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"Did you know" answers...

  Margaret (Peggy) McCormick arrived in Texas as part of the “Old 300,” Stephen F. Austin’s first colony. Soon widowed, yet unbowed, she met adversaries with a crustiness and determination that caused Austin to write: “I wish these colonists would get along.” Her land became the park at the San Jacinto Memorial in Houston, Texas. My story of her, in some detail, appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Persimmon Hill, the magazine of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum. The tale of her fame and infamy is, of course, included in my book, Texas Dames, Sassy & Savvy, unpublished as yet, a collection of the Texas Dames column.

  First Woman Optometrist:
Mollie Wright Armstrong found a solution to her migraines in 1898. She packed up her son and studied, then returned to Brownwood to open her optometry practice in 1899, a profession she continued ‘til 1962.

  First Woman Mayor:
The men of Marble Falls elected Ophelia Birdie Harwell to take the reins of this town in 1917. She pointed the small town on the river toward the tourism it enjoys today.

  With a long held desire to come to Texas, Mollie Bailey joined Hood’s Minstrel’s during the Civil War, entertaining the Texas brigade with song and dance. When Arkansas soldiers ran out of quinine, she tucked packages of the medicine into her pompadour and delivered the medicine safely, infiltrating enemy lines. Sometimes there would be more than medicine that she moved across the line. Years later she took the “Bailey Circus” over the road in Texas, “A Texas Show for Texas People,” to small towns and rural areas. Dallas served as the winter home.

  Roberta Dodd studied in Texas, Washington and Chicago before claiming her place on the stages of opera halls of Europe throughout World War II when her race denied her that opportunity in Texas.

  First Woman anesthesiologist:
Dr. Claudia Potter joined Scott and White in Temple despite a partner who objected to a woman.




  As with the books, I’ve found a way to tell more stories that I’ve discovered—about women, about Texas, her icons and her men. These stories, tales, yarns and fables run on Thursdays at www.texashistoryblog.com. I call this a “Texana on Thursdays…a front porch chat.” Join me if you will.

  Because I also teach writing, I’ve tons of writing info gathered over the last 14 years of teaching for the new or intermediate scribbler…or a seasoned vet who wants an update. These story and style tips play out on Wednesdays at www.scribblers.tips. I’ve subtitled this blog as “Weekly on Wednesdays…and sometimes more.”




`Why don’t you write a Book?’
About Texas Ranch Women?

That question, from an editor, launched a 15-year journey into the historic annals, interviews from horseback and from single-engine planes to find the stories that now appear in TEXAS RANCH WOMEN: THREE CENTURIES OF METTLE AND MOXIE, The History Press, Sept. 30 2014.

ALONG THE WAY…I discovered fascinating tales of TEXAS DAMES that didn’t fit the ranch book. These women—along with some ranchers and plantation owners—could not be ignored. I had to find a way to get their stories out. That became the newspaper column “Texas Dames” that ran weekly for over two years in a couple dozen newspapers in Texas communities.

Then, a sampling of some 53 of those 200 stories were published in 2012 by The History Press: TEXAS DAMES: SASSY AND SAVVY WOMEN THROUGHOUT LONE STAR HISTORY.

Now, I’m doing what I’ve encouraged writing students to do…
post blogs on a weekly basis: