Category Archives: folklore

Unsolved Mystery: Billy the Kid

Saturday, December 29, 1950, there was a funeral in Hico, Texas for O. L. Roberts (some accounts call him William Henry Roberts) who claimed to be Billy the Kid.  He had come to Hico in the late 1930s from his previous home in Gladewater, claiming to be Billy the Kid, who was born Henry McCarty and also known as William Bonney.  We’ll refer to the outlaw as Bonney.

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in biography, folklore, history, outlaws


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The Cowgirl Who Passed Herself Off as a Cowboy

Samuel Dunn Houston told of his experiences on the cattle trails in the latter part of the 1800s.  He had worked his way up from being a hand on the trail to being a trail boss, having previously done enough cattle drives that he felt that he had made more trips over the cow trail from Southern Texas and New Mexico than “any man in the country.”  He had been engaged by the Holt Live Stock Company of New Mexico to head up a trail drive in the spring of 1888.

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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in folklore, history, texas


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Sally Scull

Depending upon where you may have heard of Sally Scull, you might get the impression that she was a Texas Civil War heroine, a “black widow” husband-killer or just about anything between the two.  You may also see her name spelled Skull as well as Scull, but for this purpose, we will use the latter.  She had a reputation for being able to shoot as straight with her left hand as with her right.  She usually carried two six shooters, often wore mens’ clothing and had a rough vocabulary that she used freely, and often.

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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in biography, folklore, history, texas, texas women


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The Barrow Gang Comes to North Texas

Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree was short, only a few years, but whenever there happened to be an event involving them in a small town, people living there remembered it.  There were at least two such events in North Texas’ Wise County.


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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in bonnie and clyde, folklore, history, texas


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Elmer Kelton


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Elmer was born in 1926 on the Five Wells Ranch, one of the Scharbauer ranches, in rural Andrews County, Texas.  His father was Robert William “Buck” Kelton and mother was the former Neta Beatrice “Bea” Parker.  Three years later, Buck took a job at the McElroy Ranch in Crane, Texas near Midland, where he would remain for 36 years.  Elmer grew up on the ranch, hearing the colorful stories told by Buck and the other cowboys on the ranch.

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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in authors, biography, folklore, texas


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Unsolved mystery? Jesse James’ gravesite


The  outlaw Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882) is generally thought to have been shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882.  Ford, a James gang member, reportedly shot James, then 34 years old, in the back of the head at the Kearney, Missouri home of Ford’s sister as they prepared to head out for another robbery.  Ford’s motive was to obtain a reward. Ford and his brother pled guilty to murder but were pardoned by the Missouri governor Thomas Crittendon. Although James body was identified and buried in Kearney, Missouri,  alternative accounts persist that he somehow faked his death and moved to Texas. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 6, 2015 in folklore, history, outlaws, texas, unsolved mystery


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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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