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Alvis Edgar “Buck” Owens, Jr.

Buck Owens was born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. to Alvis Edgar and Macie Owens in Sherman, Texas in 1929.  Buck is said to have given himself the nickname of Buck after his favorite mule (alternately said to be a donkey or a horse in different accounts) when he was young.  His father, Alvis Edgar, Sr., was a sharecropping farmer in Grayson County, Texas.  In 1937, the family moved west to Arizona.  The family legend is that their trailer broke down near Phoenix, Arizona where they had other relatives, so they elected to settle there.  Similar to the stories of many other musical artists, Buck’s mother sang and played the piano at their home and in church.  Buck learned to play the guitar, mandolin and other instruments when he was a youth.  He dropped out of school at age thirteen to help the family survive and did all sorts of jobs to raise money.  As a young man, Buck began performing in honky-tonks to earn his living.  When he was about twenty, he married his first wife, the former Bonnie Campbell, a singer in a band both she and Buck played in called Mac and the Skillet Lickers.  Buck and Bonnie eventually moved to Bakersfield, California where Buck began to play around town and in the surrounding area. Buck and Bonnie would remain married for about five years.  He was married three more times.

By the 1950s, Owens had broken into the recording business as a session guitarist and signed a contract with Capitol Records in 1957.  He recorded behind a number of popular artists.  This began a long recording career for Buck and the band they named the Buckaroos.  The Buckaroos were led by guitarist and fiddler Don Rich who also did vocals.  The Buckaroos released albums under its own name, though their biggest success was with Buck Owen and the Buckaroos.  Other artists who passed through the band over the years included future country music star Merle Haggard.  Once they began to collaborate, Buck and Rich performed together continuously until Rich’s untimely death in a motorcycle accident in 1974.  This profoundly affected Buck, since they were such good friends and collaborators, but Buck continued to perform.

Owens had numerous charted hits, including “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” Crying time,” “Together Again,” “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here” and “Act Naturally.” Many of his songs are characterized by their humor and clever lyrics.  Buck is considered to have strongly influenced the development and popularity of the so-called Bakersfield Sound, a blend of honky-tonk, electric instruments and rock and roll sound.  Buck Owens’ songs were covered by many other artists over the years, including Ray Charles, Johnny Rivers and the Beatles.

Buck was once quoted in a newspaper interview about how he wrote his songs.  He said, “When I just sit down and say I’m going to write a song, I don’t end up with anything.  I have to hear something, or have some incident come to mind, or wake up at 3:00 in the morning with an idea, go over to the piano or pick up the guitar.  I never write it down; I just formulate it, and then if I can remember the words or the melody at least two or three days later, I figure it’s a pretty good song.”

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(Image credit: Country Music Hall of Fame)

Buck was co-host and a founding member of the cast of the long running comedy-variety series “Hee Haw” that ran from 1969 to 1993 and also was featured in a syndicated show called the “Buck Owens Ranch Show.”  Buck left the cast of “Hee Haw” in 1886.  During his career he was a successful investor in radio stations and formed his own booking agency, record producing company and publishing company.  Owens was considered to be a very good businessman in these areas and also had retained the rights to his own recordings.  Except for a couple of minor breaks for various reasons, he performed in some capacity right up until he died.

His many honors include being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, being awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Buck suffered from throat cancer in the 1990s and lost part of his tongue to complications of the disease.  Owens died in 2006 from an apparent heart attack after having performed at his Crystal Palace Club the night before. He is interred at the Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery in Bakersfield.

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Posted by on January 16, 2020 in biography, entertainers

 

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Henry and Ivy Methvin

Ivan “Ivy” Terrell Methvin was born April 5, 1885 in Louisiana to Hamilton Terrell and Mary E. Barron Methvin.  Ivy was one of five children and their names all began with the letter I:  Iverson Victor (1876-1952), Izaarh (or possibly Isaiah, 1877- about 1894), Isaac (1879- about 1894), Idonia (the only sister, 1882-1910) and Ivy, all born in Louisiana.  In the 1880 census, Hamilton Methvin’s profession was listed as being a farmer.  In some listings, Izaarh and Isaac have the same years of birth and death, but in the 1880 census, Isaac is not quite one year old while Izaarh (possibly just a misreading of the written name) was at least one year older.  Of the children, Iverson survived the longest, living until 1952, working as a farmer for many years and later working as a cobbler of shoes in Louisiana.  Iverson and his wife Sarah Huggins Methvin had a large family.  The sister Idonia married a man named Campbell and had a small family before she passed away at around the age of 28 in Oklahoma. Hamilton Terrell Methvin died a about eighteen months after Ivy was born.

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Governor John Connally, Jr.

Governor John Bowden Connally, Jr. was born February 27, 1917 to John Bowden and Lela Wright Connally in Floresville, Wilson County, Texas, the third of seven children.  In 1920, his father’s occupation was listed as being a stock farmer (rancher) in Floresville, which is located on the southeast side of San Antonio.  By 1930, the family had moved into San Antonio for a time, as John, Sr. was operating a bus on a bus line.  Governor Connally attended San Antonio Harlandale High School but graduated from high school in Floresville.   After his graduation, he entered the University of Texas in Austin where he received his undergraduate degree and later earned a law degree.

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Irene Ryan

The actress Irene Ryan was born Jesse Irene Noblitt on October 17, 1902 to James Merritt and Catherine J. McSharry Noblitt while her family was living in El Paso, Texas.  James was stationed at Fort Bliss and the family did not remain in Texas long, but El Paso has always claimed Irene.  The Noblitts lived off the base on Franklin Street near downtown.  Irene recounted that she was born at home.  James was a sergeant in the United States Army and soon after she was born, they moved to California.  Irene began entertaining when she was a teenager and recalled winning a talent contest when she was eleven years old.  When she was nineteen, she married actor Tim Ryan.  The couple appeared as Ryan and Noblette in vaudeville until that venue declined.  After this, the couple appeared on radio as Tim and Irene.  Ryan was a character actor who appeared in many films over the years, including From Here to Eternity (1953).  The couple was married for about 16 years, and had no children.  Ryan died in 1956 of a heart attack.

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Posted by on December 26, 2019 in biography, entertainers

 

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Jimmy Dean

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(Image credit: Associated Press)

Jimmy Ray Dean was born August 10, 1928 to George Otto and Ruth Taylor Dean in Seth Ward, Hale, Texas which lies just outside of Plainview.  At that time, the family was to be operating a farm.  Ruth was Otto’s second wife, but by the time Jimmy was 11 or 12, Ruth was listed as a single parent, working as a seamstress out of her home in Seth Ward.  From that point on, the family consisted of Ruth, her sons Jimmy and Don.  Ruth later is said to have become a barber to support her family.  At an early age, Jimmy learned to play the piano, accordion, harmonica and guitar as he worked around the family farm.  He was active in the local Baptist church there in Seth Ward and attributed his interest in music to his mother and the music in church.

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Posted by on November 28, 2019 in biography, entertainers

 

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Major Horace S. Carswell

The former Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth was named for Horace Seaver Carswell, a Medal of Honor winner from North Texas.

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(Image credit: Findagrave)

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Posted by on November 21, 2019 in biography, heroes, medal of honor, world war 2

 

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LBJ’s Family Tree – Selected Members

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 to Samuel Ealy (Jr.) and Rebekah Baines Johnson in Stonewall County, Texas.  Not intended to be a complete listing all of his ancestors, the following represents a number of them and is based on information mainly from newspaper accounts and traditional genealogical sources.

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Posted by on November 14, 2019 in biography

 

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