percy Jones Award for the Best Article in Volume 75 of the Yearbook went to Dr. Sean Flynn for his article, "Life-Blood of the Plains: John L. McCarty and the Panhandle Water Conservancy Authority." Lou Rodenberger, chair of the committee, made the presentation.
  • The Rupert N. Richardson Award for the Best Book on West Texas went to Dr. Fred Rathjen for his book entitled "Texas Panhandle Frontier." Paul Carlson made the presentation.
  • The West Texas Historical Association Award for the Best Student Paper went to Mr. Gary Lindsey for his paper entitled "Willard B. Robinson and the Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University."
  • The President's Award for the First Registrant of the Annual Meeting (a.k.a The Ready, Willing and Abel Award) went to Abel Ramirez of the Southwest Collection. Tai Kreidler made the presentation.

Mildred Sentell, chair, and Ken Davis of the Nominating Committee placed in nomination the following officers for election:

  • President: Clint Chambers, Lubbock
  • Vice-President: Garry Nall, Canyon
  • Board: Cindy Martin, Lubbock (2003); Janet Neugebauer, Lubbock (2003); Herbert Strom, Fort Worth (2003); and Don Walker, Lubbock (2003)

The recommendations were accepted by the membership. The following is a complete list of the officers and board members for 2000-2001:

  • President: Clint Chambers, Lubbock
  • Vice-President: Garry Nall, Canyon
  • Executive Director: Tai Kreidler, Lubbock
  • Editor: Paul H. Carlson, Ransom Canyon
  • Associate Editor: Tai Kreidler, Lubbock
  • West Texas Historical Editor: Freedonia Paschall, Lubbock
  • The Cyclone Editor: Jim Matthews, San Antonio
  • Board Members: Mike Harter, Amarillo (2001); Harry P. Hewitt, Wichita Falls (2002); Harry L. Krenek, Snyder (2002); Preston Smith, San Angelo (2002); Cindy Martin, Lubbock (2003); Ross McSawin, San Angelo (2001); Janet Neugebauer, Lubbock (2003); Charles Rodenberger, Baird (2001); Yolanda Romero, Irving (2002); Cynthia Savage, Midland (2001); Hubert Strom, Fort Worth (2003); and Don Walker, Lubbock (2003).

Clint Chambers, newly elected president, introduced Darlene Bellinghausen who gave her presidential address entitled, "Our Legacy: Learn from the Past, Preserve the Present, and Imagine the Future." Bellinghausen provided a review of the last 25 years of the WTHA.

Chambers announced that the 2001 annual meeting would be held in Wichita Falls, Texas. Midwestern State University offered to host the conference. Chambers then adjourned the meeting.

P.O. 41041
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

Ph. 806-742-9076 wthayb@ttu.edu