Dr. James Henry Duke, Jr. was more likely known to most of us as the charismatic Dr. “Red” Duke. He was born in Ennis, Ellis County, Texas to James Henry (Sr.) and Helen Marion Donegan Duke. He graduated from high school in Hillsboro, Hill County, and then received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1950. In connection with his degree at A&M, he did a two year tour of duty in the Army where he served as a tank officer in the 67th Medium Tank Battalion of 2nd Armored Division, spending some time in Germany. Dr. Duke then earned a divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. While at Southwestern Seminary, he read a book by the pioneer physician Albert Schweitzer that changed his life’s focus and inspired him to pursue a career in academic medicine. He then earned an M. D. from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1960 and served as an surgical intern in Dallas at Parkland Hospital until 1965.
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John William Fritz was born on June 15, 1896 to Blake and Ada Hamilton Fritz in Dublin, Erath County, Texas. Will was the oldest of four boys. In 1900, Blake was a farmer in Erath County. By 1910, the family had moved to Chaves County, New Mexico in or near a small community by the name of Lake Arthur where Blake was trying to make a living as a horse and mule rancher. Lake Arthur was small back then. Even now, it is only about ten streets north to south and east to west. By all accounts, Will had a normal childhood for the son of a rancher and grew up around the ranch, acquiring cowboy skills from Blake and other workers.
Woodward Maurice “Tex” Ritter was born on January 12, 1905 to James Everett and Elizabeth Matthews Ritter of Murvaul, Texas, in Panola County about 10 miles south of Carthage. He was the youngest of about nine children. His first name is sometimes spelled “Woodard” but in one account it is related that he was named for Dr. S. A. Woodward, the doctor who delivered him. Tex was the grandson of Benjamin Franklin Ritter, who had been brought to Texas as a baby in the early to mid 1830s from Tennessee.
This coming weekend will mark the anniversary of San Jacinto Day. In our mind’s eye, we can envision what that may have looked like, especially after visiting the San Jacinto Monument. Some will also think of Henry Huddle. His name may not be too familiar to many Texans, but most likely just about everyone might recognize at least one of his works. San Jacinto Day is drawing near, and the painting called “The Surrender of Santa Anna” (pictured below) commemorates the famous battle.
A paragraph in a 1939 issue of a newspaper in Decatur (Illinois, not Texas) began “No. 1 Name of the year, so far, is that of Sheriff Smoot Schmid of Dallas, Texas.”
(Image source: unknown)
“Cherokee Bill” was a name adopted by Crawford Goldsby, a youth born February 8, 1876 at Fort Concho in Texas. He was actively an outlaw for several years, mostly across the Red River in Indian Territory, before he was apprehended. His father was George Goldsby and his mother was Ellen Beck Goldsby. His father was of mixed blood, part black and part white, and was a Buffalo Soldier in the 10th U. S. Cavalry. His mother was also of mixed blood, part Cherokee, black and white. Crawford was probably named for his father’s brother, also known as Crawford Goldsby, who lived and died in Alabama.
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.