Monthly Archives: June 2015

Emily D. West


She is the traditional subject of the song “Yellow Rose of Texas” and one of the more compelling characters in the miniseries “Texas Rising” which just completed its debut run on the History Channel.  In it, the character has an affair with Mexican General Santa Anna and is occupying his attention leading up to the battle.  In addition, she may have had personal motives of revenge that led to her desire to see Santa Anna defeated.

The familiar song does not deal with San Jacinto or Santa Anna.  It was composed in the 1800s, although the actual name of the composer is unknown.

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“Texas Rising”


I hope you had a chance to watch “Texas Rising” on the History Channel over the last month and a half.  It was entertaining.  I know that some characters in the series were fictional or their stories were highly fictionalized, so this summer I will try to find the real stories of their lives, starting with Emily D. West, Jack Hays and Erastus (Deaf) Smith.  I was also intrigued by Juan Seguin and the other Hispanic residents of Texas who fought with Houston against the Mexican Army.  These were my takeaways from “Texas Rising.”  I am grateful to the History Channel for the project, but the armchair historian in me always appreciates the real stories behind the fictional ones.


Posted by on June 22, 2015 in texas rising


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Tom Hickman, Texas Ranger


A good friend of mine grew up seeing a revered old cowboy walk the small downtown area of Gainesville, Texas.  When he asked about the identity of the man, he was told that he was a retired Texas Ranger who had captured some famous outlaws.  My friend eventually learned that the old gentleman was former Texas Ranger Tom Hickman.

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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in biography, outlaws and crimes, texas rangers


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Taylor County, Texas

Taylor County is considered to be in West Texas and many feel that it is where West Texas begins.  It is located northwest of the geographic center of the State.  Its county seat from 1878 to 1883 was Buffalo Gap, but since then has been Abilene.

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in alamo, biography, county names


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Molly Ann Dyer Goodnight


Mary Ann “Molly” Goodnight was the wife of Charles Goodnight and was highly involved in the Goodnight ranching operation.  She was born September 12, 1839 in Tennessee to John Henry and Susan Lynch Miller Dyer and her grandfather was the first governor of Tennessee.  The Dyers were well established in Tennessee but her father, noted for his service in the Battle of New Orleans and a former Attorney General of the state, moved the family to a settlement near Fort Belknap in North Texas in 1854.  Ten years later, her mother died shortly to be followed by the death of her father in another two years, after which Molly became the head of her family for her younger brothers.  The oldest, Leigh, went to work for Charles Goodnight in 1867 while Molly continued to raise the younger brothers, several of whom also went on to work on the Goodnight ranches.  Molly served as a teacher in Young County though she had no formal education. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on June 4, 2015 in biography, ranch families, texas women


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