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Category Archives: texas women

Liz Carpenter

Mary Elizabeth Sutherland Carpenter was born in Salado, Bell County, Texas in 1920 to Thomas Shelton and Mary Elizabeth Robertson Sutherland.  Her father was a state highway inspector and her mother was a homemaker.  Liz was the middle child of five children.  According to traditional genealogical sources, her mother, Mary Elizabeth Robertson was the daughter of Maclin Robertson who was in turn the son of Sterling Clack and Sarah Maclin Robertson.  Sterling Clack Robertson was born in 1785 in Tennessee and came to Texas as empresario of his own colony, settling in what would become Bell County near the current town of Salado.  Robertson was also a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.  On Liz’s father’s side, her Texas roots went back just as far.  Her father was Thomas Shelton Sutherland III.  His father was Thomas Shelton Sutherland II and his father was George Sutherland, born in Alabama and by profession a cowboy and rancher, who is noted as having served in the Texas Army and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto.

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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in authors, biography, texas women

 

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Governor Ann Richards

Ann Richards was the 45th Governor of Texas, succeeding Governor Bill Clements.  She was born Dorothy Ann Willis on September 1, 1933 to Robert Cecil and Mildred Iona Warren Willis.  She grew up in the Lacy Lakeview area, just north of Waco, Texas.  Her father worked as a truck driver for a pharmaceutical company.  During World War II, the family briefly moved to San Diego, California before returning to live once more in Waco, Texas.  She attended and graduated from Waco High School in downtown Waco.  Her family was not wealthy, but she took piano and elocution lessons.  Once when she was a senior at Waco High, she and classmate Marilyn Reese played a piano duet and took third place in a city-wide musical talent contest.  Foreshadowing her later political career, Ann also was on the high school debate team and was selected to be a representative to Girls State, an American Legion Auxiliary leadership organization that mirrors each state’s government.  She was attracted by the process and was selected as a representative to Girls Nation, a group select individuals from from among the Girls State representatives.  Richards entered Baylor University in Waco after high school graduation on a debate scholarship.  The future governor married her high school boyfriend, David Read Richards, in 1953 during her junior year in college, and Ann went on to graduate from Baylor University in Speech and Government the following year.

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Posted by on October 4, 2018 in biography, governor, texas women

 

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First African-American Texas Rangers

Nix-Christine

Christine Nix was hired in 1994 and became an officer with the Texas Rangers after serving in the military and as a police officer in Temple before moving to another state.  She later returned to Texas, moving to Austin.  She happened to live near the Texas Department of Safety office which helped to spark her interest in returning to law enforcement.

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Posted by on August 30, 2018 in biography, black history, texas women

 

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Sara T. Hughes

Sara Augusta Tilghman Hughes was a pioneer in the legal profession.  She was born in 1896 in Baltimore, Maryland to James Cooke and Elizabeth Haughton Tilghman.  Her father was a shipping clerk in the dry goods business.  She grew up in Baltimore where she attended Western Female High School, Salem Academy in North Carolina and then Goucher College, graduating in 1917 with a degree in biology.  After graduating from college, she taught school for two years before enrolling in night law school classes at George Washington School of Law.  During the day, she worked as a police officer in Washington, D. C. and she received her law degree in 1922.

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The Goree Girls

On Sunday, October 23, 1960, the Texas Prison Rodeo performance in Huntsville was slated to have a personal appearance by actor John Wayne, in Texas to promote the release of his film “The Alamo” in Houston the following week.  Scheduled to appear with Wayne was pop singer Frankie Avalon, who had been cast as the character known as “Smitty” in the film.  Wayne’s production was only the fourth of fifty-one film or television projects that Avalon appeared in, but he was at a peak of his career in pop music.  The previous year, his recording “Venus” was Number 1 for five weeks.  Between 1958 and 1962 between two and three dozen of his recordings hit the Billboard chart.  The rodeo arena was expected to be filled to capacity at around 30,000.

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Cyd Charisse (Tula Finklea)

Cyd Charisse was born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas on March 8, 1921 to Ernest Enos and Lela Norwood Finklea.  Ernest was a well known Amarillo jeweler of French descent, though he was born in Texas.  Ernest was the proprietor of E. E. Finklea Jewelers at 410 South Polk Street in downtown Amarillo.  Finklea’s billed itself as “The Jewelry Store of the Panhandle.”  The name Cyd is a respelling of the nickname her brother gave her when he could not pronounce “sister” and she adopted it as her stage name.  The last name Charisse was actually her married name.

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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in biography, entertainers, texas women

 

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Mary Martin

marymartinpeterpan

(Image credit: Playbill)

An eight foot tall bronze statue of Peter Pan was dedicated to Mary Martin on July 4, 1976 and is located on the south side of the Weatherford Public Library at 1014 Charles Street, near Soldier Spring Park in Weatherford, Texas.  It was dedicated as part of Weatherford’s American Bicentennial celebration.  Martin was depicted in a pose as Peter Pan, her 1954 Broadway character.  An earlier stylized statue of Peter Pan was dedicated in her honor in Weatherford’s Cherry Park recreation area, 300 S. Alamo Street, not far from her childhood home.

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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in biography, entertainers, texas women

 

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