Johnny Horton

John Gale Horton was a country and western singer. He was the son of John Loly Horton (1890-1959) and Ella Claudia Robinson Horton (1892-1966) in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in East Texas. In the 1930 census, Johnny was the youngest of five children (three sons and two daughters) and his father John listed his occupation as farmer, probably a sharecropper. In the census form, Johnny is called “Gayle.” By 1940, the family was living in Cherokee County, Texas, Johnny’s father’s occupation was listed as farmer and by that time, the family consisted of the parents, Johnny’s older sister and himself. His name was spelled “Gale” in this census form.

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Gordon “Tex” Beneke

Gordon Lee Beneke was born February 12, 1914 in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas to Frank Snyder Beneke (1890-1966) and Dixie L. Delmage Beneke (1895-1988). Dixie’s parents were Edgar and Ella Delmage. Her parents had been born in France and Germany, respectively, and in the 1900 census, Edgar’s profession was listed as cigar maker and their small family was living in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas. Sometimes very interesting comes out in the census reports. In the 1910 census, Edgar Delmage’s birthplace was shown to be “Atlantic Ocean” as though he were born at sea, perhaps when his family was en route to the United States. Frank’s family tree indicates that his family had been in the United States a bit longer. His own grandfather Beneke had been born in Germany (Prussia). Frank’s profession was listed as pressman, which is to say that he worked in the printing department around the time that Tex was born. He eventually ran the press for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Harry James

Trumpeter Harry Haag James was born on March 15, 1916 to Everett Robert James and Maybelle Myrtle James in Albany, Georgia. His father played trumpet and was working as a conductor for traveling circus bands. His mother also had a circus background, but as a performer. She had been an acrobat and horseback rider.

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Joe Tex

The singer by this name was born on August 8, 1935 (some sources give the year to be 1933) as Joseph Arrington, Jr. in Rogers, Bell County, Texas and went to school in McNair, just outside Baytown. His parents were Joseph Arrington and Cherrie Warren Arrington. He was a high school athlete and played in the band. As a youth, he won a talent contest and was invited to perform in New York City’s Apollo Theater. Early on, he adopted the stage name of Joe Tex.

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Movie Cowboys’ Texas Ties: Some are True, Some are False

Film studios were known for occasionally exaggerating the resumes of their stars back in the early days. One example was the film resume of singing cowboy actor Ken Maynard. His biography said he was born in Mission, Texas when in reality he was born in Vevay, Indiana. It could have either been an inadvertent miscommunication or an intentional statement to give him more of a “Texas” connection, but Maynard (1895-1973) had a long film career, appearing as a western actor in about 90 productions. One biographical paragraph says that Maynard learned to ride horses and rope in Texas when he was a boy, but it is not clear whether the family lived within the state, or if they did, for how long. Maynard is believed to have worked with circus or wild west shows before becoming and served in the Army in World War I. The rest of his resume may well have been factual.

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