Debbie (Mary Frances) Reynolds was born April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas to Raymond Francis and Maxine N. Harmon Reynolds. Raymond had been born in 1903 in Whitewright, Grayson County, Texas. His father was a rural school teacher in 1910. By 1920, Raymond’s father was working in the Post Office and the family lived in Dallas. As of 1930, Raymond and Maxine had married and were living with Maxine’s family in El Paso. Raymond was working as a carpenter for a railroad company. That same year, their eldest son William Owen Reynolds was born to Raymond and Maxine, followed by Mary Frances (likely named for Raymond’s sister) in 1932. Raymond lost his job in Texas during the Depression. Reynolds was not embarrassed by her humble upbringing. She would say of their life in El Paso that her mother took in washing and that they always had plenty to eat, even if her father had to go out in the desert and shoot rabbits. By 1940, the new family had moved to Burbank, California where Raymond was working as a “tinder man” for Southern Pacific.
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Hardin Richard Runnels was the sixth governor of Texas. He was born in Mississippi to Hardin D. and Martha Darden Runnels in 1820. After his father died, the future governor came to Texas in 1842 during the years of the Republic of Texas from Mississippi with his mother, his uncle Hiram George Runnels and his three brothers. They first settled on the Brazos River before moving to Bowie County where they started a cotton plantation on the Red River near the community of Old Boston, named for an early store owner, W. J. Boston. New Boston later arose when the rail lines bypassed Old Boston four miles to the north. While still in his twenties, Runnels was elected in 1847 to the first of four terms in the Texas Legislature. After his last term in the legislature in which he served as Speaker of the House, he was elected Lieutenant Governor serving under Governor Elisha M. Pease during the latter’s second and final term.
The U.S.S. Indianapolis (CA-35) is part of a fascinating World War II story. The ship was a heavy cruiser that played an important role in the atomic bombing missions that led Japan directly to its surrender and the end of the war. Indianapolis was ordered in 1929 and her hull was laid down at the Camden Yard in New Jersey on March 31, 1930 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp. According to Naval History and Heritage Command, her displacement was 9,800 tons, her length was 610 feet, beam was 66 feet and draft was 17’4″. The ship was constructed to accommodate a crew of 1,269, achieve a speed of 32 knots and was armed with 9 8-inch and 8 5-inch guns. The Indianapolis was the second of two ships of the Portland class.
Three brothers figure into the history of Texas. They are Thomas, Francis and Henry Lubbock. Colonel Thomas Saltus Lubbock is the brother for whom Lubbock county and the city of Lubbock is named. He was born in South Carolina in 1817 and came to Texas early enough to participate in the Siege of Bexar in late 1835. He was also a participant in the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition in 1841. Thomas was captured in New Mexico while Texas troops were on their way to Santa Fe. He was taken to Mexico and imprisoned, but was one of two individuals to be able to escape. He later made his way back to Texas. When the Civil War broke out, he first served in an irregular unit comprised mostly of former Texas soldiers and Texas Rangers as scouts for the Confederate Army. He and some others later joined the Confederate Army and were founding members of “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” the 8th Texas Cavalry. Lubbock was promoted to Colonel and put in command of the regiment after the death of Benjamin Franklin Terry but happened to be ill with typhoid fever at the time. Thomas died the following day on January 9, 1862 before he could take command. He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
Jack Lummus was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. According to a May, 1945 newspaper report based upon an interview with a fellow Marine, 1st Lt. Lummus was killed while leading an infantry and tank attack on the island on March 8, 1945.
Buck Owens was born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. to Alvis Edgar and Macie Owens in Sherman, Texas in 1929. He 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.