Mason County News
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State Historian of Texas to Speak in Brady
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 • Posted August 31, 2013

Bill O’Neal, the 2013-2014 State Historian of Texas, will speak in Brady on Sunday, September 15, at 2:00 p.m. O’Neal has appeared in many TV documentaries on TBS, The History Channel, the Learning Channel, CMT and A&E. In 2012, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Six-Shooter Literary Award by the Wild West History Association. In 2007, O’Neal was named the “Best Living Non-Fiction Writer”.

O’Neal will speak on two topics. “Gunfighterology” will be his first topic at 2:00 p.m. He will discuss all of the famous Texas gunfighters and will demonstrate the evolution of revolving pistols, holsters and gun belts. A collection of non-firing weapons will on display. “Nothing is more dramatic than life and death conflict, and there is a special appeal when that conflict is in a frontier setting. Texas had more gunfighters and more shootouts than any other state or territory,” says O’Neal.

At 4:00 p.m., O’Neal will provide a humorous program, “Music Traditions of Texas”. This session will include references from, “Willie Nelson to Van Cliburn … from Buddy Holly to Scott Joplin … from George Strait to Mary Martin … as well as others. “Texans have starred in every musical genre, and the Lone Star State has dominated the field of Country Western music.”

In addition to his presentations, O’Neal will have available for sale and signing many of his publications and books. Some of these titles will include: Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters, Historic Ranches of the Old West, Ghost Towns of the American West, Reel Rangers, The Sons of the Pioneers, and Sam Houston Slept Here. Of special interest to young readers are: Reel Cowboys, Great Gunfighters of the Wild West and The First Thanksgiving – It Happened in Texas!

Speaking at the same event at 3:00 p.m. will be Storyteller Marilynn Johanson of San Saba who will tell The Pioneer Woman’s Story, which is the life story of her great grandmother, Vollie Ann Warren McMillin. This will be the story of a woman who, while married to a Texas Ranger, was actually the one, “who lived the colorful life”. Civil War influences and Indian raids were some of the events which were common place during those exciting times. Johanson and her husband, both retired educators with a combination of 74 years of service to education in Texas, now live in San Saba. She also serves as a member of the Mills County Historical Commission.

This “first annual” program of the Heart of Texas Historians & Storytellers will be September 15, 2013, 2:00 p.m., at the Heart of Texas Event Center, 805 San Angelo Highway, Brady, Texas. There will be no admission charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted at the door. Representatives from several groups have been working together for several months to develop this new event of shared interests in local history, Texas history, and the desire to know more. Working together have been (in alphabetical order): Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Heart of Texas Historical Museum, Heart of Texas Writers Group, and McCulloch County Historical Commission.

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