In the nineteenth century, Celtic Texans were in practically every field of endeavor. By the twentieth century, so many Celts achieved distinction in the many fields, there is not room to list them all. Therefore only a representative number of Celts across broadly defined fields are discussed in this chapter. Many of their names will be recognizable and their story already known by many cognizant readers. The point made in briefly recounting their names and contribution is to let you know these names, these people, were Celtic, and to a large extent Irish; thus the Celtic connection and contribution to Texas history is as important today as it was in the beginning. The broadly defined fields in which these representative Celts serve as examples are:
Business, Industry and Science
Education, Religion and Social Service
Government and Politics
These fields are defined into smaller areas in some of the text. Rather than cover the Celtic contribution chronologically across all these fields, each field, in turn, will be chronologically discussed with regard to Celtic contributors within the field during the twentieth century.
BUSINESS, INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE
At the turn of the century, one commodity affected the three components of this field as no other in Texas. Like the railroad, it forever changed parts of Texas and many Texans. The commodity was black gold, oil, or more specifically, petroleum.
Jack Graham, Dick Dowling and Lyne Barret -
The first oil well drilled in Texas was by Scotsman Jack Graham in Angelina County. He did not find any oil, nor did the efforts of Irishman Dick Dowling and his partners find any oil. The first man to drill and find oil in Texas was Celt Lyne T. Barret, near Melrose. Barret actually began his efforts in 1859, but the Civil War delayed his efforts. He began drilling and hit oil in 1866. His well produced ten barrels a day and was not commercially profitable. Oil was mainly used to settle dust on dirt roads and as a lubricant. There was, as yet, no big market for oil. When oil prices dropped from $6.59 to $1.35 a barrel, Barret turned his energies to managing a farm and a general store. The first commercially profitable oil find came in Corsicana, Texas when the city was drilling for water and found the oil in 1894. By 1898, Corsicana had 342 oil wells. Lyne T. Barrett >
Joseph S. Cullinan -
In 1897, there came from the oil fields of Pennsylvania to Corsicana a young Irishman by the name of Joseph S. Cullinan. He is pictured to the left. His parents were born in Ireland. Cullinan found his life's work in the oil industry in Texas. The first pipeline and the first oil refinery in Texas were built by him in Corsicana. Cullinan also demonstrated to the railroads the use and value of petroleum as a fuel. He formed a company, the Texas Fuel Company. Soon, steamboat manufacturers were looking at the new fuel. Other industries that used a coal fired boiler were taking a look at the use of the cheaper oil fuel.
O'Brien, Higgins and Carroll -
The petroleum industry was still a small industry in Texas until a number of Irishmen teamed together. They ushered in the industrial age in Texas with the discovery of the biggest find of the early part of the twentieth century. It began when members of Spaight's Battalion in the Confederate service noticed oil and gas seeps around a favorite campsite on a mound in East Texas on the McFaddin Ranch. One of the Confederates who remembered those oil seeps was George O'Brien, pictured on the right, the man who gave his family back their original Irish name. O'Brien was a successful lawyer and newspaper owner who invested his success in land in the Beaumont area. One day he heard another Celt, a realtor, talk about oil. For some time now, this man, Patillo Higgins, was drilling in the Beaumont area looking for oil. He was out of money but not of the belief there was oil in the area. O'Brien decided to financially support Higgins if he would drill for oil on the mound on McFaddin's Ranch about three miles from Beaumont. This was not hard to accomplish as Higgins had also long believed the mound contained oil. Patillo Higgins' father, Robert James Higgins, was in the Beaumont area during the Civil War and was familiar with the mound. It was on that mound in 1863, after the Battle of Sabine Pass, that Higgins' father placed a flag for Dick Dowling to indicate a marshalling spot for all captured Union prisoners that might be caught in the area attempting to slip through Confederate territory.
Patillo Higgins, shown in the picture on the left, was quite a character, besides being convinced (sans formal training) there was oil in the Beaumont area he had learned the trades of his father, gunsmithing and silversmithing, by helping with his father in his shop. But that was not what he wanted to do. He organized the first brick manufacturing plant in East Texas at Vidor. It was with the profits from that successful business that financed Higgins' realty and oil activities.
When he was younger he was something of a rowdy. He lost an arm in a shootout with a deputy at the age of seventeen. The deputy was killed but Higgins was acquitted of the killing. Later in life Higgins raised an eyebrow or two when he married his adopted daughter. The name of the Oil company, Gladys, was in memory of his first love whom he did not marry.
A friend of O'Brien's, George Carroll another wealthy Irishman, who made his money in lumber, joined O'Brien in lending financial support to the project. George Carroll was politically active. He ran, unsuccessfully, for Governor of Texas and also for Vice President of the United States.
The mound on McFaddin's ranch presented engineering problems because of its marshy character. Higgins brought in another party, an experienced driller in this type of terrain, Anthony Lucas. Together, the three Celts, O'Brien, Higgins and Carroll (Lucas was Austrian, his wife, however, was the former Caroline Fitzgerald), formed a company known as the Gladys City Oil and Gas Manufacturing Company. The company needed some additional help and brought in the J. M. Guffy Company.
Two men of the period who were considered experts in the field of oil fields were Calvin Payne and William Kennedy. Other investors, noting what the Gladys company was doing and not wanting to miss out if there was oil, brought these men into Beaumont to assess the area for potential oil. They both declared unequivocally, there was no oil in the Beaumont area, nor anywhere near it.
Gulf, Texaco, Exxon and Mobil -
On the morning of January 10, 1901, the only derrick atop the mound called Spindletop, which was built by Henry McLeod for the Gladys company, struck a gusher! In its first year, the well produced 3.2 million barrels of crude oil. All the principals became rich. The J. M. Guffy Company bought out the others and eventually became known as the Gulf Oil Corporation.
Joseph Cullinan moved his company to Beaumont and searched for oil, found it and built a refinery at Port Arthur. That company became the Texas Company and then it became known as Texaco. Another principle in the company was W. J. McKie, Cullinan's attorney. Still another principal was William T. Campbell who, as a result of his association with the company, became a wealthy oilman.
His daughter, Sarah Campbell married Robert Lee Blaffer. Blaffer teamed with J. Cooke Wilson, of Irish and Scottish ancestry. They erected the seventeenth derrick at Spindletop. It came up a gusher. Wilson, Blaffer and Ross Shaw Sterling, whose mother was Mary Jane Bryan, teamed to form the Humble Oil Company, that is today the Exxon Company.
< Sarah Campbell Blaffer
Mrs. Blaffer, the former Sarah Campbell, in later life was a grand dame of Houston society and a major patron of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. She donated paintings by Renoir, Cezanne, Franz Hals, Vlaminck, and Soutine to the museum.
John Hepburn Blaffer, the only son of Robert Lee Blaffer and Sarah Campbell Blaffer, was a successful financier. Like his mother, he was a philanthropist. He and his wife donated a wing to the museum his mother helped to found.
Sarah Campbell's legacy has been furthered by her daughter the Princess von Fürstenburg (formerly Cecil Amelia Blaffer) who established a 3 million dollar charitable foundation which she merged with the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation. The foundation is best known for its "museum without walls" that brings famous paintings to the residents of rural communities.
Another company founded after Spindletop was the Magnolia Petroleum Company by John Sealy, Jr.. His father was discussed earlier as one of the founders of the port of Galveston. Sealy's grandfather was raised in Ireland. The Magnoia Oil Company built Dallas' first skyscraper, the Magnolia Building. John Sealy, Jr. sold the Magnolia Petroleum Company, which later became known as the Mobil Oil Corporation. For generations of Texans and Dallasites the "Flying Horse" on top of the Magnolia Building was the symbol of the city. In 1973, the Dallas City Council declared the sign a landmark.
Howard Hughes, Sr. -
There were others that came to Spindletop hoping to find a future in the oil business. One of these was an Irish inventor, and a former suitor of Sarah Campbell, Howard Robard Hughes. He is pictured to the left. Hughes invented tools for the petroleum industry. His most successful tool was the roller type bit that drilled through rock. His bit, and other tools, were successful and he was able to found a company known as the Hughes Tool Company.
George O'Leary -
Another company that served the oil industry was begun by George O'Leary in 1937 to rent equipment and supplies to the industry. His company was called Houston Oilfield Material Company, Incorporated, or HOMOCO. In 1959, it was still going strong under the leadership of J. Thomas Kenneally who changed the name to International Systems & Controls Corporation. Sales in 1975 were $310 million.
Houston owes its ranking as the headquarters in the Southwest for the oil industry to Joseph Cullinan. He moved the Texas Company from Beaumont to Houston in 1905, the first major oil company in Houston. Others followed. Cullinan built the biggest building in the Southwest to house his company. The building is the Petroleum Building. On Saint Patrick's Day, Cullinan flew an Irish flag from the building's flag pole. On other days, he raised the pirate skull and crossbones, the Jolly Roger flag. He told people he did so as a warning to remind them liberty is a right and not a privilege.
Joseph S. Cullinan is pictured to the right.
Cullinan's daughter, Nina Cullinan, continued a family tradition begun by her father. Joseph Cullinan was a civic leader and philanthropist. Where he gave generously to hospitals and clinics, Nina Cullinan's personal emphasis was in the arts and parks of Houston. She was a founding board member of the Contemporary Arts Museum, a founding patron of the Society for the Performing Arts, and a founding director of the Houston Ballet Foundation. She served on the Municipal Arts Commission and the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Art. She gave a generous grant to the Museum of Fine Arts and donated property for a city park. She continued her father's gifts to health organizations and explained her emphasis on the arts, "Certainly, human welfare is more important than art. I mean hospitals and other welfare considerations come first. But after you have cared for the essentials and after a person is rolling, he has to have some reason for existing. The arts - painting, music or reading - give meaning to life; they offer justification."
Hugh Roy Cullen -
The next Irishman who made it big in the oil industry came after the others left. His success was built upon finding oil in supposedly depleted fields. He was Hugh Roy Cullen, pictured to the left. His company developed a method of drilling past the heavy shale that collapsed in on drill holes and closed off access to any oil beyond it. His company was called the South Texas Petroleum Company. It became very successful and was bought out against Cullen's will by Humble Oil. Hugh Cullen went on to found another company, the Quintana Petroleum Company. His biggest discovery came when he was drilling a Quintana well on the O'Connor Ranch. His discovery made him a very wealthy man.
Hugh Roy Cullen and his wife were very generous with their wealth. Cullen's grandfather, Ezekial Cullen, was a Texas pioneer and one of the founders of the Texas public school system. Hugh Cullen continued this tradition when he began to make grants through the Cullen Foundation to the University of Houston. While taking a walk through the campus of this university, one is overwhelmed what this man did to further this institution. The Cullen name is on so many of the university buildings. There were two other areas in which the Cullens were generous with their wealth. Through the Cullen Foundation, which stood in line only behind the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations in its largess, the Cullens gave generous grants to organizations supporting health and the arts. One day in 1945, the Cullens gave away $4.5 million to four Houston area hospitals in 48 hours.
Glenn McCarthy -
The man who most epitomized the Hollywood image of a Texas wildcatter was Glenn Herbert McCarthy. In fact, the definitive motion picture on the subject, Giant, was released in 1956 and was based loosely on events in his life, and was written from the novel by Edna Ferber. Two different stars played the man that was Glenn McCarthy. Rock Hudson played the family man side of McCarthy, and Jimmie Dean played the drinking, brawling side. In the movie they were two different men, but everybody who knew McCarthy knew they were one and the same man. Glenn H. McCarthy was born on Christmas Day in 1907 only a few miles from Spindletop. His father, Will McCarthy, worked as a driller in the oil field. In his younger days, Will McCarthy was a sparring partner for "Fighting Bob" Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons went on to knock out James J. Corbett on Saint Patrick's Day, 1897, and was declared the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World.
Glenn McCarthy worked odd jobs in the oil field as he was growing up and until he left to go to school. At school, Glenn was very much in demand. He played football very well. He ended up playing for three colleges: Tulane; Texas A&M, under no less than Coach Dana X. Bible; and at Rice. The same reason he played for so many schools finished his college career - injuries.
Glenn dropped out of school and went into business on his own. He owned two service stations. One day in 1930, while he was pumping gas, a rich girl, the daughter of a successful Texas oilman, Howard Lee, pulled into his station in a brand new Cadillac convertible. Glenn McCarthy was struck by her beauty and, she returned the interest. The Lee family did not approve of young McCarthy's interest in their daughter. McCarthy's family was a poor one. What could the owner of a gas station, who did not have a college education provide their daughter? Faustine was accustomed to the best! Despite the problems, Glenn and Faustine fell in love and wanted to get married. The couple eloped. While on that trip, Glenn made Faustine a promise. He vowed he would get rich without his in-law's influence, support, or money. He would do it on his own, and soon. Not long after that vow, Glenn McCarthy was down to his last buck. He was stalling the Sheriff of Conroe, Texas who was trying to shut down McCarthy's oil rig because his lease agreement had run out. Then, there was a rumble, a gurgle, and a gush, as money poured out the top of the derrick. It was the beginning of a string of good Irish luck for Glenn and Faustine McCarthy. By age 26, Glenn McCarthy was a millionaire plus. By the 1940's, he was known as the "King of the Wildcatters."
With his new wealth, Glenn McCarthy bought Faustine and himself a $400,000 mansion. McCarthy bought a bank that later became a series of banks known as the Bank of the Southwest. He bought an airline, Eastern Airlines. He bought a chemical company and named it the Shamrock Chemical Company. He bought a number of box cars to ship his chemicals, each with his name on it. Glenn McCarthy also bought a publishing company. As a boy, he delivered papers for the Houston Post-Dispatch newspaper. As an adult, he bought the paper and its twenty-two story building (now known as the Shell Building). He developed his own brand of whiskey and named it, appropriately, "Wildcatter." Glenn McCarthy produced a movie, The Green Promise. It starred veteran actor, Irishman Walter Brennan, and a new star, Natalie Wood.
McCarthy probably got into the movies business because of his friendship with Howard Hughes, Junior. Howard's father died and young Howard Hughes was given $35 million a year by his father's company for spending money. Howard Hughes liked the life in Hollywood. He invited his friend, Glenn McCarthy, to meet the stars, and taste la dolce vita (the sweet life). Hughes sold Glenn McCarthy a luxury airliner. McCarthy used it to fly around the world looking for the next big deal.
Two of McCarthy's biggest deal were right in Texas. The first was his plan to bring to Houston a professional football team. He would build a stadium, called the "Colosadium", to house the team. The stadium featured a sliding roof, and would seat 110,000 fans. The trouble with Glenn's deals were, he would sometimes lose his entire fortune on one scheme and have to start all over again before he could get to another.
The "Colosadium" idea came at a bad time and never got built. At least not by McCarthy. An enclosed statium was built for a Houston professional football team, the Houston Astrodome and it was a great success. There is a sliding roof stadium in Houston today that showcases the Houston Astros baseball team, but it came long after Glenn McCarthy had changed plans and built his second idea.
All Irishmen took pride in saying its name and seeing its splendor. Glenn McCarthy got back his bankroll and spent $21 million to build the Shamrock Hotel. He built the hotel a good distance from downtown, something unheard of at the time. The hotel had a shamrock motif, 63 shades of green colors in the interiors, the reception desk pen wrote in green ink, the Steinway piano in the lobby was green, out front, above the entrance, Irish flags flapped in the breeze. The Shamrock was something to see.
McCarthy spent one and a half million dollars on the grand opening to show off his hotel. The date was Saint Patrick's Day, 1949. He arranged for a sixteen car, Santa Fe Super Chief railroad train to bring the stars he had met in Hollywood to help him celebrate. There were a lot of Celtic stars in the group that came to the hotel celebration, including: Errol Flynn, Pat O'Brien, Maureen O'Hara, Ward Bond, Wallace Ford, Joan Davis, Walter Brennan, Ginger Rogers, MacDonald Carey, Andy Devine, and many more. There were other guests too: Hedda Hopper, Leo Carillio, Sonja Henie, Ruth Warick, Robert Stack, Edger Bergen, Chester Morris, Hedy Lamarr, and many more. Business leaders were also there including Eddie Rickenbacker of Eastern Airlines and Conrad Hilton of the Hilton hotel chain. Movie star Dorothy Lamour had a very successful radio show during these years and she agreed to bring it to the opening and broadcast live during the festivities. It was quite a night. Houstonians that were participants or observers talked about it for forty years.
The hotel had some interesting features. Its swimming pool was 165 feet by 142 feet. Once a water ski demonstration was given in the pool, complete with a power boat pulling the skiers. The Emerald Room rivaled Las Vegas in appointments and the talent that appeared. Headliners like Frank Sinatra, Burns and Allen, and Sophie Tucker entertained in the Emerald Room. There was a nationally broadcast radio show from the Emerald Room called "Saturday at the Shamrock." The show lasted four years, from 1949 through 1953. It was the only regularly scheduled national radio show to broadcast from Texas. Other than some of the performers already mentioned, the show featured Jack Benny, Liberace, the Marx Brothers, Rudy Vallee, Chill Wills, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Mel Torme, and many more. For many years the Ancient Order of Hibernians division in Houston had their annual Saint Patrick's Ball in the room. What was billed as "The world's biggest Saint Patrick's Day Party" was held in the hotel's convention hall.
Another outstanding feature of the Shamrock was the Cork Room. It was located on the top floor of the hotel. It was originally billed as a place for businessmen to make deals or to deal the cards. It quickly became the night spot of the Southwest. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, and Phyllis, Dorothy, and Chris McGuire; The McGuire Sisters were just a few of the names that played this famous, while it lasted, room.
McCarthy was a shrewd business man, he used every angle to cut a corner and make a buck. An example was told to me by John Garcia who was hired in 1949 to work the the laundry located in the basement of the hotel. Garcia, who worked for the Shamrock for 18 years, ran a route for the laundry and cleaners. He was told by laundry manager, R. C. Cooley, the off site laundry service paid the salary of all those in the laundry operation. In addition many of the hotel's employees enjoyed free cleaning of their clothes, including Glenn McCarthy and R. C. Cooley.
In 1983, Glenn McCarthy threw a party for all the long term Shamrock Hotel employees, even though he, himself, was no longer a part of the Shamrock's management. He sold it years earlier to the Hilton chain when McCarthy needed to raise another stake for another deal.
The Shamrock is gone now. It was torn down by the Medical Center who had bought it from the Hilton Hotel chain. Unfortunately, Glenn McCarthy lived to see it torn down in 1986. He always took pride in the building. He thought it a shame that a perfectly good structure, like the Shamrock, should ever come down.
Glenn said he built it to last 100 years. The wrecking crew publicly announced they would have the Shamrock down in two weeks. Twelve weeks later, they were still working on it. One year later, Glenn McCarthy died. He was buried in the Lee family plot at Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.
Paul "Red" Adair -
Another Texan, in the petroleum business who was of Celtic ancestry, is Paul Adair. His father, Charlie Adair, was a blacksmith in Houston when Paul was born in 1916. Paul Adair was caught up in the Depression. Like so many others, he dropped out of High School to help his family. Paul, or Red, as he was called because of the color of his hair, worked a number of different odd jobs. It was not until after he married that he started working on his first oil rig. Red Adair showed a lack of fear when wells blew out. While others ran, he stood his ground and watched and learned the nature of the beast. Red Adair naturally drifted into working with Scotsman Myron Kinley, who specialized in salvaging blown out oil wells. After several years of working with Mr. Kinley, Red Adair formed his own company, the Red Adair Company in 1956. His company began the roller coaster existence of all companies whose principal product is dependent on the free market. Red Adair became famous doing his job of putting out oil well blow outs, particularly wells on fire. Life Magazine did a story on Red Adair, and a movie was made about him and his company in 1969. The movie was called The Hellfighters and starred Irishman John Wayne as Red Adair. At the age of 73, Red Adair was still fighting oil fires. In 1988, he got a call to come to the North Sea off Aberdeen, Scotland. An offshore platform named the Piper Alpha had blown. Part of the structure fell into the sea; then an explosion set off a conflagration like no veteran on the scene ever saw. There were 226 men on the platform when the well blew; 100 men died and only 20% of the structure remained. Like the many, many times before, Red Adair got to the scene and ordered the necessary gear. He directed the operation to successfully contain the fire and then the well. After that Red Adair did something rare in his line of work, he retired. That was until 1991, when the war in the Persian Gulf ended with the Iraqis withdrawing from Kuwait, but not before they set afire every oilwell they could get find. Red Adair's company was one of three from Houston contracted by the O'Brien, Goins and Simpson Company of Midland. The Midland Company is a petroleum consulting company with long ties with Kuwait. Its president is Michael O'Brien. Adair's job was to help put out more than 600 oil well fires. Red guessed it would take up to three years to put all the flames out, more, if he did not get the equipment he needed from the slow moving Kuwaitis. Red's public complaints about the Kuwaiti's dragging their feet in providing needed equipment and support, resulted in the fires being extinguished within a year. The Kuwaitis eventually brought in 27 teams from 10 countries.
George Strake -
In 1931, the Conroe oil field came in where many of the experts said there was no oil. The man who believed there was and found the oil was George W. Strake. He wife was the former Susan Kehoe. The Strake's, like so many others in the oil industry, became very wealthy. Like many of those already discused they shared their wealth by establishing a foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Strake were very generous with their wealth. They established a 2,700 acre Boy Scout camp in Conroe, known as Camp Strake. They awarded many grants to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Houston, Texas. Strake Jesuit High School in Houston is named for this family in testimony to their support of the school. George Strake Jr. served as Secretary of State under Governor Bill Clemens.
Robert Kerr and Dean McGee -
In the 1940's the search for oil took oilmen offshore. Two Celts led the way. They were Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, and Dean A. McGee. They formed Kerr-McGee Oil Industries Incorporated. This company built the first off shore drilling platform. The company succeeded and became one of America's Fortune 500 companies.
J. C. Hurley -
J. Collier Hurley was another Irishman who made his money in oil. He did it in the 1950's. He was a bit of an eccentric, in that he only wore black suits. He would buy black shoes to match, but would only wear them five or six times. Then he would give them away and get another pair. He was very generous. In a year's time he would give out as many as 3,000 gifts. 1,000 of them would be neckties.
Other Celtic pioneers in the Texas oil business were James Robert Daugherty, David Patrick Donoghue, William Stamps Farish, and Marrs McLean.
In the late part of the century, Celts continued to be major players in the oil industry. In 1971, John McKinley was President of Texaco. He worked his way up from the refinery in Port Arthur begun by Joseph Cullinan. McKinley was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer in 1980.
In 1947, the President of Conoco Oil Company was L. F. McCollum. He brought Conoco into the international scene. At its peak, the company was operating in 30 countries. In 1964, McCollum was Chairman of the Board. After his successes, McCollum became a successful: banker, founding the Capitol National Bank; rancher, introducing the French Saler breed to Texas in 1975; and an investor. He became Chairman of the Baylor Medical College of Medicine in Houston. He put that entity on a sound financial basis with his fund raising abilities. He stepped down as chairman in 1982. Other charitable activities included serving as the chairman of Institute for International Education; the first chariman of the People-to-People Health Foundation which sponsored Project Hope, a hospital ship and Project Orbis, a converted DC-8 that serves as an eye hospital. Project Orbis has operated since 1981 and has trained more than 22,000 doctors and served tens of thousands of patients around the world.
< L. F. McCullom
Allen T. McInnes, in 1972, was Executive Vice President of Tenneco Oil. In 1992, Mike Walsh was Chairman of Tenneco, which at that time was the 27th largest industrial company in the United States. No longer just an oil company, Tenneco includes such diverse operations as Case Industries and Monroe Auto Equipment among its companies.
Baron Ricky di Portanova, a grandson of Hugh Cullen, continued some of the tradition of the Texas oilman. He owned a 32 bedroom, 32 bath, five kitchen, four swimming pool villa in Acapulco and a large estate in the exclusive River Oaks section of Houston. The River Oaks mansion had a glassed in yard complete with a swimming pool, above which hang chandeliers. House guests included the likes of the Henry Kissingers, Joan Collins, Jane Seymour, Kirk Douglas, Barbara Walters, Veronica Castro, Buss Aldrin. The di Portanova's are not on friendly terms with the Cullen family. The Baron is the son of Lillie Cranz Cullen, the second oldest of the Cullen children of Hugh Roy Cullen's five children. She met and married Paolo di Portanova in California in the early 1930's. Paolo was a bit actor and promoter who claimed to have a noble ancestry and used the title, Baron before his name when the occasion suited it. There were two sons to the marriage, Ricky and his brother Ugo, before it failed and there was a divorce. Paolo took his sons back to Italy with him. When Hugh Roy Cullen died in 1957, Ricky and Ugo began recieving large ($5,000.00) payments monthly from the Cullen estate. Ricky di Portnova decided to come to Texas to determine if what they were getting was all they were entitled to. The matter ended in a legal settlement in 1968 that provides Ricky and his brother a $1,000,000.00 payment monthly. The settlement and a 1980 law suit against the Cullen interests led to the estangement.
Baron Enrique di Portanova and wife Sandra at an event for children >
Another pioneer in the petroleum business was William Frank Buckley, Sr., whose specialty was in the law side of the business. His grandfather Buckley was born in Ireland. His father, John, was a longtime Sheriff in Duval County. John Buckley is pictured to the right. He grew up in the Spanish speaking community of San Diego, Texas. At the University of Texas he was the Editor of The Cactus. A graduate of the University of Texas, William Frank Buckley set up a law practice with his brothers Edmund and Claude. Their business became very successful on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. They bought the land for the University of Texas Newman Club. The law firm moved to Mexico City where it represented U. S. companies in Mexico. William Buckley left the law business to found the Pantapec Oil Company in Mexico. After a run in with the Obregon government, William Buckley found it necessary to leave Mexico in the 1920's. He went to New York and invested in Wall Street. Buckley was able to build a second fortune, eventually forming the Cawtawba Corporation.
< William F. Buckley Sr.
Two of his sons have gained fame in their own right. James L. Buckley was elected a United States Senator from New York, and has served as an Assistant Secretary of State. William F. Buckley Jr.'s fame is across a broader front. Like his other brothers and sisters, his early education was from private schools here and abroad. He attended college in Mexico and at Yale. At Yale he was very active in a number of things that would serve him well in later years; debating, writing, and politics. His career is very varied. He has been a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, a covert agent for the C.I.A., editor of one magazine and founder of another (National Review), candidate for mayor of New York, and a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly. Through it all, William F. Buckley, Jr., pictured on the left, emerged as a knight of the Right using his acquired skills as a national columnist, television interviewer and commentator, and author (14 nonfiction books, 4 novels and many, many magazine articles) to defend the conservative view and to attack liberal positions.
Thomas S. McIntosh was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zapata Off-Shore Company in 1985, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Zapata Corporation. Previous to joining Zapata, he was in management with Tenneco Oil Company.
In 1987, the community known as the oil patch pulled together like never before to help an oil town, Midland, help a little Irish girl who fell down an old shaft. Many of the key players in the drama, in which the whole world became involved as a spectator, were Irish. Lloyd Dunagan was the 911 operator who got the call from the scene. He was told that nineteen month old Jessica McClure fell into a shaft and was trapped. For the next 58 hours the world focused on Midland, Texas. Police got oil men onto to the scene quickly. They asked the Guy Robinson Rathole Company (a rathole is the name drillers give to the initial hole dug for a deep hole) to move from their work, drilling construction holes on a local road, to dig a parallel shaft six feet from one in which Jessica was trapped. Kragg Robinson and his men were on the scene from start to finish. Mark McBeath was one of the drillers using a pneumatic jack hammer to drill a cross shaft to where Jessica was trapped. The drilling ran into some bedrock that did not allow much progress. A special drill was sent from Pasadena, Texas by Naylor Industrial Services Incorporated. Naylor employee Bill McLister was one of the blasters who operated the device which shot a narrow, 35,000 pounds per square inch stream of water that cuts through seven inches of steel. Jessica was protected by the blast and accompanying heat buildup by an inflated bag. It was estimated Jessica McClure was reached about 14 hours earlier than she would have been with conventional techniques.
Jessica McClure at the rescue, as a little girl and as a woman
First physical contact with Jessica McClure was made by paramedic Robert O'Donnell. After much difficulty, he pulled her from the pipe. Jessica McClure is alive today because of the efforts of a lot of people, most of them from the oil patch, and many of them Celts.
An Austin petroleum geologist predicted, in June of 1991, another major oil field yet lies under Texas. Dennis McMurdie, despite the fact that no field has produced at the 100 million barrel level since 1971, said there was a billion barrel oil field under the rocky hills of Central Texas. As this book goes to press, none of the majors are listening, but some smaller companies are looking. Meridian Oil Company is one. They hit oil and reported the flow rate as on a par with the Prudhoe oil field and the North Sea oil field. Two of this centuries biggest finds.
Nicholas Joseph Clayton arrived in Galveston from his native Ireland in 1872. Clayton was the first professional architect in Texas. He built some of Texas' most beautiful buildings including: Saint Patrick's church, the "Old Red" Presbyterian church, and Grace Episcopal church all in Galveston. He also built the Bishop's Palace, the George Sealy home and some of the buildings on the Strand in Galveston. Clayton designed the Stafford Opera House in Stafford, Texas; the main building of Saint Edwards University and Saint Mary's cathedral in Austin; and many other striking buildings.
Maurice Joseph Sullivan was the City Architect for Houston, 1923-1928. He also designed the Villa De Matel in Houston, an estate for retired and convalescing sister of the Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word, as well as other church properties, schools and hospitals.
Trinity University in San Antonio was the design work of O'Neil Ford. The Tower of the Americas for the Hemisfair was also designed by him.
Albert Charles Finn, mentioned elsewhere, was born in Bellville, Texas. He designed the Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall, Main Post Office, the Rusk Building, the Gulf Building and the Foster Building in Houston. He supervised construction of the Rice Hotel there and helped in the design of Houston;s Lamar Hotel. He also designed buildings in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Hugh Burns was born in County Roscommon in 1846. He came to Texas and together with Irishmen George W. Burkett, and P. Murphy formed a railroad construction company that laid a substantial part of Texas' track. Burkett, of County Derry, Ireland, was a candidate for Governor of Texas in 1898 and 1902.
Sam A. Robertson began the San Benito & Rio Grande Valley Railroad in 1912, Because of its many offshoots it became known as the Spiderweb Railroad.
Jesse Andrews operated the world's largest lumber company in the 1920's (the Long-Bell Lumber Company). Andrews' mother was Helen McFerran.
John Henry Kirby, picture on the left, whose mother was Sarah Payne, established the Kirby Lumber Company in 1901. At its peak, the Company employed 16,500 employees, had twelve mills, and five logging camps. In 1929, John Henry Kirby donated land to the state which today is the John Henry Kirby State Forest, located in Tyler County. In 1986, the Kirby lumber empire was sold for $315,000,000.00.
Waymon McDonald, a graduate of the University of Texas and of their baseball program, became a professional player for the Milwaukee Braves in the '60s before he began a successful career as a mortgage banker with the Lumberman's Investment Corporation of which he became Chairman of the Board.
Farming and Food
D. L. McDonald brought the art of irrigation to the high plains of Texas and turned a dust bowl into a salad bowl.
William Early McDavitt was one of the principal developers of the Rio Grande Valley as a center for the production of vegetables and fruits. He and his brother Karl began the development in 1904.
1918 saw, in Houston, the founding of a coffee company by Herschel Mills Duncan. One of the brands developed by Mr. Duncan was Maryland Club coffee. Later generations of Texans have questioned the origins of the coffee because of its name; but it was first made in Texas. In 1958, Charles Duncan, Jr. assumed the Presidency of the Duncan Coffee Company which was later sold to Coca - Cola. Mr. Duncan served as Deputy Secretary of Defense for President Carter and as the Secretary of Energy. Returning to the company and serving on the board of Coca-Cola, Duncan became President of Coca-Cola in 1971. Today the company is run by Herschel Mills Duncan IV the great grandchild of the founder. Charles Duncan, Jr. >
John O'Quinn was the son of a car garage owner in Houston, Texas, John graduated from the University of Houston Law Center. John O'Quinn served as editor of the Houston Law Review, and won a state moot court championship. He was divorced and had no children. In 1999, the playing field at Robertson Stadium was named O'Quinn Field in honor of his generosity and support of the stadium renovations.
He made his name in handling plaintiff's litigation, among O'Quinn's biggest wins were a $1 billion verdict in 2006 against Wyeth Laboratory for its diet drugs, fen-phen, $17.3 billion tobacco settlement for the state of Texas, and $100 million for silicone breast implants made by Dow Corning. In total, O'Quinn is estimated to have won $1.5 billion for his firm, O'Quinn & Laminack. He was also noted for an extensive car collection.
In the early part of the century there was a very successful blacksmith shop in Houston. It was a partnership between C. James Stewart a blacksmith and Joe R. Stevenson, a woodworker. It has grown to become Stewart & Stevenson Services a Fortune 500 company that has learned to grow and diversify. C. Jim Stewart II is Board Chairman. He has overseen the company diversify into forklift distribution and service, aircraft maintenance, gas-fired generator distribution and service and become the world's largest distributor of diesel engines. Revenues in 1995 are expected to be in the area of $1 billion. In 1991, company President and Chief Executive Officer, Bob O'Neal announced the company's biggest contract ever, to build a new generation of tactical trucks for the United States Army. The initial contract was for $1.2 billion and called for 11,000 trucks to be built over five years. The U. S. Army has an option to procure 11,000 more. The trucks are built in a plant in Sealy, Texas.
Lykes Steamship Lines came to Galveston in the year 1907, but its Celtic connection came many years before. In 1875, Howell Tyson Lykes married Almeria Belle McKay, the daughter of Captain James McKay who was born in Thurso County, Caithners, Scotland. Captain McKay emigrated from Scotland to England, to Quebec, to Missouri, to court his boyhood sweetheart, Matilda Alexander, who was also born in Scotland, but whose family moved to America.
They were married in 1837 and lived in Mobile, Alabama. The couple soon moved to Tampa by way of shipwreck. The boat they were sailing on wrecked at the mouth of the Chassewiska River., The Lykes, and others on board, made their way inland to Tampa where the McKays ended up settling. Captain McKay began a shipping business. His ships stopped at New York, Mexico, and the West Indies. He established a profitable business sending cattle to Cuba. During the Civil War, Captain McKay operated a blockade runner for the Confederates. The business passed to Captain McKay's son-in-law, Howell Tyson Lykes. Doctor Howell Tyson Lykes ran the business for many years and made it the Lykes Steamship Lines. Doctor Lykes and his Scottish wife had a large family, nine boys and two girls. Seven of the brothers continued in the family business.
One of them opened an office for the company in Galveston, in 1907. James McKay Lykes was the brother who brought the company to Texas. James McKay Lykes is pictured to the right. He married Genevieve Parkhill who had an Irish and Welsh ancestry. Her great grandfather, John Parkhill, came over from Ireland in 1800. When he came, all his worldly possessions were packed in a black horsehair trunk bound with iron bands. The trunk became an important part of the lives of the Parkhill family. It seemed whichever family was in possession of the trunk when one of its women were pregnant, would have a baby boy. It was shipped across the country many times and never failed to work its charm. Once it was taken out of a house to insure a girl and sure enough, the baby was a .... ......girl!
As the Lykes Brother's business grew, they encountered competition. They merged with this competition and operated as the United Steamship Company. By 1910 the Lykes Brothers bought out the others and were again operating as the Lykes Brothers Steamship Line.
Another of the Lykes brothers married an Irish girl when Joe Lykes married Margaret Keenan in 1915. By 1916, six of the brothers were married. In 1922, James McKay Lykes was named President of the company. An 1940 an editorial in the Houston Post stated just how important the Lykes company was to the city:
The Lykes Brothers Steamshipline Company has played an important role in the upbuilding of Port Houston. Lykes ships carry a goodly portion of the commerce which has raised this port to high ranking in the nation and the world.
James McKay Lykes died in 1943 and his brother Joe became President. The son of Joseph T. Lykes and Margaret Keenan, J. T. Junior, later became President and then Chairman of the Board of the company.
Bartram Kelley shown to the left, was a pioneer of the helicopter industry. Together with Arthur M. Young they developed the first commercially viable helicopter for Bell Helicopter in 1941. The model 30 was capable of forward speeds of 70 mph. Their next model with its bubble canopy, ski landing rear and open tail boom was the first helicopter certified by the FAA.
In 1995, after 90 years in Galveston, Earnest Connor, the Port of Galveston manager announced the company was closing the Galveston office and moving the operation to Barber's Cut of Port of Houston.
Samuel F. Cody, no relation to Buffalo Bill Cody, was a man with a varied career. He was born in Birdville, now a part of Fort Worth, in 1861. He was born on a ranch and became a cowboy. In 1887, he joined a Wild West show where he was known as "Captain Cody, King of the Cowboys. Cody's performance included shooting, roping, and horse back riding. Hearing of Buffalo Bill Cody's success in the European circut, Sam Cody went to London and started his own Wild West show. His show toured the continent for many years. The highlight of his show business career was his troups performance of a western melodrama Sam Cody wrote about his experiences in the Alaskan Gold Rush of 1883. Cody's melodrama was entitled The Klondyke Nugget. It had a run of five years.
< Samuel F. Cody
During his free time, Samuel Cody experimented with kites. He was taught the art of kite-making by a Chinese cook on the Texas cattle trails. The British War Office became interested in Cody's hobby when it became known Cody built a kite that carried him to an altitude of 1,000 feet. The British wanted such kites as observation platforms in case of war. Sam Cody sold the British Army some of his kites and taught the soldiers how to fly them, or more correctly, how to make the kites lift the soldiers and maintain a height from which they could make observations.
Settling in England with an English wife, Cody closed out his western show and concentrated on a career in aviation. He studied all he could about what the Wright brothers were doing and adapted it to his kites. In 1907, Cody built a kite that was gasoline powered. He next turned his attention to construction of a dirigible. He built one called the Nulli Secundus. The Cody dirigible set a record flying from Farnborough to London. By 1918, Sam Cody's first airplane was in the air, it was called the Army Aeroplane I as Cody was trying to interest the British Army into purchasing several of them. In a 1912 competition for an army contract, Cody built several designs one of them a monoplane. One of his designs was selected, and so the cowboy from Texas entered British aviation history as one of its earliest pioneers.
In 1928, Retha McCulloh was the first woman pilot to be awarded an American issued pilot's license in Texas. The twenty-two year old aviatrix was a fourth grade school teacher. Pictured to the right and left you see her with standard gear for an aviatrix: high boots, jodphurs, goggles, leather helmet and a leather jacket.
Thomas E. Braniff's Irish predecessors came to America and worked their way West. He was born in Kansas in 1883. Braniff moved to Oklahoma where his business success was in insurance. He built Oklahoma City's first skyscraper. He went on to found an airline in 1927-1928. It was the first airline in the Southwest. Braniff Airlines was the only major airline named after its founder. In 1956, Braniff was the sixth largest airline in the United States. Braniff Airlines was headquartered in Dallas. The Braniff aircraft above is a Lockheed Vega.
Douglas Corrigan and his Curtiss Robin which took him the "wrong way"
In 1938, Douglas Corrigan, a native of Galveston, became famous for going the wrong way. Only 10 other pilots had copied Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight and Corrigan wanted to be the eleventh. He flew from Long Beach, California to New York to seek permission to make the trans-Atlantic flight. Even though the flight from Long Beach was, in fact, longer than the one proposed to Paris, the U.S. Department of Commerce would not grant him permission to make the attempt because of the condition of his plane. Corrigan fueled up and said he was flying back to to California from Brooklyn. When he landed in Baldonnel, Ireland near Dublin, he said he inextricably lost his bearings .
Herb Kelleher founded Southwestern Airlines in 1967. A low-fare airline that is the most successful U.S. airline flying today.
There was in Houston a successful business woman whose Celtic connection was hidden by her married name. Mrs. Niels Peter Esperson, the former Mellie Keenan, assumed the management of her husband's companies in 1922, after the death of her husband. She built the Majestic Theater in Houston which opened in 1923. To many generations of Houstonians that was a very important building, it provided a portal through which many a youngster, and adult, saw the world.
< Mellie Keenan Esperson
Mellie Esperson built the Niels Esperson Building. Her husband Niels had intended the building to be erected to celebrate his success in the oil industry. He died before that could happen but his widow saw that it was completed. At the time of its completion in 1927, it was Houstons first skyscraper, the tallest building in Texas and the third tallest in the United States.
.................................The Esperson Building in Downtown Houston >
The building is described as being Italianate. It is 32 stories high, topped by a small classical temple. The Niels Esperson Building features setbacks, balustrades, urns, and outdoor terraces. In 1941, Mrs Esperson completed the Mellie Esperson Building which stands beside the Niels Esperson Building. The Esperson buildings are two of Houston's finest buildings.
Robert James Cummins was born in Montmellick, Ireland in 1881. He came to Texas in 1910. A civil engineer, Cummins was for 25 years a member of the Houston Port Commission. He also played a part in the design of other ports, most notably Brownsville and Corpus Christi. Cummins was also a consultant on the San Jacinto Monument.
Another civil engineer to serve Texas who had a Celtic connection was Gibb Gilchrist. His father was Angus Jackson and his mother was the former Katherine Douglass. Gibb Gilchrist was the State of Texas Highway Engineer during the building of most of its highways in the 1920's and 1930'. During his tenure, beautification of highways and roadside parks were introduced. Gilchrist, Texas was named for him.
Jesse H. Jones' family came to America from Wales in about 1656. They settled in Virginia. The family moved with the frontier. They moved to North Carolina where a John Jones was one of the commissioners of the Watuga Association. The family became closely tied to that of James Robertson and moved to Tennessee where they founded Jonesboro. Jesse Jones came to Texas in 1898. He was a manager in the family lumber business. He made Houston his home and business headquarters. Jesse H. Jones built a successful business that grew from lumber to construction and real estate, and included banking. If it can be said any one man built Houston, that man would be Jesse H. Jones. Jesse Jones is pictured to the left. He was active in getting the port of Houston developed, he was one of the founders of Humble Oil; Jones built Houston's first skyscraper, and then thirty four more. It is doubtful any one man ever owned as many. Jesse Jones also built buildings in other cities, several in Dallas and Fort Worth, including the Worth Theater.
A building he took great pride in was the Rice Hotel which he liked to point out he built on the site of the former capitol of Texas when it was in Houston. Other landmarks built by Jones in Houston include: the Kirby Building, named for John H. Kirby; the Milam Building, which he named for fellow Welshman, Ben Milam; the Rusk Building, named for Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Jones was an unselfish man giving his time to be a manager for the Red Cross, head the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and then the Commerce Department, and the Texas Centennial for Texas Governor James V. Allred.
As head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Joes was second in fiscal power only to FDR. He revolutionized the American credit system as federal loan administer during the war. He served the Commerce Department well when he accepted an appointment as the Secretary of the department in 1940. Jones was being considered for Roosevelt's Vice President running mate in 1945, when he made known he stood with fellow Texans led by then Vice President John Nance Garner on the Supreme Court issue.
Houston remembered Jones for his contribution when it dedicated the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in his memory. Jones, as Chairman of the Building Committee, saw to the building of Houston's first public hall for the arts, the Municipal Auditorium. That building stood on the site where Jones Hall now stands. The construction of the Jesse H. Jones Hall was accomplished in large part because of Jesse H. Jones' nephew, John T. Jones. John T. Jones helped to build Jesse Jones Hall in his role as Chairman of the Houston Endowment. He has helped keep first rate performances a part of the hall by founding what has become the Society for the Performing Arts, a non-profit organization that sponsors quality music, dance and theater events at Jones Hall. The organization has fulfilled this role for more than 26 years, since the dedication of the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Perfoming Arts.
Another structure honoring Jesse H. Jones is a major bridge over the Houston Ship Channel, part of the Sam Houston Parkway.
During World War II, John T. Jones was captured by the Germans and sent to a German prison camp. Winifred Jones, his wife, a unique person who did not sit and accept, but rather stood and took action, decided she would find a way to be in Europe and find her husband. She joined the Red Cross and got to Europe and while she did not see him while a prisoner, she was there to greet him and welcome him back to his family. Mrs. Jones served on the Board of Regents for Texas Woman's University from 1953 - 1964. In 1963, she became the first woman in Texas to chair a board of regents. Winifred Jones was Irish. Her mother was Zoe O'Neil.
Bonnie McConnell ran away from home when she was sixteen. She married, became a housewife, mother, scout den mother, and Little League supporter. She later divorced and needed to find a way to support herself and family. She found it in remodeling homes. She graduated to building homes. She is, today, a successful homebuilder and developer.
Tom O'Connor, the rancher, started a new breed of cattle when, in 1910, he gave the King Ranch a short horned Brahman bull. The bull was bred with some local stock. This led to the Santa Gertrudis breed of cattle.
The Waggoner Ranch, which is almost the size of Rhode Island, is the largest single tract of privately owned land in Texas. The ranch was established by Daniel Waggoner, whose mother was the former Elizabeth McGaugh.
C. T. McLaughlin purchased the Diamond M Ranch, about 12 miles east of Snyder in west Texas, in 1934. He raised gaited horses and purebred Herefords. Oil was discovered on his ranch and made him a wealthy man. Over the next thirty years, McLaughlin collected art treasures one would not expect to find in West Texas.
Today the collection is housed in the Diamond M Museum in Snyder. Mr. McLaughlin shares his treasures with the many visitors to the museum through his Diamond M Foundation. Among the many works of art are works by: Frederick Remington, Andrew Wyeth, N. C. Wyeth, Currier and Ives, W.H.D. Koerner, Charles M. Russell, George Phippen, Glenna Goodacre and Dwight Roberts, to name a few of them. There is a priceless ivory collection and an equally beautiful and pricelss jade collection that will stun you with their beauty and intricate detail.
The U Up U Down Ranch in the Davis Mountains provided the property for the McDonald Observatory. The property was donated by Violet Locke McIvor. The McIvor family sold the 39,000 acre, 115 year old ranch, in 1997, to the National Nature Conservancy of Texas. Niki Frances McDaniel, a spokeswoman for the Conservancy says that many many species of plants and animals found in the Davis Mountains are not found elsewhere in Texas and there are some not found anywhere else on the planet. It is the goal of the Conservancy to preserve a portion of the ranch for conservation and research.
< The observation domes at the McDonald Observatory
Two other famous and large Texas ranches with a Celtic connection are the Burnett and Reynolds Ranches in North Texas.
In 1985, The American Horse Shows Association named Tom and Rhita McNair, Horseman of the Year, and Horsewoman of the Year. It was the first time a husband and wife won both awards, and the first time both awards were awarded individuals associated with Arabian horses. The McNairs raise and train Arabian horses on their ranch near Pinehurst, Texas.
Samuel Ezekiel Allen, who was related to the Callihan family, was, in 1913, one of the biggest taxpayers in Harris County. He operated the Allen Ranch along Buffalo Bayou.
Charles E. McMahen came to Houston fresh off a McKanie, Arkansas farm. He rose through the banking ranks to become Vice Chairman of Cmpass Bank and CEO of Compass Banks of Texas. Charles E. McMahen is pictured to the left. He is also a respected rancher and one time head of the Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association and Head of the University of Houston Board of Regents
G. O. Daugherty founded, in 1923, in Colorado, Texas, the G. O. Daugherty Co., a cotton merchandising firm that moved to Kenedy the next year. For many years after that the firm was one of the more important cotton companies in the United States.
Christie Flanagan and Company was organized in 1946. Mr. Flanagan's son, Christie Flanagan, Jr., earned himself quite a reputation as a football player at Notre Dame playing for Knute Rockne. After college, the younger Christie Flanagan began a coaching career before following his father's lead in the company.
Patrick Sylvestor McGeeney, known as the Purple Sage, founded the Shamrock Photoplay Corporation in San Antonio in 1917 and went on to produce many silent films made in San Antonio and some of the surrounding areas. McGeeney originally founded the Lone Star Company, a film production company in 1915. This company was reorganized into Shamrock in 1917. He was always talking about San Antonio to anyone who would listen. He made many trips to Hollywood and was responsible for four big budget pictures being filmed in and around San Antonio in the 1920's, including "Wings" with Gary Cooper's first appearance. Wings was the first picture to win an Academy Award for Best Picture of the year, 1927. Others included The Big Picture, The Rough Riders, The Warrens of Virginia.
In 1924, a young man began a career with Interstate theaters. By 1948, Bob O'Donnell was General Manager of the Interstate Circuit.
Gordon B. McClendon, the old Scotchman, founded a radio empire. He was the originator of many sport broadcasting techniques. His broadcasting empire later included television stations.
Joseph McDonald was President of the A.H. Belo Corporation from 1980-1983.
Newspapers and Publishing
In 1925, Ross Sterling bought the Houston Post and merged it with another paper known as the Houston Dispatch. He built the 22 story building known as the Post-Dispatch Building, which Glenn McCarthy later bought. Sterling also built an almost exact likeness of the Whitehouse in Morgans Point on Galveston Bay. The home is still there. The original inspiration for both the White House and the Sterling home is Leinster House which houses the Irish Parliament in Dublin,Ireland
Jarrell McCracken founded WORD publishing in Dallas in 1951, by 1985 the business had annual sales of 60 million dollars.
In 1920, Harry Cameron was one of the founders of the Cameron Iron Works. The company specialized in oil field equipment manufacturing. The other founder was fellow Scotsman James Smither Abercrombie. An ancestor of James Ambercrombie, John Abercrombie, was in the Battle of Galveston. Jim Abercrombie helped to found Texas Children's Hopital and the Pin Oaks Horse Show. His daughter, Josephine Abecrombie, one of Texas' brightest businesswomen, first gained fame in the public eye displaying her abilities as a horsewoman in the annual Pin Oaks show. Josephine >
< Mr. Jim Abercrombie
An important executive with Cameron Iron was Ralph McCullough.
Otis John McCullough and his brother I. J. McCullough founded the McCullough Tool Company in 1926.
Calvin Curlee McGaugh founded McGaugh Hosiery Mills in 1931.
On Saint Patrick's Day in 1935, Lester T. Moore founded the Moore Paper Company.
Though not founded in Texas, it is nonetheless a Texas institution in the small towns of Texas, the local DQ (Dairy Queen). Diary Queen in Texas was, in part, the result of the proprietor of an Iowa ice cream company. J. F. "Grandpa" McCullogh's search for a way to make ice cream come out of a spigot - soft, took more than ten years. He ended up owning the rights to manufacture the machine and appointing franchisees to use them in Illinois, Wisconsin and states west of the Mississippi. He selected the Texas franchisee in 1947.
Frank Wilkins McBee, Jr. was a co-founder of the defense contracting laboratory in Austin known as Tracor.
The President of Lone Star Gas, the company is now called Enserch, in 1970-1977 was William C. McCord.
In 1948, Eugene (Gene) Malloy founded Malloy's Cash Register Company in Houston. It grew to become one of the largest independent cash register companies in the United States.
Bob McCulloch founded the Texas Engineering and Manufacturing Company in Dallas. His parents still lived in Scotland at the time. That company went on to become TEMCO, and then a part of the Ling-Temco-Vought Company. Bob McCulloch was a part of the Dallas conglomerate that went on, in the early seventies, to become the 15th largest company in the United States.
...................................................................................................Robert McCulloch >
Developers and Real Estate
Will Hogg, son of former governor Jim Hogg, helped found the Ex-Student Association of the University of Texas. Will Hogg also gave generously to the building of the Student Union and Memorial Stadium on the University of Texas Campus. Will Hogg funded the construction of the Houston YWCA. The Houston YWCA's first president was Mrs. W. A. McDowell. Will Hogg and his brother, Mike, developed River Oaks in Houston. River Oaks is considered Houston's most exclusive home community. The Hogg brothers also sold to the city of Houston, at cost, the land that is now Memorial Park, the city's biggest park.
< Will Hogg
James Delaney, President of the Rand Development Company in San Antonio, a successful real estate company, used his talents and money to work on behalf of Ireland. He created, in 1983, a foundation to assist Irish businesses.
John Daugherty is a successful realtor based in Houston. He specializes in the homes of the jet set.
Another successful Houston realtor who is Irish and culitvated the upper echelon's of Houston society is Madeline (Griffith) O'Brien.
J. R. McConnell was a developer of note in Galveston in the late 1980's.
Ima Hogg, daughter of Jim Hogg, managed the Hogg Foundation, which in turn funded the Houston Civic Center, the River Oaks Corporation, The Houston Club, the Houston Country Club, and the Museum of Fine Arts, to mention a few. Miss Hogg also founded the Houston Symphony.
< Miss Ima Hogg in her twenties
Buffalo Bend > ...
Another project of hers was the restoration of her childhood home, the Varner-Hogg Plantation which, is now a state park. Her home, Buffalo Bend, is now a museum. Miss Hogg also donated the Winedal Museum in Austin and its contents to the University of Texas. Ima Hogg was a very active and gracious lady. In 1948 she was voted the first woman President of the Philosophical Society of Texas. In 1963, Ima Hogg was the first recipient of the Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award, and, in 1968, the first recipient of the Santa Rita Award. The latter is the highest award of the University of Texas System. Ima Hogg was the doyenne of Texas culture.
Cal Farley was a noted athlete in the Amarillo area. He was the World Welterweight Champion of wrestling in the 1920's. He came to Amarillo in 1923 to play baseball for the local minor league team. He became a successful businessman in the area. In 1939, he took a part of his money and founded Cal Farley's Boy's Home. The Boy's Ranch, as it is called today, opened for nine boys in 1939. By 1970, over 2,500 boys were clothed, fed, educated, and stabilized because of his unselfishness. They came from every state in the Union and several foreign countries.
< Statue of Cal Farley with a boy on the property of the Cal Farley Boys Ranch
Carr Collins was one of the most successful insurance men of Texas. He established the Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company. For years the building he built to house his company dominated the Dallas skyline.
William Clay McCord founded Southern National Life Insurance Company, in Dallas, in 1942.
Howard Hughes, Junior, son of the man who founded Hughes Tool Company, was mentioned earlier as a friend of Glenn McCarthy. He was an entrepreneur before the term was in general use. He bought and sold many companies, building an empire that included R.K.O. Movie Studios, Transworld Airways, and Hughes Aircraft Corporation. Hughes personally set several world aviation records. He built the world's largest airplane ever, the "Spruce Goose." The man assigned as head of the "Spruce Goose" was Neil S. McCarthy. Howard Hughes was a tragic man who lived, in the beginning, a most flamboyant lifestyle, and in the end, one of a recluse. He loved the life in Hollywood and was a part of its heyday. The women of his life were the stars and starlets of the screen. In his later years, Hughes withdrew from people and life. He died a lonely man, albeit one of the world's richest.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, founded by Howard Hughes in 1953, is the nation's richest private philanthopy with seven billion dollars in assests. That makes it second only to the U.S. government's National Institute of Health as sponsors of medical research. The institute had, in 1992 under then Director Dr. Maxwell Cowan, 223 investigators including four Nobel laureates. It spent $250 million on research or about 27% of the total private, non-profit support for bio-medical research spent in the country.
Sarah McClendon was the daughter of Sidney Smith McClendon who came to Texas on stagecoach from Monroe, Louisiana. Sarah's father was active in Democratic politics and was appointed Postmaster of Tyler, Texas after the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Sarah was the youngest of nine children. She graduated from journalism school and went to work for a small paper in Tyler, Texas. After working at another paper in Beaumont and service in the Women's Army Corps, she joined a news bureau in Washington D.C.. In Washington, Sarah Married a man by the name of O'Brien. Both the marriage and the man were gone when daughter, Sally O'Brien was born. In 1933, Sarah decided to open her own Washington wire service working as a correspondent covering the White House and the Capitol for small Texas newspapers. Sarah McClendon has covered the White House ever since, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to George Walker Bush. She was often seen in the president's televised news conferences asking difficult and often pointed questions. Sarah McClendon >
Two examples follow. It was Sarah McClendon who asked Eisehower's press secretary, Jim Hagerty, about Sherman Adams' vicuña coat that revealed a scandal in Eisenhower's administration. It was Sarah McClendon who revealed the Bobby Baker scandal in the Lyndon Johnson administration. She also revealed the Department of Agriculture's cover up with regard to Billy Sol Estes.
President Ronald Reagan broke with a longstanding tradition in 1986 when instead of taking the first question from the senior wire service reporter, he took the first question from 78 year old Ms. McClendon, who recently returned to her beat from hip surgery. Sarah McClendon has covered nine United States Presidents and everyone of them knew the outspoken Celt would ask questions no one else dared. For that she earned the respect of the Presidents, their staffs, and her peers, most all of it grudgingly.
Harold J. Campbell was an executive of the International Division of Proctor & Gamble based in Mexico City. Mr. Campbell also served on the board of several Mexican subsidiaries of U. S. companies including: Anderson Clayton, Gillette, General Motors, and the Chrysler Corporation. In 1973, together with other investors which he brought together, Harold Campbell purchased Mexico City's Coca Cola Bottling Company. It was Coca Cola's largest subsidiary in the world. Mr. Campbell retired in Texas where most of his family was located in 1986.
Clint Murchison was of Scottish ancestry. He started his career early by selling racoon and possum skins as a boy. He kept buying and selling and wheeling, and dealing until he accumulated a sizeable fortune. Most all of it with credit. He first became a millionaire, along with his boyhood friend Sid Richardson, as an oil lease man. In putting together the many deals, Murchison used to say he figured a man was worth about twice what he owed. He and Sid used to brag to one another about how much they owed.
A cover story of Time Magazine, in May of 1954, proclaimed that Murchison "...having made his millions in oil, he is now using them to further the popular Texas ambition of buying up the rest of the U.S.." A map of the United States accompanied the story and showed Murchison had holdings in 17 other states including hotels, drive-in movies, and even water tanks. At one time, Clint Murchison owned controlling interest in 117 companies including, the New York Central Railroad.
Clint Murchison had two sons, John and Clint, Jr.. John won the Distinguished Flying Cross flying P-40s in World War II in the China-Burma-India theater. Clint, Jr. graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college. Both boys assisted their father in his business when they graduated from college. Eventually, he gave them some of the business to run on their own. This they did and very well. They learned their father's method very quickly of never using their own money and to borrow what they needed. It was not long before their company, Murchison Brothers, was bigger than the seed companies their dad gave them. Together, the brothers bought and sold companies, or percentages of companies, at a profit. They then went out and bought bigger companies. The brothers biggest deal was the two and a half year, successful take over of a New York holding company, the Allegheny Corporation. It was the biggest, most bitter proxy fight in Wall Street history. The Murchison brothers went up against a team that had more money and floors of high-priced lawyers. The Murchisons outsmarted their learned and rich adversaries and took home the prize.
In June of 1961, the Murchison brothers, like their father only seven years earlier, where on the cover of Time magazine. All the brother's deals were mutual, even though one brother appeared to be the principal in a deal. John, for instance, led the company into purchasing the property and developing the ski resort at Vail, Colorado. Clint, Jr. purchased a Caribbean island, Spanish Cay.
There was one purchase made by Clint, Jr. that did set him off from John, although John financially shared in the purchase. The purchase was for a National Football League (NFL) franchise for Dallas. Originally Clint, Jr. tried to buy the Washington Redskins and move them to Dallas. Plans were well along; he purchased the rights to the Redskin's fight song Hail to the Redskins, when at the last minute the deal fell through. Clint, Jr. decided to lobby for one of the new franchises the NFL was going to offer in an expansion move. It appeared he would have it, needing only approval of the present owners of the other NFL teams. When he learned the vote hinged on the Redskin organization which intended to vote down the offer, Clint, Jr. offered the Redskins their fight song back if, they would vote to award him the franchise. The deal was cut and the Dallas Rangers were born. But wait, there was already a Texas League professional baseball team in the Dallas area known as the Rangers. Another name would have to be selected. There was also another professional football team in Dallas. Lamar Hunt took the name Texans for the American Football League franchise he brought to Dallas. He bet the NFL would not give a franchise to Dallas. The NFL did and 36 year old Clint, Jr. paid $600,000.00 for the franchise team in 1960.
It was decided to call the new team, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys started slow, very slow. Things began to change when they brought in a young quarterback of Welsh ancestry from local Southern Methodist University. His name was Don Meredith. "Dandy Don" began to fill the Cotton Bowl seats and the team began to build confidence and a solid organization. Before you could say "Tom Landry, the only coach the Cowboys' ever had"(something that was said for many, many years), the Cowboys were "America's Team."
Tom Landry, the Dallas Cowboy coach was from Mission, Texas. His home was on Dougherty Street and the main street in town was Conway Street. Landry has a Celtic connection, his grandmother, Lillian Celena Anderson. Landry's story and fame in football began in Mission on the High School football team. From there Tom Landry went on to play football for the University of Texas and then on to a professional carrer with the New York Giants. He came back to Texas when his playing days were done to coach the Dallas Cowboys for Clint Murchison, Jr. Tom Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years. He brought them from an expansion franchise team to the top of the NFL.
By the late sixties, the Cowboys were playing in a brand new state of the art stadium, that for some reason was never finished (the stadium seats on four sides have a roof, but there is no roof over the playing field). In the 1970's and 1980's, the Cowboys were the best known team in football. The aother Dallas team, the Dallas Texans, had long ago packed their bags and become the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cowboys became known the world over. Even their cheerleaders were famous.
Clint, Jr. built a 43,500 square foot mansion and began to enjoy his success. It all came apart for the Murchisons for the same reasons it went together, credit. Clint Murchison, Sr. and the Murchison brothers used profits to buy land which they used to secure credit for bigger and better deals. The whole empire started and rested on the original oil money. When oil and real estate prices fell in Texas in the 1980's, and interest rates increased on new money and on their debt, the Murchison money pyramid toppled. John Murchison, Jr., son of Clint's brother John, who died, moved to protect his trust. His sisters and mother did the same. Like McCarthy and many more, the Murchisons had to sell some of their prized possessions to try to hold on to some of their wealth. The Dallas Cowboys football team was sold in 1983 for $83,000,000.00. While that price realized a great profit for the family, it was not enough. The company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy by creditors.
James G. Donovan was the city attorney for an area of Houston known as Houston Heights before it was annexed by Houston. Donovan founded, together with his daughter, Marcella, a financial institution that became known as Heights Savings. In 24 years, its assets went from nothing to $100,000,000.00. Marcella Donovan, now Marcella Perry, emerged as one of Houston's civic leaders.
Charles E. McMahon was President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Bancshares in 1981.
Ewell E. Murphy was President of the Houston World Trade Association from 1972 until 1974.
The President, and then Chairman of the Board, of the Chemical Bank in Houston, in the 1970's, was Michael G. Murphy.
John Sayers Redditt, whose great uncle was Governor Joseph Sayers, was one of the founders of Winn's Variety Stores in 1947. He later was Chairman of the Texas Highway Commission and a member of the University of Texas Board of Regents.
Jean McFadden, from Lufkin, is responsible for getting down the street the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Jim McIngvale began a furniture store under a tent in Houston. He began to appear in late night television spots touting his store. In the commercials, McIngvale, or "Mattress Mac" as he is also called, would always end his pitch by jumping straight up as he drew money from a back pocket and said "...SAVE YOU MONEY." The ads brought McIngvale a cult following, and lots of business. His business became so successful, so quickly, it drew a mention in a Time magazine article.
A good citizen of the Houston community, McIngvale and his wife, Linda have given much back to the community that made them successful. The McInvale's have contributed millions to community causes. They sponsored Black History Night at the Houston Rodeo. He and his wife are always among the big bidders for the rodeo's livestock auction which benefits students. McIngvale organized the tribute in the Astrodome to the Houston Rockets for winning the NBA crown in 1994 and again in 1995. When Selena was murdered and many of the Hispanic and other members of the Houston community were wanting a tribute to her memory, he gave it to them.
An early supporter of Houston's contingent in the U. S. women's Olympic's gymnastic program, McIngvale got involved in the olympics in a big way. He went to Atlanta in 1996 and hosted a hospitality suite to do his part to try and bring the olympics to Houston at a later date.
John M. McCormack founded the company known as Visible Changes.
Mollie Wright Abernathy, the daughter of the former Elizabeth Neal, was the first woman in Texas to practice optometry and the second n the United States. She was President of the Texas Optometric Association in 1923-1924 and first editor of the Texas Optometrist. In her lifetime she was awarded every award the national and state optomeric associations had.
Charles R. Campbell was a President of the San Antonio Academy of Medicine. He was noted for his early studies on the mosquito as a disease carrier.
McKnight Sanitorium was named for Joseph Banning McKnight.
Charles Kenneth McAllister was commanding officer of Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio during 1980-1983.
Doctor Edward H. Cary was President of the American Medical Association in 1931. He also was one of the founders of Baylor Medical School.
Doctor John Philip McGovern, pictured on the right, was known as an allergist, but he was also a teacher. In his practice, teaching a class or, leading a seminar, he excelled in his field. His list of honors fills two pages. Suffice it to say, the Texas School Health Association established an award in his name in 1977 and made him the first recipient. His name reflects the genrrosity with which he has providedin many places: there is the John P. McGovern Hall of the Americas in the Museum of Natural Science, the John P. McGovern Building houses theMuseum of Health and Medical Sciences as well as the McGovern Theater, the John P. McGovern Historical Collection and Research Center are at the Texas Medical Center, one of his favorite areas was his contributions to children's programs at the Houston Zoo. The John P. McGovern Childrens Zoo opened in 2000.
Doctor Denton Cooley, shown at the left, perfected open heart surgery techniques that pioneered the way for others. He performed the world's first implantation of an artificial heart in March of 1969. It was a benchmark in modern medicine. Doctor Cooley also did the first successful heart transplant in the United States. Unfortunately, it also pointed up one of the perils of being a pioneer in modern America, the litigious society. Doctor Cooley spent more time and money defending himself than a man of his stature and contribution to human society should. As a result, he had less time for his gifts to be applied to medicine. In 1988, Doctor Cooley declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 1989, Doctor Cooley successfully emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings.
Doctor Cooley is only the third surgeon in 22 years to win the Gifted Teacher Award of the American College of Cardiology. He won the award in 1987. Denton Cooley is one of the founders of the Texas Heart Institute. The Texas Heart Institute is a research organization and the base for Cooley's six member heart surgery team. The Institute broke new business ground when it negotiated heart surgery contracts with corporations and insurance companies. The contracts allow for lower costs to the patients and the companies, and a steady volume of work for the team. As a result, Doctor Cooley's team has gotten better because of the increased experience; and patients have gotten highly skilled care they might not have been able to afford without Doctor Cooley's program.
In 1991, Doctor James Kelly of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, utilized a "liver assist" device to help a patient recover from a liver ailment. Doctor Kelly was the co-developer of the device, which others called an artificial liver. This was the first use of such a device on a human patient.
Medical history was made in June of 1992 when surgeons at Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas performed an unusual operation. They transposed the left hand of Stephen O'Connor to his right arm. O'Connor's right hand had been amputated when he was 8 months old due to a disease. In May of 1992, O'Connor was in an automobile accident. His mother was killed and O'Connor suffered irreperable nerve damage to his left arm and shoulder, king is left hand useless.
The first word from the moon's surface radioed back to earth was `Houston'. The complete sentence was Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. There was ample reason for the first word in space to have a Celtic origin and be tied to Texas.
The first Irish Catholic President was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Because of his political ties to Texas through Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn, Kennedy came to Texas in 1962 to make an important announcement. At Rice University stadium in Houston, Texas, Kennedy announced the program to overcome the Soviet lead in space and to be the first to put a man on the moon. To accomplish this mission, Kennedy stated, there would be the need for a center to coordinate all the aspects of manned spaceflight. That center was the Manned Spacecraft Center, later the name was changed to honor Lyndon B. Johnson and called the Johnson Space Center. In the speech at Rice University, Kennedy answered the question of why man should venture into space:
Walter C. Williams, an aerospace pioneer who played an important role in NASA's Mercury program, was stationed for many years at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Williams was project engineer for the Bell X-1 which attained the first piloted supersonic flight. He was the founding director of NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
Texas became home to the astronauts who worked at the Johnson Space Center. Over the years, there have been a number of Celtic astronauts. The most famous of whom was John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. Other individuals among the astronaut corps with a Celtic heritage include: Edward A. White, the first American to E.V.A. (walk in space); James McDivitt, Commander of Gemini IV and of Apollo 9; David R. Scott, who was on Gemini VIII and Apollo 9; Richard Gordon; Michael Collins, the pilot of Apollo 11 that first brought man to the moon's surface; Gerald Carr, who retired to be Project Director for a 300 inch telescope for the McDonald Observatory. Called a spectroscopic survey telescope it is a joint venture of the University of Texas, Penn State University and Stanford University; also involved are the Universities of Munich and Goettingen, Germany. The effective aperture of the telescope will be 320 inches making it one of the largest telescopes in the world.Its installation made the McDonald telescope the world's largest single mirror telescope.
Another Celtic astronaut was Bruce McCandless, whose father won a Medal of Honor in 1942, Bruce McCandless made the first space walk untethered. He is pictured to the left. Don McMonagle was one of the Flight Engineers of the shuttle Discovery in 1991. In 1994 he was the Shuttle Commander of Atlantis. Marine Corps Colonel Bryan O'Connor, pictured on the right, was Mission Commander aboard Columbia in June 1991. On the same flight was medical doctor, Andrew "Drew" Gaffney. O'Connor went on to play a management role in getting the International Space station in place. Two more Celtic Astronauts were: John McBride; and Mike McCulley, a former submariner and pilot. Astronaut Thomas Jones flew B-52s and worked for the CIA before becoming an astronaut. Brian Duffy was with the Air Force and a test pilot before becoming an astronaut. Colonel Duffy has two, children, Shaun and Shannon. Brian Duffy flew the Atlantis in March, 1992. He piloted the Endeavorin 1993. As Cre Commander he went back into space aboard Endeavor in 1994 as well as aboard Discovery in 2000. Kathryn Sullivan was the first U. S. woman to walk in space (October, 1984). Kathryn, later flew on the shuttle mission that deployed Hubble Telescope (1990). In 1991, she was Payload Commander on a shuttle mission to study the earth's atmosphere. In 1992, Ms. Sullivan left NASA to return to her original field of study, oceanography, when she accepted an appointment as Chief Scientist of the National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration. Eileen Collins was an Air Force Lieutenant Colonael and a test pilot before she became an astronaut. She has logged 4,100 hours in 30 different aircraft. She was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle.
< Eileen Collins; Kathryn Sullivan >
Astronaut Ken Cameron was the Director of NASA Operations at Star City, the Cosmonaut training Center in Russia.
There were other astronauts with Celtic names. They like the other members of the tragic Challenger crew, are kept in a separate, special memory bank: Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who was selected to go into space to share her experience with the children and teachers of the United States; and Ronald McNair, a scientist who also played a jammin' jazz saxophone.
There is in the Fort Bend School District a middle school named for Christa McAullife. A flower bed in the front of the school is shaped like space shuttle and next to it is a plaque honoring the Challenger astronauts. Elsewhere in Fort Bend, a high school auditorium is named for Ron McNair.
Scott and White were both born in San Antonio, Texas. The rest lived and trained in Texas.
There have been other Celtic conections to the United States Space program. Cy Baker was Executive Officer of the Astronaut Office. He was also a veteran officer of the Dick Dowling Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Cy arranged for the Division's three foot Irish tricolor flag to be carried into space aboard the first shuttle, Columbia, in April, 1981. Other than the American flag, it was the largest flag carried into space aboard a U. S. flight.
Columbia, the space shuttle that took the Irish flag into space, came apart over the blue skies of Texas on its way to an expected landing in Florida after a successful mission in space. It happened on February 2, 2003. On board were seven astronauts. NASA Director Sean O'Keefe, on the day of the event, said:
This is a tragic day for the NASA family, but also for the American people.
The crew of STS 107, lost aboard the shuttle Columbia,
February 2, 2003.From left to right on the front, Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialist Kulpana Chawla, Pilot William McCool. On the back row from left to right - Mission Specialists David Brown and Laurel Clark, Payload Commander Mike Anderson and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon.
Among the crew was a native of India and another from Israel. At least one other had a Texas and a Celtic Connection.
Shuttle pilot William "Willie" McCool, shown on the left, grew up in West Texas in Lubbock. He was a proud graduate of Coronado High School there. He carried a Coronado Mustang's spirit flag with him on the flight. From high school, Willie McCool went on to attend the United States Naval Academy, graduating second in his class. McCool was selected as an astronaut in 1996. At that time he had logged 2,800 flight hours in 24 different aircraft and had made 400 carrier landings
Tic Foley, the Administrator of the Astronaut Corps, arranged in August of 1990 with Pat Patton, the host of the Houston Irish radio program, Irish Aires, to have Irish folk music on a cassette for shuttle astronaut Bill Shepherd to enjoy in space.
Space is big business. Some of the companies involved from the start of this new business had Celtic names. They include: McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, Collins Radio, and Ryan Aeronautical. McDonnell later merged with Douglas Aircraft to become the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, adding another Celtic name to the list.
Along with the companies came men who were associated with the space program:
Byron G. McNabb, of General Dynamics
Thomas Dolan, of Vought Astronautics
Thomas J. Kelly, of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company
Robert Mullaney, of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company
Hugh McCullough, of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company
Gerald R. Fagan, of North American Aviation, Incorporated
See the last appendix for a list of Celtic people in the early days of the U. S. Space program, many of whom were from, worked in or came to Texas.
Nobel Peace Prize
A Nobel Prize winner has come to Texas to live and work. Betty Williams who together with Mairead Corrigan won the prize in 1977 for their work with the children of Northern Ireland, moved to Huntsville, Texas in 1993. Though still committed to what she terms "the work" referring to the efforts that won her the award, she is now the Director of the Global Children's Studies Center at Sam Houston University. The center was founded to develop solutions to childhood crises.
< Betty Williams
Two Texas A&M professors have won Nobel prizes: Dr. Brue McCarl, 2007 and Dr. David Lee, 1999
Refugio County was one of the first areas in the United States to raise an entire regiment of volunteers before America entered World War II. In May 1940, American Legionnaires in Refugio County took action intended to alert Americans to the Nazi threat. In a public statement announcing the formation of a home guard unit, the Legionnaires declared: "If the United States will not put itself in a state of preparedness, then Refugio County will as a protest and as an example." Responding to the call, the men of the county enlisted in such large numbers that a regimental structure was required. Reflecting the Irish roots of many of the men, the unit was named the Royal Irish Regiment of Refugio County. The group adopted a uniform that included khaki trousers and shirt, a khaki overseas cap piped in "shamrock" green, a web belt, and a black tie. Each man paid for his own uniform. The companies met each week on Tuesday and Thursday nights for drills until December 1940, when the unit was incorporated into the Texas Defense Guard.
Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, a military air base, was named for Lieutenant George M. Kelly. Lieutenant Kelly was flying the U. S. Army's (and Air Force's) first airplane over troops at Fort Sam Houston when trouble developed with the aircraft, a Wright brother's bi-plane. Kelly crashed because of a maneuver to avoid hitting the troops.
Dyess Air Force Base formerly Dyess Army Air Field in Abiliene was named for Edwin Dyess. He was the son of the former Hallie Graham of Albany, Texas.
As an officer in the Army Air Corps, Edwin Dyess was captured by the Japanese in the Battle of Bataan. He participated and survived the famous Bataan March in 1942. A year and one day after his capture, Edwin was able to escape. He fought with Filipino guerillas against the Japanese. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit and the Silver Star. He was posthumously awarded the Soldier's Medal.
George S. Patton, a Celt of Scottish ancestry, was stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso in 1915. The Mexican border was heating up as incidents relative to the Mexican Revolution spilled into the border. When several raids into U.S. territory were made by Pancho Villa, General John J. Pershing was sent to Fort Bliss to organize a punitive expedition into Mexico. Patton arranged to serve as General John J. Pershing's aide while Pershing's regular aide, Irishman James Collins, was on other duties. When Collins returned, Pershing kept Patton on his staff. Patton was with Pershing and the American Expeditionary Force searching for Pancho Villa in 1917. Patton was directly involved in one of the few contacts made with the Villaistas. The contact turned into a shooting incident at the Rubio Ranch at San Miquelito, near Saltillo, Mexico. It was the first instance in U. S. military history where U.S. troops were taken in motorized transport to make contact with the enemy. The incident gave the United State's Second Cavalry its nickname, "Hell on Wheels."
< General George S. Patton
More than sixty years later, General George S. Patton Jr., son of the famous general, was the Commanding General of Fort Hood, Texas; home of the Second Armored Division, the new name for the old Second Cavalry and still known as "Hell on Wheels."
Sam Robertson was a soldier from Texas who served as a scout for Pershing during the punitive expedition. He was captured and dragged behind a horse. Robertson was then beaten and left for dead. He was discovered, recovered and returned to the U. S. Army. He served in Europe during World War I. Robertson earned the Medal of Honor for bravery during World War II.
Mrs. Murphy's son, Edgar Tobin, was an ace in World War One, he was a member of Eddie Rickenbacker's Hat in the Ring squadron. After the war, Tobin went on to found an ariel mapping service company. He contracted with the U. S. Government to map the entire United States from the air.
Ernest O. Thompson earned a battlefield commission to Lieutenant Colonel, the youngest in the U. S. Army, during World War I. Later he was a mayor of Amarillo. He is also known as a pioneer in petroleum conservation.
The most decorated sailor in World War II was Samuel D. Dealey. Commander Samuel David Dealey is pictured to the right. Dealy was a Texan with Celtic heritage. His paternal ancestry is the Isle of Man on his father's side and Ireland on his grandmother's side (Nellins). His Great Uncle, George B. Dealey, the fouder of the Dallas Morning News, is for whom Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas is named and the location of the "grassy knoll" and the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy. Samuel Dealey was awarded the Navy Cross four times, a Silver Star and shared a Presidential Unit Citation before being awarded a Medal Of Honor. His Medal Of Honor Citation reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the USS Harder during her fifth war patrol in Japanese controlled waters. Floodlighted by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Cmdr. Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surface and, within nine minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amidship. Evading detection he penetrated the waters of Tawi Tawi with the Japanese fleet six miles away and scored death blows on two patrolling destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by the concussion of the first exploding target and the second vessel nose diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high speed. Sighted by a large hostile fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow towards the lead destroyer for another "down-the-throat" shot, fired three bow tubes and promptly crash dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the Harder passed beneath. This remarkable record of five vital Japanese destroyers sunk in five short range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Cmdr. Dealey and his indomitable command.
The USS Dealey a Destroyer was named for him.
The most decorated soldier in World War II had more than a little Irish in him. Audie Murphy was the son of sharecropper Emmet Murphy and Josie (Killian) Murphy. He was born near Farmersville, Texas. Audie Murphy entered the U. S. Army the year his mother died (1942). He tried to join the Marines and Paratroopers but they thought him too small. He was five foot, five inches tall and weighed 110 pounds. He still did not shave when he joined the army.
Murphy was assigned to the Third Infantry Division, which went into combat in North Africa and on to Sicily. The Third Infantry Division saw 400 days of constant combat, and had the highest casualties of any U. S. Army infantry unit. Audie Murphy entered the war a private. When he came home in 1945, he was a First Lieutenant with almost every medal the army awarded for bravery, pinned to his chest. He also was awarded medals from allied nations. His entire military career spanned 28 months. He came home the most decorated soldier of World War II.
< Audie Murphy
He won the Congressional Medal Of Honor by mounting a burning tank and using its machine gun to hold off a German infantry attack for an hour. The Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Antonio is named for him. He died on Memorial Day in 1971.
In the history of the Medal of Honor, 21 have been awarded men with the Irish surname Murphy. Over 100 awardees have "Mc" or "Mac" as a part of their last name. Other Celts who were Texans and awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II include: 2nd Lieutenant Loyd H. Hughes, of the Army Air Corps; Master Sergeant James Logan, of the 36th Infantry; and Private Herman Wallace, of the 76th Infantry.
In 1941, in the frenzied atmosphere immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor a, big for his age, twelve year old Canton, Texas boy, Calvin Leon Graham of Scottish ancestry appeared before enlistment officials to volunteer for the U. S. Navy. His paternal Grandfather was Sam Houston Graham. There were Pattons, Moores, McKinleys and Robersons in his family tree. Three older brothers had already volunteered for military service . In the Spring of 1942, the war was going badly for the US. Much of our Pacific Fleet had been destroyed at Pearl Harbor. Japanese armies had overrun the Philippines, then starved and killed its captured American defenders in the infamous Bataan Death March.
Calvin saw all that in the newsreels, he'd come out of the movie theater saying "we could lose this war! I've got to get in there and help! There wasn't much to hold him at home. Graham's father had died in a car accident, and his mother, a hotel maid, had remarried. Her new husband and Graham didn't get along. "Seemed like every time our stepdad came home, he'd get on Calvin," recalled his sister, Dessie Evelue Graham. "My brother pretty much had to raise himself."
Calvin stood very tall for his age and things were going badly in the war. The Navy needed every man they could recruit. He was accepted. Calvin Graham was the youngest U.S. serviceman in WW II. He served as a gunner aboard the U.S.S. South Dakota during the Battle of Santa Cruz and the Battle for Guadacanal in 1942. In the latter, His ship suffered 47 direct hits and Calvin was seriously injured in the back and jaw by shrapnel.
Seaman First Class Calvin Leon Graham in May, 1942 >
Despite his injuries, Calvin Graham helped pull fellow sailors from immediate danger and helped with fire control. For his actions he earned a recommendation for the Bronze Star with a "V" for Valor and a Purple Heart. While he was recuperating from his injuries, the Navy discovered his true age and placed him in a brig where he served three months for "fraudulent enlistment". He was released only because his sister threatened to tell newspapers what the Navy had done to her twelve year old brother. He was removed from the service with a dishonorable discharge in April of 1943. For years after the war Graham fought the bureaucratic red tape to receive the decorations due him for his service in the United States Navy and to correct the dishonorable discharge..
During the Korean War, Graham, then 17, joined the Marine Corps and served for three years. While in the the Marine Corps he continued to battle the red tape for his WWII decorations, connected service and the honorable discharge from the U. S. Navy. He again hurt his back and had to leave the service. He added getting service connected medical benefits to his cause.
In 1980, some prominent Texas politicians including U. S. Representative Martin Dies, Speaker of the House, Jim Wright, Democratic US Senator Llyoyd Benson and Republican US Senator John Tower, took up the Fort Worth citizen's case and were able to enlist the aid of former Naval officer, President Jimmy Carter to cut through the bureaucracy and win Graham an honorable discharge from the Navy for his WW II service which qualified him for his decorations, the Bronze Star with a "V" for Valor, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal with a bronze Battle Star, the National Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. The Navy refused however to award Graham a Purple Heart.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan enabled Graham to recieve full disability benefits and in 1994, President William Clinton became involved and obtained the Purple Heart for Calvin Graham.
Despite the efforts of a lot of people including three U. S. Presidents it was too late. Calvin Graham had died of heart failure two years earlier. The Purple Heart Medal was presented postumously to his wife Mary.
The first WAC (Woman's Army Corps) on the Normandy Beach was Tech. Sgt. Mabel Carney Stover pictured to the right. She was there at the schoolhouse in Rheims, France, when the Germans surrendered to the Allies, and she was the first WAC in Berlin. When she returned to the United States in August 1945, it was in one of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's planes.
..............................................................................................................Mabel Carney Stover >
George H. O'Brien was a native of Fort Worth, Texas. O'Brien served as a Second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Company H, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. O'Brien was awarded his Medal of Honor for action at Korea on October 27, 1952, during the Korean War. O'Brien's citation reads: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a rifle platoon commander of Company H, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his platoon subjected to an intense mortar and artillery bombardment while preparing to assault a vitally important hill position on the main line of resistance which had been overrun by a numerically superior enemy force on the preceding night, 2nd Lt. O'Brien leaped from his trench when the attack signal was given and, shouting for his men to follow, raced across an exposed saddle and up the enemy-held hill through a virtual hail of deadly small-arms, artillery, and mortar fire.
< George H. O'Brien
Although shot through the arm and thrown to the ground by hostile automatic-weapons fire as he neared the well-entrenched enemy position, he bravely regained his feet, waved his men onward, and continued to spearhead the assault, pausing only long enough to go to the aid of a wounded marine. Encountering the enemy at close range, he proceeded to hurl handgrenades into the bunkers and, utilizing his carbine to best advantage in savage hand-to-hand combat, succeeded in killing at least 3 of the enemy. Struck down by the concussion of grenades on 3 occasions during the subsequent action, he steadfastly refused to be evacuated for medical treatment and continued to lead his platoon in the assault for a period of nearly 4 hours, repeatedly encouraging his men and maintaining superb direction of the unit. With the attack halted he set up a defense with his remaining forces to prepare for a counterattack, personally checking each position, attending to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. When a relief of the position was effected by another unit, he remained to cover the withdrawal and to assure that no wounded were left behind. By his exceptionally daring and forceful leadership in the face of overwhelming odds, 2nd Lt. O'Brien served as a constant source of inspiration to all who observed him and was greatly instrumental in the recapture of a strategic position on the main line of resistance. His indomitable determination and valiant fighting spirit reflect the highest credit upon himself and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
The bombardier who dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki was Irish; he was Kermit Beahan of Houston. The pilot
was Charles Sweeney and the B-29 was called "Bock's Car." The bomb on Nagasaki was the last atomic bomb dropped
and Beahan hoped it would stay that way. The day he dropped the bomb, August 9, 1945, was his 27th birthday.
Beahan participated in the first B-17 raids over Europe. His plane flew escort on the plane, the Enola Gay, which
dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Beahan once told a reporter his target was supposed to have been Kokura,
but because of smog they went for the secondary target of Nagasaki. Beahan recalled, after dropping the bomb, he
looked down and saw "...a mushroom cloud bubbling and flashing orange, red, and green. It looked like a picture of
Kearie Lee Berry was the son of The former Viola Riley and Thomas Eugene Berry. He first drew attention on the football field, but he is best known for his years of service to the Texas National Guard. He entered the U. S. Army as a young man, fought in World War II and survived the Bataan March. His outstanding service brought him quick promotions. Major General Berry was commander of the Texas National Guard for fourteen years during the years 1947 - 1961.
Early in the year 1941, after England suffered severe losses in its brilliant battle for the air over Britain known as the Battle of Britain, the U. S. government decided to help train Royal Air Force pilots. This was an effort to fill in the void caused by the losses in that historic battle. This was before Pearl Harbor when the United States was still officially neutral, so the project was somewhat secret. The United States offered civilian training facilities in remote areas for the program. One of these facilities was in Terrell, Texas where, in four years, more than 2,000 United Kingdom citizens attended the school. Many of these were Celts.
Sweetwater, Texas was the home of the only U. S. all-woman air base in history. Avenger Field in World War II was commanded by Commander Jacqueline Cochran of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots. To outsiders, and some insiders, it was called Cochran's Convent. Needless to say, Ms. Cochrane ran a tight ship. Cochran was assisted by Ethel A. Sheehy Staff Field Executive. 1830 WASPS were accepted of 25,000 who applied. 1,074 won their wings.
< Jacquiline Cochran
The women pilots flew more than 60 million miles in 78 different aircraft. Thirty eight of the female pilots lost their lives while on various missions which included; ferrying aircraft, towing targets, training flight crews, and testing new or repaired aircraft.
Claire Lee Chennault was born in Commerce, Texas. He was related to both Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee. Chennault's father was John Stonewall Jackson. Chennault left a career as a school teacher to enter the United States Army as an officer in 1919. He became an aviator. Chennault had to retire in 1937 because of deafness. He became an advisor to Chiang Kai Shek of the Kuomintang in China. Chennault was asked by the Chinese Nationalist leader to assist his people to develop an air force to fight the Japanese. In 1941, Chennault organized the American Volunteer Group. It was made up of American volunteer pilots flying support missions for the Koumintang against the Japanese. Two hundred and fifty two men joined him in forming the American Volunteer Group (A.V.G.). THere were 87 pilots and 165 ground crewmen. The group became popularly known as the Flying Tigers, the result of a Chineses misunderstanding regarding the Shark's teeth painted on the fuselages of their P-40 fighter aircraft. The Flying Tigers destroyed 539 Japanese planes and lost only 90 of their own.
When America entered the war, the group became the Fourteenth Air Force of the United States Army Air Corps. Chennault, as its commander, was made a Major General. After the war, Claire Chennault was the Chairman of the Civil Air Transport. Chennault Air Force Base was named for him. One of Chennault's Flying Tigers was Texan John Donovan. There was also another Irishman in the group: Pat Cavanaugh.
Douglas MacArthur, the son of General Arthur MacArthur, was in Texas when his father was stationed at Fort Sam Houston. Douglas MacArthur graduated first in his class at West Point. Later he was assigned Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. Like his famous father, Douglas MacArthur was an important man to the Philippines, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general, United Nations general, and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and later played a prominent role in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was a highly decorated US soldier of the war, receiving the Medal of Honor for his early service in the Philippines and on the Bataan Peninsula. He was designated to command the proposed invasion of Japan in November 1945. When that was no longer necessary, he officially accepted the nation's surrender on September 2, 1945.
MacArthur oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. Although criticized for protecting Emperor Hirohito and the imperial family from prosecution for war crimes, MacArthur is credited with implementing far-reaching democratic reforms in that country.
After World War II, Douglas MacArthur put Japan back on its feet, wrote that country's constitution and in many other ways prepared Japan to be a nation again, this time founded on democratic principles. He led the United Nations Command forces defending South Korea against the North Korean invasion from 1950 to 1951.
Douglas MacArthur was made one of Americas few Five Star Generals. He was in command of United Nations forces in the Korean War and was responsible for the Inchon invasion which turned that war around. In a memorable speech to West Point cadets he uttered a phrase by which he is best known, "Old soldiers do not die...they just fade away."
................................................................General Douglas McArthur >
In 1959, Walter Washington Williams, Forage Master for Hood's Texas Brigade, was the last soldier of the Civil War to die. President Eisenhower made Williams an honorary general. General Williams died December 19, 1959. He died at the age of 117.
Captain Eugene V. Crangle, both of whose parents were born in County Down, Ireland, lives in Sugarland, Texas. He served in the United States Navy in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. He led the first air strike against North Viet Nam in August, 1964.
Texan Patrick Henry Brady, shown on the left, was a major in the Medical Service Corps. He flew helicopters. During the Battle of Chu Lai, in Viet Nam, in 1968, Major Brady volunteered to retrieve wounded from the battle area. He landed 50 meters from the enemy position taking hits on his helicopter. He landed repeatedly. Brady brought 45 wounded men to the rear for treatment. On his last trip, some men were caught in the middle of a mine field. Brady landed in the mine field and retrieved six men. For his gallantry, Irishman Brady was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Sergeant Finnis McCleery, of San Angelo, singlehandedly charged a bunker complex that was pinning down American and South Vietnamese troops near Tam Ky, during the Viet Nam War. On May 14, 1968, McCleery ran across 80 yards of open ground, under heavy rifle, grenade and rocket fire, to personally attack an enemy bunker. He was wounded as he closed in, but kept going and killed all the enemy troops in the main bunker. He raised up, exposing himself to enemy fire, and shouted encouragement to the troops to advance and continue the assault. Sergeant McCleery was wounded again in clearing another bunker, but continued the attack until all the bunkers were cleared. For his actions McCleery was awarded the Medal of Honor. Earlier in the war, McCleery won a Bronze and a Silver Star for valor during the Tet Offensive.
David Herbert McNerney was born on June 2, 1931, in Lowell, Massachusetts. His family moved to Houston, Texas, where McNerney attended St. Thomas High School. McNerney joined the Navy in 1949 after high school graduation. He was discharged from the Navy in 1952. He joined the Army that same year at Fort Bliss, Texas. McNerney was deployed to Korea during the Korean War and served two tours of duty. He had served two tours of duty in Viet Nam. In 1966, he was assigned to train new soldiers going to Viet Nam, but was not scheduled to go himself. He put so much of himself into the training of those men, he pulled strings and went with them.
< First Sergeant David H. McNerney
By March 22, 1967 McNerney was serving as a first sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. On that day, in Polei Doc, Republic of Vietnam, McNerney's unit came under attack by superior North Vietnamese forces (8-1). Despite being wounded early in the battle, he assumed command of the unit when the company commander and the the other company officers were killed or disabled. He organized the defense, and helped arrange a helicopter evacuation of the wounded. He refused his own medical evacuation and instead stayed with the company until a new commander arrived. For his actions during the battle, McNerney was awarded the Medal of Honor. He later went back to Viet Nam for a fourth tour of duty before retiring from the army to work with U. S. Customs.
1St Sergeant David Herbert McNerney in 2004
His citation for the Medal Of Honor -
1st Sgt. McNerney distinguished himself when his unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion near Polei Doc. Running through the hail of enemy fire to the area of heaviest contact, he was assisting in the development of a defensive perimeter when he encountered several enemy at close range. He killed the enemy but was painfully injured when blown from his feet by a grenade. In spite of this injury, he assaulted and destroyed an enemy machinegun position that had pinned down 5 of his comrades beyond the defensive line. Upon learning his commander and artillery forward observer had been killed, he assumed command of the company. He adjusted artillery fire to within 20 meters of the position in a daring measure to repulse enemy assaults. When the smoke grenades used to mark the position were gone, he moved into a nearby clearing to designate the location to friendly aircraft. In spite of enemy fire he remained exposed until he was certain the position was spotted and then climbed into a tree and tied the identification panel to its highest branches. Then he moved among his men readjusting their position, encouraging the defenders and checking th wounded. As the hostile assaults slackened, he began clearing a helicopter landing site to evacuate the wounded. When explosives were needed to remove large trees, he crawled outside the relative safety of his perimeter to collect demolition material from abandoned rucksacks. Moving through a fusillade of fire he returned with the explosives that were vital to the clearing of the landing zone. Disregarding the pain of his injury and refusing medical evacuation 1st Sgt. McNerney remained with his unit until the next day when the new commander arrived. First Sgt. McNerney's outstanding heroism and leadership were inspirational to his comrades. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
Honor in the Valley of Tears is a feature length documentary about Congressional Medal of Honor recipient 1st Sgt. David H. McNerney and the men he trained and led into a bloody, yet forgotten battle during the Vietnam War. In the men's own words, through the stories they narrate, the film gives us insight into the time these men spent together and the bond they formed that remains unbroken to this day. The men of A-Company trained together for eleven months and served together for one year. Their story begins with basic training at Ft. Lewis Washington in 1965 and continues 40 years later at their last reunion in September 2007. Filming began September 27, 2007 in Houston, Texas during a reunion to honor First Sergeant David H. McNerney, who is the only living member of the 4th Infantry Division to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was celebrated by the men he trained and served with and whose lives he saved on March 22, 1967.
Another Texan Medal of Honor Recipient is Frederick E. Ferguson. He was born on August 18, 1939, in Pilot Point, Texas. He attended Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Ferguson joined the Navy after he graduated from high school in 1958, and served for four years as an aviation storekeeper.
He applied to the Army's Warrant Officer Program, and was appointed to the rank of Warrant Officer in 1966. Ferguson completed Army Aviation School in 1967 and was immediately deployed to Vietnam as an aircraft commander and Section Leader of Company C, 227th Aviation Battalion, First Cavalry Division, Airmobile.
On January 31, 1968, Ferguson commanded a Bell UH-1 supply helicopter near the city of Hue, during the Tet Offensive. He heard a distress call from the wounded crew of a helicopter which had been shot down over the enemy-controlled section of the city. Ferguson ignored warnings to stay away from the area because of heavy anti-aircraft fire, and flew along the Perfume River toward the survivors at a low altitude and maximum speed.
He stayed on course despite heavy fire from enemy occupied buildings and boats and landed in a confined area near the survivors despite limited visibility. The helicopter was severely damaged by exploding mortar fragments while the wounded soldiers were loaded, but Ferguson ignored the damage and pushed the helicopter back through the heavy enemy fire along the river to safety. His actions successfully saved the lives of the five survivors and rescued them from a hostile area. Ferguson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was presented to him on May 17, 1969, by President Richard Nixon at the White House.
In July 1969, after completing the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Ferguson was promoted to Captain. He remained on active duty and served as Commanding Officer of an armor company from 1970 to 1971. In 1972, Ferguson entered the Arizona Army National Guard. He was promoted to Major in 1975 and assigned to command the 997th Aviation Company of assault helicopters. He became Executive Officer of the 997th Aviation Battalion in 1978 and served in that capacity until 1982. Ferguson then served as a Technician Instructor Pilot with the Guard until 1997.
Among those captured when the American embassy in Tehran, Iran was overrun in 1979 was Marine John McKeel, Jr. of Balch Springs, Texas. McNeel so inspired the other American hostages by standing up to his captors and enduring torture and 42 days in solitary confinement, that when the Americans were released after 444 days in captivity, McNeel was called a hero by other captives.
There were several Celtic Texans in the war with Iraq in February of 1991. Among those who died in the action was U. S. Army Spc.4 James "Jamie" Murray Jr., the son of a Marine Corps veteran. Specialist Murray's death was on February 27, 1991, the day the cease fire was announced. He was killed by "friendly " fire. While that is tragic enough, his wife Katherine learned of her husband's death the day after she gave birth to their first child, Larissa Christine Murray.
Lieutenant General Thomas P. Kelly, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, was the parade marshal of a huge Memorial Day thank you celebration in Houston, on May 25, 1991. The thank you was directed to veterans of all wars.
Captain Scott F. O'Grady was the F-16 pilot who was shot down and rescued in Bosnia after six days behind Serb lines in July of 1995. O'Grady credited his survival in the Bosnian forest with training he recieved at Kelly and Randolph Air Force bases in San Antonio, Texas.
Jeannie Flynn, a University of Texas graduate, is the United States Air Force's first female fighter pilot. In June of 1997 she was sent to the Middle East for her second tour in a hostile environment with her squadron which flew the F-15. She graduated first in her class at Del Rio, Texas' Laughlin Air Force Base.
Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Alan Boyle of The Woodlands, Texas helped close the United State's Navy's base at Subic Bay Philippines. The base's closing marked the first time since the Spanish colonized the islands in the sixteenth century that the Philipinnes were free of foreign troops.
EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICE AND RELIGION
Mollie D. Abernathy, daughter of the former Elizabeth Robertson, was a member of the first class to enroll at AddRan College (now TCU). She went on to become one of Texas' leading cattlewomen. Her cattle carried the swastika brand. She was a principal investor in the City of Lubbock.
The first Chairman of the University of Texas faculty was Irishman John William Mallet.
The son of Frances Ann McAuley, Mody Coggin Boatright, was a longtime Chairman of the English Department at the University of Texas. He was a noted historian and author of books on Texas folklore.
The second President of Southern Methodist University was Hiram Abiff Boaz, son of Louise Ann Ryan. Earlier he was the President of Texas Wesleyan University.
!925 - 1927 the State Librarian was Octavia Rogan. She was of Irish descent. She was President of the Texas Library Association 1917 - 1918.
In 1926, McMurry College in Abilene, Texas became a four year school. It was named in honor of Methodist Bishop William Fletcher McMurray.
Willete Rutherford Banks, whose mother was Laura McCurry, was President of Texas College from 1915-1926. He left there to head Prairie View A&M from 1926 to 1946.
Dr. Raphael O'Hara Lanier was the first President of Texas Southern University. This distinguished black American was formerly the American Minister to Liberia. Hugh Roy Cullen contributed $100,000 to the construction of the college. In 1992, the president of T. S. U. is Dr. Dennis McCabe.
In 1917, Stephen F. Austin State University was founded in Nacogdoches. Its campus includes the old homesite of Thomas Jefferson Rusk. During the Texas Centennial in 1936, the materials from the original Old Stone Fort were used to construct a replica on the college campus.
James Joseph Delaney was the first Junior College representative to be chosen President of the Association of Texas Colleges.
Ela Hockaday, founder of the prestigious private school in Dallas that bears her name, was the daughter of Maria Elizabeth Kerr.
Irish Texan William Ranson Hogan was a noted historian and author. He served as the Archivist of Louisiana State University and as Chairman of the History Department at Tulane University.
Boyce House was a noted historian and author. His mother was the former Margaret O'Brien.
Walter Falvius McCaleb was another Texan historian and author of note with a Celtic hertage.
Stuart Malcolm McGregor received the first Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Texas in 1915. McGregor was an editor of the Daily Texan while at the university. He is best known as the Editor of the Texas Almanac, 1920-1961. McGregor was the first living person inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Texas.
Vaida Stewart Montgomery was the daughter of William Riley. Montgomery was a noted poet and publisher of the Kaleidograph, a journal of poetry.
Sull Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, opened its doors in 1922. The school is named after the former Governor, Confederate General, and Indian fighter.
Joseph M. McFadden is the President of Saint Thomas University in Houston, Texas in 1991.
Samuel P. Cochran was a leader of Masonry in Texas. In 1911, he served as Grand Master of Masons. He originated, and nurtured into reality, the idea of providing a dormitory at the University of Texas for the daughters of Master Masons. In 1922, Scottish Rite dormitory opened its doors. In the 1930s the dormitory's housemother was Ann Clarke Williams grand daughter of Samuel May Williams. The dormitory is still in use in the '90s.
Carrie Amelia (Moore) Nation, the daughter of Mary Campbell, was an early champion of the fight against alcohol and tobacco. She lived in Texas several times during her life. Carrie Nation wielded a hatchet in her aggressive campaign for temperance.
Cindy Cochran worked with deaf children in her church. Now she has a national television program on Public Service Broadcasting, Signing With Cindy. Cindy Cochran's pioneering, and those of others, led the way for television to provide close captioned broadcasts to the deaf.
Cardinal John Joseph Hughes of New York spoke to the Texas Senate in 1931, in doing so he became the first official of the Catholic Church ever to address a Southern legislative assembly.
Bishop Christopher Byrne of Galveston and the Reverend T. P. O'Rourke worked hard to bring about the founding of a Catholic university in Houston, Texas. In 1946, their efforts resulted in the founding of the University of Saint Thomas by the Congregation of Saint Basil.
Doctor Worden McDonald founded the Southern Pentecostal Bible Institute in 1958. Located in Houston, Texas, the school today is known as the Southern Bible College.
Abner Vernon McCall was President of Baylor University from 1961 - 1981. McCall was born in Perrin, Texas and grew up in a Masonic Home in Fort Worth. He became a student at Baylor and then was offered a position to teach there. Except for brief periods as an FBI agent and then as a member of the Texas Supreme Court, Abner McCall dedicated his life to Baylor. The size of the campus increased from 40 acres to more than 400 arcres and enrollment rose from 5,500 to more than 10,000 during his administration.
Thomas Joseph Drury, who was born in County Sligo, Ireland, entered the United States Air Force as a Catholic chaplain. He left the service as a major. He was appointed the first bishop of San Angelo. Later, he was transferred to Corpus Christi. In 1978, he was appointed National Chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. This book is dedicated to Bishop Drury.
Father James Harnan, a native of Ireland, founded Shalom Center, the first consultation and guidance center for clergy in the Southwest.
Madelyn Murray O'Hair was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. Her original name was Madalyn Mays. She eloped and married a young steelworker in 1941. Her husband joined the Marines two months later. Madelyn joined the WACs and while in the service had an affair with William J. Murray a married officer from a wealthy Long Island family. After winning a paternity judgement, she moved back with her family who had moved to Ohio. The family moved to Houston in the 1950s. She worked as a probation officer during the day and attended the South Texas College of Law during the night, graduating in 1952. The family moved to Baltimore where Madelyn became pregnant by a neighbor. That child she named William Joseph Murray. A lawsuit initiated by her in 1962 resulted in Bible reading and group prayer being removed from public schools in a famous Supreme court decision. She decided to file the lawsuit when her oldest son, William J. Murray, objected to having to particpate in daily prayers while attending junior high school.
She became something of a celebrity. She was the first guest on the Phil Donahue Show during which she shocked the audience by ripping a page out of a bible. Her abrasive personality coupled with her constant profanity ended her exposure on television talk shows. She moved to Hawaii, Mexico and then settled in Austin in the early sixties. There she married a man named O'Hair described by some as an alcoholic ne'erdowell. She founded her company, American Atheists, in 1963. She was an excellent fundraiser and built an estate worth three million dollars. She founded the United World Atheists in 1976 to keep the church out of government.
In the Fall of 1995, O'Hair vanished without a trace with her younger son Jon and her granddaughter, William J. Murray's daughter, Robin (all shown in picture above) and $150,000 in gold coins. Robin Murray O'Hair was legally adopted by O'Hair. The older son, William "Bill" J. Murray, sought police help in locating his mother by filing a missing persons report. Murray is a Christian evangelist who heads a group called Citizens to Restore Voluntary School Prayer.
The mystery of the O'Hair family's fate was not solved until 2001 when it was proven that they were robbed, murdered, dismembered and buried by members of her own organization. Much of the credit for the case being solved goes to San Antonio writer John MacCormack, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. He did not solve the crime but kept the story alive until it was.
The Reverend Frank J. Dunn, a Church of Christ pastor and a former radio personality was the source of inspiration for his daughter's hit country song, Daddy's Hands, Holly Dunn wrote the song as a Father's Day present. It became a hit for her in 1986. Reverend Dunn, who preached for 55 years before retiring, was well known as the host of a radio show, Know Your Bible that was heard in 40 states and in parts of Mexico and Canada. Reverend Dunn was also an author of several religious books.
Dallas resident Norma McCorvey was the woman who wanted an abortion in 1973. She was a carnival barker who had already had two children. Both of which she put up for adoption. Texas and federal law would not allow it. She agreed to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Texas anti-abortion statute. The lawyers promised to protect her identity. The case dragged on in the courts. She had the baby and put it up for adoption.
< Norma McCorvey
In a landmark court case known as Roe vs Wade (McCorvey was "Jane Roe"), the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide. In August 1995, McCorvey was working as a marketing director in North Dallas for A Choice For Women, a women's clinic that had been the repeated target of abortion protestors. She abruptly quit and announced that there was an undue emphasis on abortion in the clinic. McCorvey stated:
The key issue here is better education for younger women. We've had two generations of women - well, almost three generations now - of women who have grown up with Roe vs Wade. They have literally been handed the right to slaughter their own children.
In January, 1995, Norma McCorvey was still an active advocate for abortions. In an 1980 interview where she acknowledged that she was "Jane Roe," McCorvey said she has been the object of many attacks. Her home has been hit by gunfire and eggs and people were forever throwing baby clothes on her lawn. She stated that she had been shot at once and still could not hear correctly out of one ear.
Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion oranization , had moved its national headquarters into an office adjoining the clinic in March. Somehow, McCorvey had begun a dialogue with the fundementalist preacher, the Reverend Philip Benham, who leads Operation Rescue. That dialogue led to McCorvey leaving the clinic and being baptized by Benham.
Georgia O'Keefe served as the supervisor of art for the Amarillo public school system from 1912 -1914. She was in Texas from 1916 until 1918 at West Texas University in Canyon, Texas teaching art. Georgia O'Keefe became famous for her watercolor paintings. An O'Keefe painting is shown to the right.
Bonnie McCleary of San Antonio sculpted the famous statue of Columbus found in Puerto Rico. A nationally known sculptress in the 1920's and 1930's, her sculpture of Ben Milam stands today in Milam Square, San Antoino.
When World War I still did not include the United States, U. S. Army sergeant, Don Denton McNay, got married. The girl he married was from Kansas. Her name was Marian Koogler. They were living in Laredo, Texas in 1918 when Sergeant McNay received orders sending him to the war to end all wars. Marion and Don McNary said their goodbyes. They parted company at the Alamo. It proved to be their last goodbye. Don McNay died in the war. Though Marion married four other men in her long life, all ended in divorce. After each marriage, she always returned to being Marion McNay.
Marion McNay became a wealthy woman, her father was a well to do doctor in Kansas who had invested heavily in oil and land. The investments proved very beneficial to her father and eventually to Marion. Marion McNay built a home in San Antonio and indulged herself in a her favorite passion, art. Marian McNay, as a young girl, studied art, particularly watercoloring under Georgia O'Keefe and others. Although Marian McNay painted, she also collected the art of others.
...................................................................................................Marion McNay >
Over her lifetime she collected over 500 pieces of art. Her collection included paintings by such artists as: Bonnard, Cézzane, Gauguin, Pisarro, Renoir and Van Gogh. Wishing to share her collected works with everyone, Mrs. McNay became the first person in Texas to set up a privately endowed museum. Today, her former home in San Antonio which sits upon a gently rolling hill amidst 23 beautifully landscaped acres is known as the McNay Art Museum.
< McNay Museum
Margaret Virginia Jones was born in Longview, Texas. She went to college when she was 14 years old and received her BA in Dance from Texas Womens University. Margaret, now called Margo went on to receive her MA in Psychology from Texas Womens University. She then went on a world tour with a theater group. When she returned to Texas she found a position at the University of Texas as a drama instructor. Margo Jones achieved fame as the co-director of the original production of Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie in New York City. She returned to Texas in 1945 to preent her ideas for a permanent theater in the round, or what is now called arena seating. She opened the Margo Jones Theater in the Round at the Texas State Fair in Dallas in 1947. It was the first time professional repertory theater group used arena staging as its sole method of production.
The San Jacinto Monument is the world's tallest masonry structure. It stands 570 feet in the Texas air and weighs 35,150 tons. Alfred C. Finn was the Chief Architect of the structure. Finn was from Bellville, Texas. Albert Finn gave Houston the Gothic style Gulf Building, which for thirty years was Houston's tallest building. Finn also designed the Sam Houston Coliseum and Music Hall, and Hermann Hospital.
Rice University once had on its football team a man who became a well known architectural artist, William M. McVey. Two of McVey's portrait busts reside in the Paris Grand Salon. During the Depression, he cast L'Ecrivain, a bronze portrait bust on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He won the competition in the mid-30's for the Texas Centennial Year project. Perhaps his most famous piece is the statue below of Winston Churchill located just outside the British Embassy in Washington D. C.
There is much evidence of McVey's talent around the state. His statue of James Bowie stands in Texarkana. McVey's statue of David Crockett is in Ozona, county seat of Crockett County. The Crockett statue is the first ever carved out of Texas pink granite. It stands nine feet tall. McVey designed the relief figures on the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. He also carved the decorative embellishments for the interior and exterior of the building including the shields of Texas' six flags. McVey did work on the walls of Rice University and on the Holland Lodge Masonic Building in Houston. His best known work is the four panels encompassing the San Jacinto Monument. McVey helped Alfred Finn make the Texas star on the top of the monument "four-sided." The star(s) is 35 feet across and weighs 220 tons. McVey's idea was to dimensionalize the star with nine points so that from what ever angle it is viewed you see the five pointed star of Texas. McVey also did the sculpture on the entrance doors to the monument. At the time of their construction, they were the largest bronze doors ever cast.
In 1955, Doctor Jermayne MacAgy was Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Dr. MacAgy later continued her work at Saint Thomas University. The Director of the Fine Arts Museum in Houston at the same time was Lee Malone. Malone was replaced in the early sixties by James Johnson Sweeny, founding director of New York's Guggenheim Museum. Sweeny made many important acquisitions for the museum.
Archie Lee McAlester, Jr. was a member of the faculty of both Yale and Southern Methodist University. He was also an author.
Eugene Conley was a tenor. He was featured on many radio programs of a national nature. He performed with different symphonies led by the best maestros. He also played Carnegie Hall and appeared many times on television.
Oscar Lee McNary was an artist who was introduced by a show featuring his works in 1976.
Larry McMurtry wrote a number of novels that have gained him a following: Horseman, Pass By, which became the movie Hud; The Last Picture Show, which was made into the movie of the same title; and Lonesome Dove, which was made into a television mini-series. Lonesome Dove won McMurtry a Pulitzer Prize. The story centered on the lives of two Texas Celts.
Cormac McCarthy, a writer from El Paso, Texas, published the first book of a planned trilogy, The Border Trilogy, in 1992. The first book is entitled All the Pretty Horses and introduces John Grady Cole as one of the central characters in a book one reviewer placed in the tradition of Twain , London, and Hemingway. McCarthy was termed "among the ranks of the best contemporary American writers."
Judith McNaught of Friendswood, Texas has nine best selling romance novels to her credit. Among her novels are: Whitney, My Love, Affaire de Coure, Almost Heaven, Paradise and Perfect.
A major supporter of the arts in the Dallas area was Thomas Ronald McCartin. In 1980-1981 he was President of the Dallas Times Herald newspaper.
The resident expert on Texas music for many years was Lota Mae Spell, the daughter of William H. Harrigan, superintendent of the Mexican Railroads. Lota Mae Spell was knowledgeable in German, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish music. She specialized in the music of the Southwest, Texas, and Mexico. She wrote many articles about music and its history. Her papers are located in the University of Texas Archives.
The son of Ridia O'Bryan, a concert pianist who was born in Kilgore, Texas, won awards in Texas and the United States for his skill on the piano. It was in Moscow for the First International Tchaikovsky Competition of 1958 where the world learned of Mrs. O'Bryan's sons ability. He won first prize. He won playing a piece his mother taught him, Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto. The fact that an American could go to Europe and win one of classical music's most prized honors was thought impossible until this young graduate of the Juilliard School of Music did it. One Moscow newspaper account of his performance refered to the "unmitigated hysteria" of the Moscow public when they heard him play. He was honored with a New York ticker tape parade. His name is Harvey Lavon Cliburn; but the world knows him, by his nickname, Van as in Van Cliburn. The city of Fort Worth annually hosts the Van Cliburn Quadrennial International Piano Competition.
< Van Cliburn
On the other side of classical music is country music. Before the term "country and western music" was invented, there was an Irish Texan playing western swing. No other man played it better than Mrs Foley's son. His name was Bob Wills. Bob Wills was born in Turkey, Texas. Wills, one of the original Light Crust Doughboys, was known as the "King of Western Swing". He organized the group known as the Texas Playboys and is famous for such songs as: San Antonio Rose, Faded Love, Maiden's Prayer, and many more. Bob Wills combined twin fiddles playing in harmony with a jazz upbeat country sound that became known as Texas Swing. Bob Wills put the drummer into country music as well as brass and other elements of the big band sound. He was installed in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968. Other Texas Playboys included: Bob's brothers, Johnnie Lee Wills, Billy Jack Wills, and Luke Wills; Tommy Duncan, and the Whalin brothers.
When Wills would say "take it away Leon, he was speaking of steel guitar player Leon McAullife of Houston. Fiddle player Eck Robertson is from West Texas.
Speaking of country music, we need to mention Michael Martin Murphey (Dallas), Don Williams (Floydada), Mac Davis (Lubbock), Jeannie C. Riley (Anson), Marbara Mandrell (Houston), George Jones (Saratoga). George Jones was known as "Possum", his first big song Why Baby Why was recorded in 1955. George Jones became a regular on the Grand Old Opera. His climb to fame became a slide to shame after problems with drugs and alcohol that led to several marriages and divorces. He acquired a new nickname, "No Show" Jones because he frequently failed to make it to scheduled performances, or if he did was unable to perform. Jones got his act back together in 1979 when he won a Grammy for He Stopped Loving Her Today. His family lived for a while in Beaumont and the Beaumont Convention Bureau began a move to name a new bridge being built over the Neches Rver in his honor. The idea was quietly allowed to pass away when people in this bible belt are began to offer their objections based on Jones' questionable past. The people in his hometown of Sarasota, Texas, hearing of the situation with regard to the bridge decided to name Old Highway 770 between Kountze and Sarasota - George Jones Highway in his honor.
Buck Owens, a native of Sherman, Texas, was a top country and western recording star with a 16 year string of number one hits on the country and western music scene. In later years, Owens was a host of the television show Hee-Haw. He retired from show business in 1991 when he performed his last concert at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth when he was 62 years old.
Mickey Gilley, whose club, Gilley's, in Pasadena, Texas rose to fame in the urban cowboy days, owes some of his fame to the luck of the Irish. The recording that started his national fame, was more or less an afterthought that was placed on the flip side of the record he and his fellow musicians thought was the one that had a chance of becoming a hit song. Gilley went on to be a winner of the Academy of Country Music Entertainer Of The Year Award and a Grammy.
Gilley's, the club, was famous in its own right long before the movie in which it was featured, Urban Cowboy. Big stars on their way up performed live there. There were many live radio shows broadcast from Gilleys. Despite all its fame, Gilley's was and remained a honky-tonk until it closed due to a dispute between Mickey Gilley and his onetime partner Sherwood Cryer. Mickey wanted to clean the place up or build a newer, better, classier club. He was able to do that in a club he built in Branson, Missouri.
Up and coming western singer Neal McCoy's real name is Neal McGaughey. He hails from Jacksonville, Texas. His first record album was released by Atlantic Records in 1990. His first video won awards in 1991.
Another up and coming singer is Delbert McClinton of Fort Worth. He shared a Grammy award in 1992 with Bonnie Rait for their duet Good Man, Good Woman on Bonnie's album entitled Luck of the Draw.
Jeff McKissack was a postman. It was what he did in his spare time that has given him artistic fame. He built the Orange Show. A permanent, multi-level folk art maze dedicated to the orange. He made imaginative use of what some would call junk to build the Orange Show located in Houston. You have to see it to believe it!
John Brendan Flannery was Irish born. He was an economics professor at Incarnate Word College, in San Antonio and an instructor in International Relations at Saint Mary's University. He was the author of many papers and a book on economics. Dr. Flannery was also the author of the Irish Texans, which, with John Flannery's encouragement, led to this book.
Preston Jones, a friend and my mentor in darts, was a playwright. He did not start being one until the age of 37, in 1973. Before and after Jones began writing plays, he appeared as an actor in productions of the Dallas Theater Center. His "Texas Trilogy" was an instant success. He was hailed as the next Eugene O'Neil. His plays appeared on Broadway, in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and on many smaller stages across the United States to the delight of many Americans. It was everyone's loss when he died in 1979.
June McRoberts of Salado, Texas designed, in 1986, the Texas tartar based on the colors of the bluebonnet. It has been copyrighted and registered in Scotland as an authentic scottish tartan.
Stage, Screen, and Television
Rhea Epstein Macadams was known as "Lady Mac", she worked with Thomas Alva Edison on his first "talkies". She starred in a number of them as well.
Tim McCoy was one of the earliest western heroes. His real name was John Fitzgerald. McCoy was not from Texas, but spent a lot of time in Texas through the years, including a stint as a Texas Ranger. He played in the silent movies and then the first talkies. His acting career spanned 45 years and 80 films. His most famous film was Destry Rides Again. Tim McCoy was always dressed in black and wore a high peaked white ten-gallon cowboy hat. He toured with circuses and wild west shows when he was not making movies. He worked hard to have real Indians play the Indians in the movies. They appreciated his work and called him High Eagle. The U.S. Army called him Colonel in World Wars I & II. Unlike many other of the screen cowboys, Tim was the real McCoy.
George R. Phillips, a.k.a. Spanky McFarland, of the Our Gang series of early movies, was born in Dallas. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas. He was only three years old when he made his first film. The Our Gang series of comedy films has provided classic entertainment for several generatins.
Dorothy Malone lives in Dallas, where she attended Southern Methodist University. Her first big movie was The Big Sleep in 1946. She won best supporting actress for her work in Written on the Wind in 1956. She is pictured to the right. In the late sixties, Dorothy Malone was seen on the television program Peyton Place. She played the role of Constance Carson once more in the TV movie, Peyton Place: the Next Generation.
Carolyn Jones was born in Amarillo. An outstanding screen star, she received an Academy Award nomination for her work in The Bachelor Party. Carolyn Jones later was well known as Morticia in the TV series, The Addams Family.
Audie Murphy was also an author and movie star. His book, To Hell and Back, was made into a movie in which he starred. In all, Murphy starred in 40 movies, most all of them westerns. His most notable movie was about the Civil War. The movie was the Red Badge of Courage, which was released in 1951. It was directed by Irishman John Huston. Something not generally known about Murphy, he was once an undercover man for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Gene Tierney was a Texas girl who went to Hollywood and made it big. She starred in 36 films and was a very popular screen star in the 1940's and '50's. Gene Tierney played opposite the likes of Clark Gable, Rex Harrison, Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, and Irishmen Tyrone Power and Spencer Tracey. She was also in three Broadway plays. In fact it was her role in a Broadway play that captured the attention of movie producer Darryl Zanuck and began her film career. Gene Tierney is pictured to the right.
Tierney was, at one time, married to fashion designer Oleg Cassini. Gene Tierney was one of those friendly with Howard Hughes during his days in Hollywood. In 1961, she married Howard Lee. Faustine Lee (McCarthy) was Howard Lee's daughter by a previous marriage. Faustine and Gene were close. Gene Tierney felt her most prized role was in Laura. She received an Oscar nomination for her work in Leave Her to Heaven.
In 1979, she wrote an autobiography in collaboration with Houston newsman Mickey Herskowitz entitled, Self-Portrait. In the book, Gene Tierney revealed a long life of mental anguish. She also told of a romance with a young naval officer by the name of John F. Kennedy. Gene Tierney's career in film spanned 29 years, from 1940 to 1969.
Dale Evans the "Queen of the Cowgirls" and the wife and partner of Roy Rogers. was born in Uvalde, Texas. She was born Lucille Wood Smith but that was changed while she was still an infant to Frances Octavia Smith. She married young to a Mr. Fox, so she was Frances Fox. She and Mr. Fox divorced and she married a Mr. Johns and she was known as Frances Johns. Her singing career was picking up and she decided to adopt a stage name and thus she became Dale Evans. Though she married again to a Mr. Butts she continued to go by her stage name. And then she met Sylvester Slye whose stage name was Roy Rogers. They were married 51 years and appeared in a lot of movies, television shows, rodeos and other productions together. Dale was an author and had several religious and inspirational books published.
< Lucille and Sylvester
Greer Garson was born in County Down, Ireland. She became a stage actress in London. Garson, whose first name is a contraction of her mother's maiden name, McGregor, went on to Hollywood and recieved an Oscar nomination for her first film, Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1939. She was nominated seven more times. In 1942, Greer Garson won an Oscar for Best-Supporting Actress in Mrs. Miniver. She became one of the 10 most popular Hollywood stars during her day. Greer Garson, pictured right, epitomized the noble, wise and courageous wife in some of the sleekest and most sentimental American movies of the 1940s. Married three times, the last, in 1949, to E. E. "Buddy" Fogelson an oil developer and industrialist who had a home in Dallas, Garson stayed there in the twilight of her career. She died in Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas in 1996 at the age of 92.
El Paso native Mary Frances Reynolds was better known to the world as Debbie Reynolds. She began her career when she was a Girl Scout. She entered a local beauty contest in order to win a scarf and blouse that was being offered; she won, got noticed, and went to Hollywood. Debbie Reynolds was in Hollywood during the golden era. She was a studio contract actress and got the treatment, good and bad that went with that. She appeared in many films. Her first film was The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady in 1948. Debbie Reynolds' most notable films were: Singin' In The Rain, with Irishmen Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor; How the West Was Won; Tammy and the Bachelor; and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which was about Irish woman Margaret Tobin Brown, survivor of the Titanic. One of Debbie Reynolds' last movies was The Singing Nun.
The indefatigable Debbie Reynolds performed on stage and was nominated for a Tony. She has been on television many, many times. Her personal life became a part of American lore when she married a teen idol, crooner Eddie Fisher, in 1955. The subsequent problems after the marriage was, unfortunately, public knowledge. A daughter from that marriage, Carrie Fisher, has emerged as a movie star in her own right. She is best remembered as Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy. She was in movies before Star Wars, uttering a famous unprintable line in Shampoo in 1975. Since her role in the Star Wars pictures, Carrie Fisher has appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters, an academy award winning movie, and in When Harry Met Sally, a very popular movie in 1989. Her book, Post Cards From the Edge, was made into a movie with the same title.
Tommie Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas. He starred in many films. One of his best was in the television mini-series Lonesome Dove.
Dan Blocker, born in DeKalb county was the son of the former Mary Davis. An actor, Dan is best remembered for his role as "Hoss" Cartwright on the television show Bonanza. Dan founded a chain of Steakhouses named after the television show. Dan won Texan of the Year from the Texas Press Association in 1963.
Up and coming stars are Uvalde born Matthew McConaughey who has been featured in many recent films and Houston's Sean Patrick Flanery who played the role of the sixteen year old Indiana Jones in the television production of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles which appeared in March of 1992.
John Moran is the Studio Chief of Digital Service Studios, which he owns. He has recorded national recording stars Clint Black, Little Joe y la Familia, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, and many more.
Mary Martin was a world famous stage performer, best known for her role in South Pacific. She originated the part of Maria in the Sound of Music. Another well remembered role was brought to television, when she played Peter Pan to the delight of millions of viewers. During her long career, Mary Martin won many awards including an Emmy and a Tony. Her hometown of Weatherford has erected a bronze statue of Mary Martin depicting her role of Peter Pan.
< Mary Martin as Peter Pan
Mary Martin's son is Larry Hagman, known worldwide as J. R. Ewing from his role in the television program, Dallas. The famous Southfork Ranch located in Plano, Texas which was used in the show was formerly the Duncan Ranch. Hagman also has a strong following from the earlier I Dream of Jeannie television comedy show. ........................................................................................ Larry Hagman >
Irene Ryan, who was born in El Paso, was a comedienne who appeared on the Bob Hope radio show and other radio shows including the Saturday at the Shamrock, in Houston at the Shamrock Hotel. Irene Ryan was best known as Granny Clampett in the television series The Beverly Hillbillys.
Carol Burnett is another famous entertainer with Texas, and Celtic roots. She was born in San Antonio. She has a daughter she named Erin. Her very popular television show, The Carol Burnett Show, was family entertainment that everyone got a laugh out of watching. It was on televison for eleven years. After it was off for a while, it was brought back briefly in 1991. Carol also did some serious acting in a number of films. Carol has won five Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the Golden Globe Award, five American Guild of Variety Artists Award, 12 People's Choice Awards and many others all in recognition of her great talent.
She is the second female entertainer (after Lucille Ball) to be named to the TV Academy Hall of Fame. Her autobiography, One More Time, was a best seller. In 1995 she returned to Broadway in Moon Over Buffalo for the first time in 30 years.
Another Texas actress who played Peter Pan is Sandy Duncan of Henderson, Texas. She brought the production made famous by Mary Martin back to television and warmed the hearts of another generation of children. Sandy had her own television show, The Sandy Duncan Show, as well as a television series, Funny Face.
Sandy Duncan is a trouper. Her career continues despite the fact Sandy lost an eye to a benign brain tumor in 1970. Since then she has worn a glass eye. In 1992, Sandy Duncan was appearing in the musical I Do, I Do at the Dallas Summer Musical Theater. She fell in a restaurant dislocating her left shoulder and requiring six stihes around her left eye. Duncan and the show went on.
A fourteen year old Texas teenager, Virginia Katherine McMath, began her show business dancing career by winning a Charleston contest in 1925. After winning, she started travelling the vaudeville circuit. By 1929, she was on Broadway. She was able to find a way to be on Paramount Studio's Long Island lot for a small part in Young Man in Manhatten. In that movie, the non-smoking teenager, now 18, caught the fancy of the American public with her line "Cigarette me, big boy." Her name had changed, she was now going by a name made up of a dimunitive of her first name and the surname of her stepfather, Ginger Rogers.
Ginger Rogers became a versatile Academy Award winning actress, comedienne, singer and most of all, dancer. She made 73 movies overall, but is best remembered for the ten films she made with Fred Astaire. From their first movie, Flying Down to Rio in 1933 to The Barclays of Broadway in 1949, she and Astaire glided their ways into America's hearts with their dancing. Rogers won her Oscar in a non-dancing role as Kitty Foyle in the movie of the same name in 1940. Ginger Rogers made her last movie in 1965 playing Jean Harlow's mother in Harlow.
Texas Governor Ann Richard's, once recounted just how good Ginger Rogers was by recalling how exciting it was to watch Astaire and Rogers dance. Everyone seems to think of Astaire's dancing as great but just remember, Richard's said Ginger Rogers was his dancing partner "and she did it backwards on high heels."
< Patsy McLenny (Morgan Fairchild)
Patsy McClenny says she was an ugly duckling up until High School. Today she is the beautiful Morgan Fairchild, movie star.
Mary Brian, an actress who played opposite W. C. Fields, was born in Corisicana, Texas. Bebe Daniels of Dallas starred with Bing Crosby in the 1931 movie Reaching for the Moon. Constance Moore, also of Dallas, played in a Robert Young television show in the early 60's called Windows on Main Street. Meredith McRae of Houston played Billie Joe on the television show Petticoat unction.
Other actresses with a Texas and a Celtic connection include former model Suzy Parker of San Antonio and Annette O'Toole of Houston. Annette's first performance was on television on the Don Mahoney Show. She has since been in many movies and television productions.
Valerie Perrine was born in Galveston she has enough of an Irish connection that she carries an Irish passport in addition to her American one. She has starred in a number of movies and has appeared on television productions. To many including myself she will always be remembered as Miss Techmacher in one of the Superman movies, a part she played with relish. So successful was her characterization of Miss Techmacher that Playboy magazine gave her a spead. The cover is shown to the left. Another Texas girls with Celtic connections also played in a Superman movie as Louis Lane and many others. She is actress Annette O'Toole shown to the right.
Renee O'Connor of Houston, played Gabrielle the sidekick to televison's Xena, the Warrior Princess. O'Connor has appeared in movie and tv productions with Cheryl Ladd and James Garner. She appeared in Arnold Schwarzenegger's directorial debut and has appeared on such televison shows as NYPD Blue.
< Renee O'Connor
Gussie Nell Davis organized the country's first college girl's drill team in 1940. The Kilgore College Rangerette Drill Team has since gone on to perform worldwide. Gussie's concept has been copied by many others and has been developed into a business. The most famous example of which was the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders in their heyday.
In the American West, morticians often mummified unclaimed bodies. This led to one of the strangest show business careers was that of Anders (sometimes seen as Anderson) McCrew. He was dead during all of his 55 year career as a showman. McCrew was killed in a train accident in Marlin, Texas in 1917. No one ever came. A travelling circus passing through town heard about the body and asked if they could buy it. They did, and for 55 years, Anderson McCrew was put on display by the circus. He was finally laid to rest in 1973, sixty years after his death. He was not alone in his reason for fame, In 1977 the mummified body of outlaw Elmer McCurdy, thought previously to be a dummy, was discovered in Long Beach. After he was killed by a sheriff's posse in 1912, he was mummified and had a long postmortem career as a wax museum and carnival attraction.
Mary Louise Cecelia Guinan was not famous, but she was a notoriously known individual. Her life started out normal enough, in Waco on a ranch. Mary Louise felt drawn to show business. She went to vaudeville doing tricks with her lariat and horse. When westerns became popular, she began a career in Hollywood where they used her skill with a rope and a horse. She appeared in 21 movies for four different studios. But then things changed, Mary Louise, now called "Tex" Guinan got in with a fast crowd. She became a famous mistress of ceremonies and more - at several famous illegal nightclubs in New York during the Prohibition era. Her one liners and man taming lifestyle were a blueprint for another Irish girl, Mae West. Mae West used it as an act, "Tex" Guinan lived it. In the Roaring Twenties, Guinan was making as much as $4,000 a week. She gave the American lexicon the phrases; "Hello, Sucker", "Never give a sucker an even break", and "Give the little ladies a big hand."
The police would raid Guinan's joints only to have another spring up in days. The relationship between her and the police was such that she wore a gold necklace made up of padlocks like those the police used to close her clubs. On her diamond bracelet she had a gold charm in the shape of a police whistle. To give you an idea of where Mae West got some of her ideas, here are two of "Tex" Guinan's quips - "Its having the same man around the house all the time that ruins matrimony"; "This is great stuff," she said when once handed a glass of water, "for going under bridges."
A Texan who could tell a story and get paid for it was Bob Murphey of Nacogdoches. Murphey, a raconteur extraordinaire could spin a yarn until you were completely enthralled and then catch you with a punch line. His most famous quote is, "Never tell a man a lie bigger than he'll believe." Murphey made as many as 100 talks a year and made appearances on televison.
Gwynn Henry was born in a covered wagon in a pecan grove in Eden, Texas in 1887. As a young man and a member of the Howard Payne College track team he won many track and field events. He won so many events the West Texas Intercollegiate Association instituted a rule limiting the number of events an individual could compete in, to three. In 1910, Henry placed first in the American Athletic Union National Championships in New Orleans. The Irish-American Club of New York sponsored Henry in 1911, the year he won the national 100 yard dash title. He was on the All American Track Teams of 1910 and 1911. In his later years, Gwynn Henry was a successful head football coach at the University of Missouri.
Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame coach, came to Texas often. Usually to Saint Edward's University in Austin run by the same religious order as at Notre Dame. Rockne once said, the person who knew more about football than any man in America was Paul Tyson. Paul Tyson was a Texas high school football coach (Waco). His mother was Sue McDonald. Paul Tyson is in the Men of TexasHall of Fame.
In 1938, Davey O'Brien, was quarterback of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. He won the Heisman Trophy that year. The trophy is awarded annually to the nation's leading football player. He also won the Camp and Maxwell trophies in the same year, one of few athletes to accomplish the triple award. Today there is an annual trophy offered to an outstanding football player in the name of Davey O'Brien.
< Davey O'Brien
The next two Celtic names from Texas to appear on the list of Heisman trophy winners were Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. Both played for the University of Texas Longhorns.. Campbell led the country with 1,744 yards rushing in 1977, the year he won the Heisman. He finished his college career as the fourth highest yard gainer in the history of college football. His football jersey number (20) is the only jersey number retired at the University of Texas. Earl Campbell was the number one draft choice in 1978 when he was picked by the Houston Oilers. The "Tyler Rose", as he was known, since he came from Tyler, Texas - a town renowned for its roses - was outstanding for the Oilers. In his rookie year of 1978, he set a club record for the most yards gained and tied an NFL record for most 100 yard games by a rookie (7). In 1979, he taught school to the Miami Dolphins in a Monday Night Football game on national television. The Dolphins were leading the game in the fourth quarter. Earl Campbell ran for two touchdowns, one for twelve yards and one for 81 yards. His total yardage for the night was 199 yards. The final score was Miami 30, Houston 35. That night, he also became the first Oiler to run over a 1,000 yards in a season since 1967. Campbell went on to win the N.F.L. leading rusher total for the 1979 season with 1,450 yards. Earl Campbell won the title for three years, saving the best for the last. In 1980, Earl Campbell rushed for 1,934 yards. In 1991, Earl Campbell became a member of football's Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Errick Lynne "Ricky" Williams, Jr. is a running back for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints fifth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Texas, where he was a two-time All-American (1997 and 1998) and won the 1998 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football.
Other black athletes of note in Texas with Celtic names include: Steve McNair of the then Houston Oilers, Basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy, and tennis star Lori McNeil.
Some key Irishmen played important roles in the rivalry between The University of Texas and Texas A&M and the development of many of their traditions.
Charles Barthell "Charley" Moran was a baseball player in the Texas League the year his team, Cleburne, won the Texas League Championship. He then played for the St. Louis Cardinals before returning to Texas to coach football. Moran kept active in baseball, he umpired for twenty three years in the National League including four World Series.
In 1909 he began coaching football at Texas A&M. They beat Texas twice that year. In 1912, the University of Texas announced would not play A&M because of their coach. Texas accused Moran of using "ringers" in his program. A&M let Moran go and the rivalry was re-established in 1915, the year the Southwest Conference played its first schedule. There was a lot of controversy over letting Moran go. He was the best coach A&M ever had up until that point and many alumni didn't care for Texas forcing the issue. There is a plaque honoring Coach Charley Moran on the A&M campus.
< Coach Charles Barthell Moran
A&M was fired up over Texas refusing to play them in the three previous years, and upset the Longhorns, 13 - 0. Key to the upset was the play of A&M punter and Irishman Harry Warren "Rip" Collins. The next year the game was in Austin. The Longhorns introduced their first mascot, a Texas longhorn steer that was kept on the sidelines during the game. Texas won that game 21 - 7.
It was decided to brand the score onto the longhorn, but before the Texas students got to it, some Aggie cadets found the steer and branded the 13-0 score of the previous year onto its hide. To cover up the brand the Longhorns decided to call their mascot "Bevo", they converted the 13 to a `B' the dash was made the `E', and a `V' was inserted before the `O'. Bevo was the brand name of a popular non-alcoholic beer during Prohibition.
Harry Warren "Rip" Collins, the man behind the 1915 win by A&M, who had much to do with the final score and therefore the naming of the Texas mascot, was quite an athlete. He led Austin High School to the State Football Championships of 1913 and 1914. In that 1915 game against the University of Texas he punted 23 times with a 55 yard average. After college he played baseball in the Texas League as a pitcher. In 1920 he was sent to the New York Yankees where he stayed for an eleven year major league baseball career. After baseball, Collins entered law enforcement. He was a Texas Ranger, Sheriff, and Police Chief of Bryan, Texas during his law and order career.
The former A&M coach, Charley Moran, was responsible for A&M's twelfth man tradition. Charley Moran was coaching the Centre College Colonels in a 1922 game against the A&M Aggies at Fair Park in Dallas at the first Dixie Classic, the forerunner to the Cotton Bowl. Quarterback for the Colonels was Celt and Texan Alvin "Bo" McMillin. Alvin Nugent McMillin quarterbacked his high school football team to be the State Champions in 1915. The whole Fort Worth Northside High School football team seniors went, with their coach, to become the football team at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. The Colonels were touted as the best football team in the country. The Dixie Classic game was a rough one causing a lot of injuries. The Aggies, or the Farmers as they were called then, were running out of players. A&M coach, Dana X. Bible went into the stands to get a former player, E. King Gill, who quit football to concentrate on baseball. Gill suited up and stood ready, but was never needed. The Farmers won the game because the Colonel's McMillin threw an interception which was run back for a touchdown.
In 1919 McMillin was selected as an All American. In 1921 (W.W.I. gave the transplanted Texans an extra year of eligibility), the Centre Colonels achieved national attention when they beat a team from Harvard that was unbeaten in six years. After graduation from Centre College, Alvin McMillin began a coaching career which moved him from small colleges to larger ones. In 1934, he was coaching Indiana University and took them to the Big Ten Championship. He later went on to the National Football League where he coached the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1940, McMillin was elected the President of the N.F.L. Coaches Association. In 1945, Alvin Nugent McMillin was Coach of the Year and Football Man of the Year. McMillin is enshrined in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. McMillin's best known innovation as a football coach was the five back offense. He also invented the "Crazy T" backfield formation.
Helen Knox was one of the first women to letter in a sport in Texas. She lettered in Tennis at the University of Texas in 1920.
The strongest man in Texas during the 1920's was Thomas Jefferson "Stout" Jackson. Ever since he was seventeen, Jackson could horseshoes with his hands. His real specialty was using his back. Touring county fairs in Texas and Oklahoma during the twenties, Jackson would lift, with his back, impressive weights. In a picture taken during this time, thirteen men are standing on a platform held up by two sawhorses. T. J. Jackson climbs under the platform and lifts it free of the sawhorses. In March, 1924, Jackson lifted 6,472 pounds with his back in Lubbock, Texas.
Daniel Allen Penick's mother was Elizabeth Cochrane. He was the longtime and noted tennis coach at the University of Texas. His team won the Southwest Conference title just about every year he was there. Penick was President of the Texas Tennis Association for over 50 years.
Berkeley Bell in 1929 and Kevin Curren in 1979 were the N.C.A.A. tennis single champions. Both men represented The University of Texas.
Houston was home to a man who held trapshooting records from all over the world. Beginning in 1917 through the 1950s and early sixties there were few people who could outshoot Forest W. "Frank" McNeir. McNeir at one time was the Clay Target Champion of North America, Britain, Belgium, Canada, and Cuba. Frank McNeir was of Scottish descent. Frank McNeir is pictured on the right.
There was another award for which Forest W. McNeir was very proud, he was the only living recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Gold Medal for Life Saving. All other medal winners were awarded the medal posthumously, and after a few years the medal was no longer awarded. McNeir was awarded his medal for the rescue of a fireman who was trapped at the top of a high ladder. The fireman was caught in the current of an electric wire while the fire raged toward him. This was in 1910, and Forest McNeir was a young man who was drawn to the fire by the sirens. When the fireman became trapped and everyone else seemed unable to act, Frank McNeir moved from being a spectator to attempt to rescue the fireman. McNeir climbed the ladder, through flames and smoke, and tore the fireman loose. The fireman slid down the ladder to safety. The current jolted McNeir from the ladder to a firetruck 50 feet below. He bounced off the truck and landed on the concrete. After an extensive hospital stay, Frank McNeir recovered and went on to his fabulous career as America's trapshooting champion.
Ben Hogan was born in Dublin, Texas and raised in Fort Worth. In his heyday he was known as the "Texas Hawk." He won five U.S. Open Golf Championships. In the record books he is shown as being tied with Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, and Jack Nicklaus for winning four U. S. Opens. During the war years, an official U.S. Open was not held, but Hogan won the Hail America U.S. Open and was awarded a gold first place medal from the U.S. Golf Association that looks exactly like his other four medals.
< Ben Hogan
Ben Hogan was the top money winning golfer in the years 1940 - 1942. He came back in 1946 and 1948 to lead the pack again. Hogan was hurt seriously in an automobile accident near Van Horn, Texas that left him with multiple injuries in 1949. He lay on the highway for an hour before he was transported 100 miles to a hospital in El Paso. His shoulder bone was almost fractured in two; his left ankle bone was split; and his hip and legs hip were damaged. He succeeded in an incredible comeback in 1953 to win three of the four majors: the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open. Hogan was named Male Athlete of the Year for his effort. During the period 1951-1954, he alternated winning the Masters with fellow Irishman, Sam Snead. A movie was made of Hogan's life and starred Irishman Glenn Ford. The film was Follow the Sun. In 1966 at the age of 57, Ben hogan showed golfers he still had it when he finished six under par for the Houston Open Golf Tournament, tieing Charles Coody for Third Place and taking home $7,187.50. In 1970, he tied five others, including Lee Trevino, for Ninth Place and took home $2,600.00.
The highest single season batting average in the Southwest Conference (SWC) is held by Mickey Sullivan, who played for Baylor 1952-1954. His batting average in 1954 was .519. Sullivan was named to the Modern Era All - Time SWC Baseball Team in 1986 as an outfielder. Today, he is the Head Baseball Coach of Baylor University. Other Irish SWC baseball players from the past who excelled in their sport include: Texas Christian University pitcher Pat Donahue; University of Texas infielders Pinky Higgins and Grady Hatton; and Celt Spike Owen, of the University of Texas, who played shortstop in 1980-1982 and also made the All SWC team.
Michael Francis "Pinky" Higgins was captain of the 1930 University of Texas team. He entered the major leagues playing for the Philadelphia Athletics. Higgins was in Major League Baseball for 39 years as a player, coach, and scout. He managed the Boston Red Sox from 1955 - 1962. In 1958, Michael Higgins was voted Manager of the Year. "Pinky" Higgins was from Red Oak, Texas. He got his name because he had a cold. It was winter and his mother would not let him out to play ball because of the cold. He finally convinced her to let him go, but only if he promised to wear some warm clothes. Not able to find anything quickly, he asked to borrow his mother's pink flannel top to wear under his uniform. He put the top on, his team mates found out, and thus Mike Higgins became "Pinky" Higgins.
< Michael Francis "Pinky" Higgins
Roy McMillan, of Bonham, Texas set a National League record in 1958 for the most double plays by a shortstop (129). McMillan played for the Cincinnatti Reds. Texan Willard Mullin was a cartoonist for the New York-World Telegram from 1934-1966. His cartoons were in the sports pages. His most famous work was the cover of Time magazine when the New York Mets won the World Series. His most endearing creation was the caricature known as the "Brooklyn Bum." This drawing was of a tramp with tattered clothes who sported cigar butts and flapping soles on his shoes. His words were in fractured English, and spoke the language of the Brooklyn Dodger fan of the day.
Patricia McCormick was born and grew up in Big Spring, Texas. She wanted to be a bull fighter. Many attempted to discourage her from entering the male dominated sport that was well known for its inflated egos and machismo. She went on to have a successful career. By 1963, she had killed 300 bulls. Patricia McCormick became known as the world's best female bullfighter. The truth be known, Patricia McCormick was a lot better than many of the men in her chosen sport.
Maureen Connolly, nicknamed "Little Mo" won the Wimbledon Women's Singles Championship 1952-1954. She was U.S. Open Singles Champion 1951-1953. Winning Wimbledon and the U. S. singles titles three times each, was quite an achievement, but she was still not done. She was the first woman ever to win the Grand Slam in Tennis: the U.S., British, French, and Australian Open. Maureen Connolly was named U. S. Sports Woman of the Year for three years in succession.
< Maureen Connolly
Frank B. Ryan played football at Rice University and earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 1958. He went on to obtain a masters and a doctorate in mathematics. In between the last two degrees, he quarterbacked the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League to an NFL championship in 1964. After a career in college athletics (he was athletic director at Yale for ten years), government, and industry, Ryan returned to his alma mater in 1990. He is Vice President for External Affairs at Rice University.
Larry McPhail, of Richardson, Texas, made Parade Magazine's All-America High School soccer team in 1986. What is interesting about McPhail's choice is he did not play soccer for his local high school, but on a club team. McPhail was also named to the U. S. Junior National Team.
Nolan Ryan was born in Refugio, Texas and lives in Alvin, Texas. He got his first major league strikeout pitching for the New York Mets on September 11, 1966. Seventeen years later, as a Houston Astro he struck out his 3,509th batter breaking a 55-year old record set by Walter Johnson. In 1989, Ryan went to play for the Texas Rangers. In 1990, forty-three year old Ryan threw his sixth no-hitter. He also drove his strikeout record to 5,000 by putting up a "K" (baseball symbol for a strikeout) on dangerous hitter Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics.
< Nolan Ryan as an Astro
Ryan passed another important career mark when he won his 300th game. In a pre-season exhibition game, Nolan Ryan pitched for the Rangers against his alma mater, the University of Texas Longhorns, who had as their starting pitcher, Reid Ryan, Nolan's son. The Rangers won, but the Longhorns did better than expected against the professional team. On May 1, 1991, Ryan pitched his seventh no-hitter at age 44. Ryan's family has been in Texas for more than 100 years.
Sean Patrick O'Grady, born in Austin, Texas, was U.S. Lightweight boxing Champion in 1981. Previously, he held the Oklahoma Bantamweight title.
Barrel racer, Billie Hinson McBride, is one of those rodeo performers honored in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
Houstonian Pete McCordic bowled a perfect 300 game in a match that was televised in 1987. He and his twin brother Paul joined the Professional Bowlers association in 1973. The McCordic brothers were very active in junior bowling activities in the their youth. Paul is now a C.P.A., but Pete still bowls professionally. In 1991 a youth bowling tournament was organized bearing Pete McCordic's name. The Pete McCordic Young American Bowling Alliance tournament was held at the Emerald Bowl in Houston and coordinated by Theresa Connolly.
Max McGee of White Oak, Texas played in the first Super Bowl. He wasn't expected to start so he partied the night before but got in before getting caught. The next day he did catch it, the football, scoring the Super Bowl's first touchdown. Before the game was over Max had caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns to give the Green Bay Packers the First Super Bowl title.
Jim Kelly, the quarterback of the short lived Houston Gamblers kept things exciting with his brand of football in the Houston Astrodome. Kelly went on to be quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the NFL. In the 1990 and 1991 seasons, Kelly led his team to the Super Bowl.
The only woman to win three indoor NCAA track and field championships in one event is Regina Cavanaugh. Regina was attending Rice University, when she set records with her shot-putting. Regina did this while attending pre-med school and maintaining a 3.49 grade point average in 1987.
Starting Quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns when they opened the 1988 season was Shannon Kelley. In 1990 Kelley married America's sweetheart of the 1984 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton.
The coach of the University of Texas Longhorn football team from 1987 - 1991 was David McWilliams. McWilliams was one of the tri-captains on the 1963 national-championship Longhorn team. During his stint as head coach, the Longhorns won an outright Southwest Conference championship in 1990 and played in the 1991 Cotton Bowl. David McWilliams is still with the University of Texas where he is in charge of the Longhorn Foundation.
Mike Quinn, who became quarterback for Stephen F. Austin's Lumberjacks in 1996 when James Ritchey moved on to the N.F.L., has moved the team to a position where it is ranked 3rd nationally. In his first two games of the 1996 season, he passed for 573 yards and six touchdowns.
Big Lou McEachern holds the national record for casting, 917 feet (1990). McEachern has won the title in 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991. To demonstrate his ability, McEachern, in January 1991, cast a line over the Astrodome. The Beaumont area resident comes from a fishing family. His father, Marvin McEachern held the Texas record for a black drum fish (78 pounds) for more than twenty years. His wife, Terea, won the regional finals in 1990, and his two older children have each placed in competition.
H. R. McGee caught a 13 pound, 8 ounce largemouth bass from Medina Lake in 1943.
The 1990 Texas Open golf tournament was won by Mark O'Meara. In 1991 it was won by Blaine McCallister in a playoff, the first in the Texas Open since John Mahaffey won in a playoff in 1985.
1992 saw the sale of the Houston Astros to Drayton McLane Jr., one of the rare single owners of a U. S. Major League baseball team. Mr. McLane took the food business his father developed into an $11 million dollar corporation and made it the nation's largest distributor of goods to convenience stores that did $3.5 billion dollars worth of business in 1991. The business was started by McLane's grandfather, Robert McClane, in 1894. Robert McClane invested his earnings from working as a farm laborer into a small grocery store in Cameron, Texas. That investment provided a livelihood for three generations of McLanes. In 1963, Drayton McLane, Sr. was elected President of the United States Wholesale Grocers Association. In 1990, the company won the Texas Association of Businesses' Texas Business of the Year. That same year McLane sold the business to Wal-Mart and stayed aboard to run the business for the late Sam Walton. McLane bought the Astros from senior shareholder John McMullen.
< Drayton McLane, Jr.
McMullen a New York shipping magnate who lived in New Jersey was never popular with Houston baseball fans even though under his ownership the Astros performed well. He is best remembered for both the signing and selling of Nolan Ryan.
Rachel McLish, a former U. S. women's bodybuilding champion, lived in the Rio Grande Valley. She attended Pan American College where she met John McLish. The former Rachel Livia Elizondo became Mrs. McLish in the early eighties. Rachel has since remarried and is attempting a career in films.
There have been a number of fine Irish pubs and restaurants in Houston over the years, there was McCurley's Tavern and Brennan's Tavern before and during the Texas Revolution, Dick Dowling's Bank of Bacchus before and after the Civil War, and many, many more. In modern times there have been; Gallagher's, Harrigan's, Bennigans, Brennans, Mickey O'Tooles, Kennealy's, Fitzgerald's, Timothy's, Houlihans, Molly McGuires, and Pat O'Briens to name a few. Some Irish places are more recognizeable than others. It is easy to figure the likes of the Irish Rover, Green Derby and The Shamrock; but it takes going there to know places like Mama Hatties, Local Charm, King Biscuit, the Pig 'n Whistle, the Airship Pub, Birraporettis and the Black Forest Tavern and Gardens have an Irish inclination. The most famous Irish pub or eatery in Houston, in my memory, now that the Shamrock is gone, is Grif's Shillelagh Inn. Founded in 1962 by Michael Joseph Patrick Griffin as a sports bar,it has became an institution and some will tell you an experience.
Grif's Army, sports fans from Grifs, who travel by bus from Grif's to many of Houston's top sporting events are the best known and visible representatives of the sports bar (other than Ambassador/General Grif). The professional sports teams that have and/or continue to play in Houston; the Houston Aeros, Astros, Hurricane, Oilers, Gamblers and Rockets have all been supported by Grif's Army in a very visible and enthusiastic way. Other sports bars have come and gone, are bigger and brighter, but there is only one like Grif's. Though off in a part of the city not on the main path, Grif's has a steady stream of regulars that go back years and years. There are also those once a year visitors. It is not unusual for Grif's to serve as many as 5,000 people on a Saint Patrick's Day or related event. There's talk of a movie being made that will feature Grif's. The movie is titled Pecos Moon and was written by an old Grif regular who was a true blue member of Grif's Oiler Army. He and his new bride spent the first day of their honeymoon with the gang at an Oiler game.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
The twentieth century began in Texas having a Governor of Irish descent. Governor Joseph D. Sayers' administration was overwhelmed by the disastrous hurricane that hit Galveston Island in 1901. Six thousand people lost their lives, and the city was very nearly destroyed. The storm gave credence to the logic of a port for Houston 50 miles inland from Galveston Bay, and over 100 miles from the open sea and its dangers. Many Irish were involved in the Port of Houston and its development. There vision has proved to be profound, for the Port of Houston ranked second in the nation according to U. S. Department of Commerce figures for 1990 in volume of foreign tonnage (63 million ton) across its docks.
In 1902, in Uvalde, Texas, John "Cactus Jack" Garner was elected as a United States Congressman. Garner, of Scottish and Welsh descent, was one of the last politicians born in a log cabin. The log cabin was a two-story cabin with a handcarved, winding staircase, and a fireplace on each floor. John Nance Garner's original claim to fame was as a shortstop for the team that finally beat the area dominant Possum Trot baseball team. Garner's team was called the Coon-Soup Hollow-Blossom Prairie team. Garner was in politics before his election to the U.S. Congress. He was elected to the Texas Legislature in 1898.
Two Irish Women Battle For The Alamo
Clara Driscoll's father was an Irishman who built a fortune in south Texas as a cattleman. He invested in banks and property in the Corpus Christi area. He sent his daughter abroad for her education. When she returned she was shocked to find one of the shrines of the Texas Revolution, the Alamo, in a state of dilapidation. The adjoining properties, where most of the battle was actually fought, were in private hands and also in disrepair. The state owned the chapel itself, the famous recognizable symbol of all that was the Alamo, but it was not cared for. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas led by Adina de Zavala was seeking to buy up the property of what was once the Alamo and properly preserve it for history.
< Clara Driscoll
Adina De Zavala was the granddaughter of Lorenzo de Zavala, the first Vice President of Texas. Adina was born in sight of the San Jacinto battlefield at the Zavala family home on Buffalo Bayou opposite the battlefield. She was the daughter of former Confederate Navy Captain Augustine De Zavala and his Irish born wife, the former Julia Tyrell. Julia was a patrician, born in Dublin and educated in Galveston. Adina De Zavala is pictured to the right.
For several years, Adina had tried to obtain for the State of Texas title of the privately owned two-story former quarters and offices of the Alamo missionaries. The building was known as the "convento" or as the "long barracks." This building saw much of the bloodiest fighting at the Alamo. In 1908 Adina was told that a syndicate which had an option to build a hotel on the property back of the Alamo intended to seize the Alamo and tear it down to erect a plaza in front of their property. The lawyers who usually assisted Adina were out of town. She remembered them telling her possession is nine points of the law, so she hired three men to guard the Alamo and took possession of the convento. Adina described in her own words what happened next.
At dusk, just as I was giving them some last instructions, the raid was made. The agents of the syndicate threw my men out bodily, expecting to take possession. They did not know I was in an inner room, and when I hurried out to confront them, demanding by what right they invaded the historic building, consternation reigned. They withdrew outside the building for whispered consultation. The instant they stepped out, I closed the doors and barred them. That's all. There was nothing else for me to do but hold the fort. So I did.
Adina De Zaval piqued national interest when newspapers coast to coast reported that she had locked herself in the Alamo barracks for three days to protest a commercial take over. She even faced down the local Sheriff who tried to serve her an injunction which she refused to accept. A song came out entitled "Remember The Alamo" with Adina's picture on the sheet music.
Though she had won this battle there was still a campaign on to raise funds. Clara Driscoll joined with Adina's organization, the De Zavala Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas in an effort to raise the money necessary to buy the property and to prevent the construction of a hotel beside the Alamo chapel. The goal of the group was $75,000. A public appeal to Texans was made to assist in the cause, but when the time came, the money was not raised. Clara Driscoll presented her own certified check for the majority of the money and the hotel was not built. Two years later, the state obtained clear title and deed to the property and presented the entire Alamo site to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for safe keeping. For her efforts, Clara Driscoll was hailed as "The Savior of the Alamo." Adina De Zavala became known as the "First Lady of Texas Historic Preservation" for her work in helping to restore other historical buildings besides the Alamo including four of San Antonio's Franciscan missions and the Spanish Governor's Palace.
Clara Driscoll continued throughout her life to work for the preservation of Texas history and its historical artifacts. In 1943, she gave her home in Austin, called Laguna Gloria, to the Texas Fine Arts Association to be used as a museum.
Clara Driscoll was active in politics and was the Democratic Party's National Committee Woman, a position she held for six years, between 1926 and 1942. In 1939, Clara Driscoll promoted the candidacy of her friend John Nance Garner for President of the United States of America. When Garner pledged his support to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she loyally supported Roosevelt through all four nominations. Clara Driscoll died suddenly in 1945. For her efforts on the part of Texas' and the preservation of one of its most important shrines, her body lay in state at the Alamo.
In her will, Clara Driscoll established the Driscoll Foundation Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi to provide free medical care to underprivileged children. Her greatest gift was her first one; she gave back to Texas one of its shrines and an awareness that the history of Texas needs to be fostered and preserved for succeeding generations to appreciate.
Adina Zaval continued her efforts to preserve history. She encouraged the statewide recognition of Texas Independence Day, wrote a play, The Six National Flags That Have Floated Over Texas, founded, in 1912, along with members of her historical preservation group that she founded in 1893, The Texas Historical and Landmarks Association. The association researched and marked 28 historic places in the state between 1922 and 1935 many years before the state raised its first State Historical Marker. Adina was credited by the State of Texas as the person most responsible for public schools be ing named after Texas heroes. She donated most of her large collection of documents described by experts as "of inestimable value to Texas historians" to the University of Texas.
There are two plaques on the grounds of the Alamo honoring Adina De Zavala one was erected by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the othe by the Bexas County Historical Commission.
1906 saw the appointment of the first County Agent in the United States who served only one county, he was W. C. Stallings. Mr. Stallings was of Irish ancestry on his mothers side. He was 64 years old when he recieved the appointment.
In 1907, the Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory were combined and made into the state of Oklahoma. Playing a key part in the emergence of the new state on Texas' northern border was a man born in Toadsuck, Texas. He was William Henry Murray. Many years later, in 1921, as "Alfalfa Bill" Murray, he was Governor of Oklahoma and very nearly brought about a shooting war with Texas.
Oklahoma, for a number of years, wanted a new bridge built between Dennison, Texas and Durant, Oklahoma. An older bridge was in place, but it was unsatisfactory to the Oklahomans. The old bridge was operated by a private company who charged a toll for its use. A new bridge was built with equal funding by both states. It ran parallel with the old bridge. Opening ceremonies were scheduled and a great fanfare planned. Just before the bridge was to open, the operators of the old bridge filed a suit in Texas courts. The law suit stated that the operators were not properly compensated as per an agreement between all parties, and they asked the court to delay the opening of the new bridge until the matter was settled. A Texas court heard pre-trial motions and suspended the opening of the bridge via a temporary injunction. Texas Governor, Sul Ross ordered barricades erected on all the approaches to the bridge from the Texas side.
"Alfalfa Bill" was furious, he sent the Oklahoma National Guard to see to it the bridge opened as originally scheduled. On July 16, 1931 he issued an executive order claiming Oklahoma's part of the bridge was one of the lanes across the bridge and that Oklahoma had title to both sides of the river by virtue of the Louisiana Purchase and finally that the State of Oklahoma not being a party to the suit was not a party to the injunction. Governor Murray sent highway crews across the bridge to remove the Texas barricades. Texas retaliated by calling in the Texas Attorney General and a three detachments of Texas Rangers to rebuild the barricades. Oklahoma responded with its highway department tearing up the Oklahoma approaches to the old bridge. This stopped all traffic. Both groups of armed men faced each other across the Red River. The Oklahoma National Guard, in moving to insure the bridge's opening, occupied both ends of the bridge. This meant they were on Texas soil. The "invasion" of Texas by the "Oakies" of the north got quite a play in local newspapers and beyond. The toll bridge company filed a suit in an Oklahoma court in Muskogee, Oklahoma calling for the Governor to cease and desist from blocking Oklahoma's approaches to the toll bridge. Before the Oklahoma court could act, Governor Murray declared Marshal Law for a narrow strip of land in Oklahoma that included the Oklahoma approaches to both bridges. Governor Murray stated that in his position as Acting Commander of the Oklahoma National Guard he would not be held by the rulings of the district court. He sent another National Guard unit to the bridge and made a personal appearance at the bridge carrying an antique pistol. Fortunately the matter was quickly solved in the courts when the case of the old bridge operators was settled. The new bridge opened soon after.
The Mayor of Laredo, during the years 1908 - 1912, was Robert McComb.
Thomas M. Campbell, of Scottish heritage, was elected Governor of Texas in 1905. His Mother was the former Rachael Moore. Governor Campbell was a Progressive in the mold of Jim Hogg. He believed in limiting corporate influence in government. Governor Campbell was followed by another Celtic Governor when Oscar Colquitt, of Welsh ancestry, was elected Governor in 1911. Governor Colquitt was another Progressive.
< Governor Campbell; Governor Colquitt >
The revolution in Mexico against the government of Profirio Diaz began to spill across the border during Colquitt's term of office. Texas residents in border cities could stand on their rooftops and watch as rebel and government troops engaged in battle just across the Rio Grande. In 1911, refugees were crossing the Rio Grande into Texas for protection. Right behind them came troops of one side or the other in hot pursuit. Many people were killed. Governor Colquitt asked for federal assistance, but was told to handle the matter with Texas troops. Governor Colquitt sent Texas Rangers to the border. After a time, the situation was in hand, but not before many Mexicans died, some of them innocently by the Texas Rangers.
William Jennings Bryan lived in Texas in the Mission area from 1910 -1916.
The year 1912 was another election year. It was a beginning for some, and for others, it was the beginning of the end. For twenty years, from 1890 until 1910, the Democratic Party leader in Texas was Joseph Weldon Bailey. Bailey served five terms in Congress. When he first went to Washington D. C., he was the youngest Congressman in the House (1891). Joe Bailey was the Minority Leader for the Democrats in the House. He was later elected United States Senator (1901-1913). Bailey's family was of Irish and Scottish descent. The end of Bailey's career came because critics questioned his being a United States Senator, and at the same time, serving as an attorney for oil companies. The critics charged, at the very least, it was a conflict of interests, and at the very worst, unethical. Bailey was investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing. He chose not to run for re-election in 1912.
< Joseph Weldon Bailey
One of Bailey's most famous quotes while embattled in the ethics question was, "... I will not play the hypocrite by pretending to forgive my enemies." The year 1912 saw the Progressives of the Democratic Party take control.
The Progressive forces in Texas during the elections of 1912 won control of the State Democratic Convention and, therefore, Texas' delegates to the National Democratic Convention. Their man for President was Irishman Woodrow Wilson. They stuck with Wilson through 46 ballots to insure him the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
The election of 1912 sent a new congressman to Washington who would have an even greater influence in the House of Representatives than Bailey. Samuel T. Rayburn was born of Irish ancestry in Tennessee. His family moved to Texas in 1887. Sam Rayburn began a career as a teacher, but soon switched to politics. He was a state legislator from 1906-1912. In 1911, Rayburn was elected Speaker of the Texas House. Sam Rayburn was a Progressive and supported President Wilson's legislation as did fellow Texan John Nance Garner, who was now the Democratic Whip of the U. S. Congress. Sam Rayburn is pictured to the right.
President Wilson dedicated the Houston Ship Channel by firing a cannon with a remote control device from Washington D. C. in 1912. Two Celtic Texans were in Wilson's Cabinet: Albert Sidney Burleson, grandson of General Edward Burleson, was the Postmaster, and David Houston was the Secretary of Agriculture.
In 1914, Annette Finnegan, a graduate of Wellesley and a resident of Houston, was elected President of the Texas Suffrage League. She was also elected President of the Women's Political Union. She lobbied hard for equal voting rights for women. She was aided in her work by her sisters Elizabeth and Katherine. Later, Annette Finnegan donated land in Houston's Fifth Ward to be used as a park, a park for Houston's black people. The park is called Finnegan Park, and is still in use today.
< Annette Finnegan
1914 also saw the emergence of one of Texas political history's most interesting characters, James E. Ferguson. Jim Ferguson was of Irish and Scottish ancestry. He left home and Texas when he was sixteen. He drifted west doing odd jobs. He came back to Texas, taught himself law and became a successful lawyer and then a banker in Temple, Texas in Bell County. In the election of 1914 for Governor, James Ferguson called himself "Farmer Jim." He spent most all his campaign time in the farming communities of Texas. He made 155 speeches in the campaign; only 10 speeches were in a town or city. One of his campaign promises was to control the rent tenant farmers had to pay. Sixty-two percent of the farmers in Texas, at that time, were tenant farmers. Ferguson was elected Governor and took office in 1915. His administration was able to get a law passed limiting tenant rent, but it was not easily enforced. He also remembered the farmers when his administration was able to provide aid to the rural schools of Texas.
While governor, James Ferguson set in motion the purchase of land on and around the site of the Washington-on-the-Brazos Convention of March of 1836. That site became the basis for today's State Park and the Star of Texas Museum. ........James E. Ferguson >
One of the hottest issues during Ferguson's term was the Mexican border. The border had again heated up, as did the people of Texas, when it was learned that a Mexican national arrested in McAllen had on his person a document describing "The Plan of San Diego." The plan outlined ways to create rebellion in Texas using Mexican Americans, African Americans, and Japanese Americans. Once all "white" Americans under the age of sixteen were eliminated, a new republic controlled by blacks was to be formed and to serve as a buffer between the United States and Mexico. The plan was not limited to Texas. It included New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, all of the land Mexico lost in the war over Texas.
Not long after, Mexican soldiers raided across the Rio Grande. Governor Ferguson again sent in the Texas Rangers.
"Farmer Jim" won re-election easily in 1916, but the Mexican border was again the focus as a result of Pancho Villa's raids into Glenn Springs and Boquillas, Texas; and Columbus, New Mexico. 1916 also was the year Texas became involved in the spectre of world war.
In January 1917, the famous Zimmermann note was intercepted by English agents. German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann cabled the German Minister in Mexico with instructions that in the event of war between the United States and Germany, he was to negotiate an alliance between Germany and Mexico. Mexico was to attack the United States and in return would be awarded the territory of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The German Minister was to have the Mexican government approach Japan for endorsement of the plan. Texas reaction to the news of the plan was one of anger. The Zimmerman incident, combined with the knowledge of the "Plan of San Diego", immediately increased the rolls of the resurgent Ku Klux Klan in Texas. Mexican Americans and German Americans, as well as Japanese Americans, became targets for their special brand of attention.
The general population of Texas was ill at ease with their German, Japanese, and Mexican neighbors, considering the revelations. In April of 1918, America declared war on Germany. German American Texans, again (remember events of the Civil War), were forced to become insular as the majority of Texans viewed them with suspicion. The same was true of the Japanese in Texas, and to a lesser extent, Mexicans were made to feel a little lower on the caste chart. Matters cooled when the war in Europe was over and the border incidents ceased after the election of Alvaro Obregon (of Irish extraction) as President of Mexico in 1920.
In Texas, Governor Jim Ferguson started a war of his own when he took on the University of Texas in a contest of wills. One good quote from Governor Ferguson on the matter;
The University of Texas is controlled by the rich men's sons. They have, through their college fraternities, established an educational aristocracy who have no respect for the Legislature, for the Governor, or for the Board of Regents, and I shall never be content until they are banished, root and branch, from the State University, and that institution is put in the hands of those in sympathy with the toiling masses, and who, up to this good hour, have had no voice in its management other than to pay exorbitant taxes for its support.
Governor Ferguson then pointed out the appropriations to the school for the current year equaled about $545 per student, versus about $15 per student in the state run schools at lower levels. Ferguson's enemies responded with an investigation into his campaign financial operations, which were highly questionable.
Governor Ferguson raised more than eyebrows when he asked the President of the university check with him before spending any of the appropriated money. When the president resisted, Ferguson attempted to have the president dismissed. Professors at the university supported their president. Governor Ferguson called them a "bunch of butterfly chasers." When the Regents of the university stood against the governor, Governor Jim's response was to veto the university appropriations bill. George W. Brackenridge and others stepped forward and offered to underwrite the budget of the university. In the end, Ferguson was impeached, removed from office and from politics, or so his critics believed...they were wrong.
The Finnegan sisters of Houston's earlier work for women's suffrage, and the efforts of Eleanor Brackenridge of San Antonio, Minnie Cunningham of Galveston, Jane Y. McCallum of Austin, Margie Neal of Carthage, and Eliza Sophie "Birdie" Robertson Johnson brought to Texas women the right to vote in 1918. The nation passed a constitutional amendment (19th Amendment) allowing women the right to vote in 1919. Texas was the first state to ratify the amendment.
Birdie Johnson was of the Robertsons who founded the Roberstson Colony. She and her husband, Cone Johnson, made history when they were both selected to attend the Democratic Convention in San Francisco in 1920. It was the first time in U. S. history that a man and wife were each separately, on their own merits, attending a national political convention of a major party. Mrs Johnson was selected to be the fist woman National Committee Woman in Texas. She also was given the honor of being in the delegation notifying the party's nominee for President of the United States of his selection.
The Klan continued to grow in Texas. The Civil War was over, but klansmen were quick to remind the population of what could have happened if the Germans and Mexicans had their chance. The klan's message was a mixture of patriotism, law-and-order, conservative fundamentalism in matters of moral and ethics, nativist, and white supremacy. Prohibition in Texas, brought about a widespread disrespect for the law. Elected law officials often overlooked transgressions of alcohol related matters. Klansmen were officially prohibitionists. To some, they reflected better maintenance of morals than the elected officials. The Klan realized this and began to participate in elections. They were very successful in many parts of Texas. For instance, from 1922 to 1924, every public office in the city and county government of Dallas was held by a klansman. In 1922, a Klan backed candidate, Earle Mayfield, won election to represent Texas in the United States Senate. The Klan won enough seats in the 1923 election to dominate the Texas Legislature. The Klan decided to run for Governor in 1924.
The Klan candidate was Judge Felix Robertson of Dallas. "Farmer Jim" Ferguson ran unsuccessfully as a third party candidate for President of the U.S. in 1920. In 1924, he decided to run against Robertson for Governor of Texas. Ferguson went to file for the office. The Texas Supreme Court ruled James Ferguson was ineligible to run because of his impeachment. That did not stop Ferguson. He went and filed for his wife, Miriam Amanda Ferguson. James Ferguson was Miriam's campaign manager. During the campaign, a newspaper reporter referred to Miriam Amanda Ferguson as M. A. Ferguson in a story. Not long into the campaign she became known as Ma Ferguson, and James Ferguson became known as Pa Ferguson. One of the Ferguson slogans in the campaign was "two governors for the price of one." In the primary, Ma Ferguson came in second behind Robertson, but qualified for a runoff election against him. The Fergusons ran against the Klan in their runoff campaign. The Fergusons promised to restore the law and order that was necessary in Texas without the negatives that the Klan's brand of law and order would bring. Miriam A. Ferguson was elected Governor of Texas in 1924. This Governor Ferguson was of Irish ancestry; her maiden name was Wallace. She was Texas' first female governor, and missed by five days being the first female governor of any state in the United States (Wyoming also elected a woman governor, Nellie Ross, and her election took place five days earlier). The same election that put Miriam Ferguson into office took the Klan out of power. Anti- Klan legislative candidates won in enough races to spell the end of the Klan as a power in the Texas Legislature.
Pa and Ma Ferguson, Two Governors For One
There was an old story about the Fergusons, that they kept a mule (some versions of the story said a cow) on the front lawn of the Governor's Mansion. Every once in a while, someone would ask to buy the mule/cow, and the Ferguson's would sell it. The mule/cow would somehow get away from the new owner and make it back to the front lawn, only to start the whole cycle again. Whether the point of the story was to say not much happened during the Ma Ferguson administration, or that there were some shady deals made; either observation was correct. Jim Ferguson continued to give out highway contracts to cronies and effected an extremely liberal prison pardon program that some said was profitable to the Governor's husband. Whatever the case, Texas was ready for a change in 1926.
The 1926 elections saw another woman make Texas history when Margie Neal was elected to the Texas State Senate. She was Texas' first woman state senator. Earlier, in 1920, she became the first woman on the State Democratic Executive Committee. In the Senate, she was elected Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Educational Affairs. Margie Neal was elected to four terms. Ms. Neal was, since 1904, the editor and publisher of the East Texas Register, a newspaper she published in Carthage, Texas. Margie Neal was related to Irishman Francis Scott Key.
For governor, Texans elected Irishman Dan Moody. Moody was 33 years old when elected, making him the youngest governor to date. He was a Progressive. Dan Moody cleaned up the Highway Department that was abused by the Fergusons. He reformed the prison system and worked to correct the idea that Texas had become an anti-business state. Mrs. Jane Y. McCallum served as his Secretary of State. She held the office until January, 1933.
< Governor Dan Moody
In 1928, Dan Moody won a second term. 1928 also turned out to be Moody's test by fire. The test came from his own party in Houston. Sam Houston Hall, a block long convention center which could seat 20,000, was built in Houston to house the Democratic National Convention. The convention nominated New York Governor, Al Smith, an Irish Catholic, to be their nominee for President in the elections of 1928. Smith's floor manager for the vote was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smith's candidacy, which began in Houston, ran smack into a train of prejudice on two fronts. Smith was Catholic, and Irish. Al Smith spoke to the matter when he quoted a speech from Irishman Richard L. Shiels of the British House of Commons (Shiels made his comments responding to the accusation that the Irish were "aliens in race, aliens in country, and aliens in religion)". Smith said the Irish immigrants to America paid their dues as Americans:
Partakers in every peril, in the glory are we not to be permitted to participate? And shall we be told as a requital that we are estranged from the whole country for whose salvation our life blood was poured out?
Governor Dan Moody was a Progressive and, therefore, expected to support the party's Progressive candidate. Moody knew Texans were not going to support a Catholic for United States President. So, he did nothing. Moody lost his credibility and his political career as well.
1928 was also an important election year for another Irishman in Texas. Coke Stevenson was elected to the Texas Legislature from Kimble City. His roots go back to William Stevenson who came to the United States from Ireland in 1725. William Stevenson married Mary McLelland. Among their descendants was Methodist circuit preacher William Stevenson, who preached in the days before Texas was a Republic. Coke Stevenson came from a branch further down the same Stevenson tree.
In 1930, the Texas Legislature offered an Indian woman living in Oklahoma assistance. Sixty six years earlier she was taken hostage from the Fitzpatrick settlement in Young County, Texas during the Elm Creek Indian Raid. She was raised a member of the Kiowa tribe and much respected since she was a member of the family of the great chief, Aperian Crow. She was living in Lawton, Oklahoma when it was learned she was the grandaughter of Elizabeth Fitzpatrick. The Indian woman was Elizabeth Fitzpatrick's grandaughter Millie, who Britt Johnson was unable to ransom in 1864. Millie declined the assistance and remained with the Kiowa.
The elections of 1930 brought the Republicans to power in the White House on the slogan of three "P"s; Protestantism, Prohibition, and Prosperity. In Texas, at the same time Al Smith was unable to garner many votes, there was an Irishman elected to office who would effect Texas politics for many years. Tom Connally was elected United States Senator.
Governor Moody signed the bill that made "Texas Our Texas" the State song. The song was written by William John Marsh, the son of the former Mary McCormick. John Philip Souza described the song as the finest state song he ever heard. It was first sung, as the state's official song, by Mrs. Pearl Calhoun Davis in 1929.
Ross Sterling, who is discussed in the petroleum and business section, was elected Governor in 1930. Governor Sterling had to send troops into the East Texas oilfield to limit production, as the rich field was depressing the price of oil and the Texas economy.
Thomas Terry Connally, while a student at the University of Texas, led the student body in a demonstration demanding the University celebrate March 2nd as Texas Independence Day. The University President at the time was a man from the North and felt the students were just trying to have another holiday and resisted until it was obvious the greater part of the school supported the idea.
< Senator Tom Connally
Connally went on to become a member of the Texas Legislature in 1900. In 1906 He was elected to the United States legislature, a position he left to join the war. When he returned he was elected to serve again in the U. S. House of Representatives, serving from 1918 - 1929. In 1929 he ran for and was elected to the U. S. Senate. Thomas Terry Connally served as a Senator for Texas for 24 years. Twelve years earlier he served in the United States Congress. Historians generally agree that no other Texas Senator, save Lyndon Johnson, had as much influence or participated in generating as much legislation as did Tom Connally. His name deserves to be remembered more graciously than it is.
Tom Connally offered a bill for proration of oil in the U.S. Senate. The bill was passed and became law. While serving many years in the Senate, Connally is best known for sponsoring the resolution calling for the United States to join the United Nations. After the United States joined in 1945, Connally was chosen as one of the United States' delegates to the United Nations' meeting in San Francisco in 1945. Senator Tom Connally helped to write the United Nations Charter. The resolution that placed the United States into the United Nations is generally called the Connally Resolution. Senator Connally represented the United States in the 1945 organizational meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, at the first session of the United Nations in London in 1946, and again at its second session.
In 1931, Texas built a "free" bridge across the Red River on highway 75 north of Denison, Texas parallel to a privately owned toll bridge. The owners of the toll bridge were able to obtain an injuction stopping the opening of the new bridge. Texas highway crews put up barricades at both ends of the new bridge until the matter could be settled. This upset the Oklahomans who were looking forward to the free access into Texas. Oklahoma officials asked Texas officials to take down the barricades and open the bridge. When Texas refused to open the bridge, the Oklahoma governor called up six companies of Oklahoma National Guard to remove and keep open the barricades on the bridge. They took down the barricade on the Oklahoma side but were stopped from doing the same on the Texas side by Texas Rangers whose orders were to keep the barricade up until the court case was settled. Oklahoma then closed the road leading to the toll road and all traffic was stopped for three days until an agreement was reached allowing both bridges to be kept open.
In the Democratic National Convention of 1932, John Nance Garner, the Speaker of the House of the United States Congress was the leading Presidential candidate. After four ballots, it was obvious his candidacy was not going anywhere. Garner and Sam Rayburn put their heads together and led the Texas delegation to support the candidacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). FDR was the eventual winner and he offered the Vice-Presidency to Garner. When the Roosevelt - Garner ticket won in 1932, it was only the second time in U.S. history that a Speaker of the House was elected to the office of Vice President (James K. Polk was the other). Garner was not very impressed with his new office. Asked about it later, he said the office did not amount to " a bucket of warm spit."
In Texas, Ma Ferguson, and of course Pa with her, was back in the Governor's mansion. She was elected in 1932 when she beat the politically crippled Dan Moody in the Democratic primary. Ma Ferguson's second administration was uneventful, except like the rest of the nation, it rode the course of the Depression and the Roosevelt administration's attempts to halt it.
Texans played a large part on the national scene. Garner was Vice-President and presided over the Senate, maneuvering Roosevelt's New Deal legislation through the process of becoming law. Rayburn was Chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee in the House and Texan James P. Buchanan was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Another three Texans held key chairmanships in the House. The New Deal provided economic aid where it was needed. Many of the New Deal programs were declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. President Roosevelt asked for assistance from his political base to increase membership to the court so he could appoint a "new majority." Many of the Texans could not support this and spoke out against the idea. One of these was John Nance Garner.
< John Nance Garner
In 1935, Sarah T. Hughes of Dallas was the first woman appointed to a district judgeship. She was re-elected seven times.
1935 saw the start of a law enforcement career that will never again be repeated. Thomas P. McNamara became a Deputy Sheriff of McClellan County, in 1935, at the age of 23. In 1942, McNamara was appointed the Deputy U. S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas, a position he held for 36 years. McNamara served longer than any Deputy Marshal in United States history. Because of new regulations, no one will ever even come close again.
The mayor of San Antonio from 1937 - 1941 was Maury Maverick, his mother was Irish.
In 1938, the election for Governor of Texas was a colorful affair, and winning the election was Wilber Lee O'Daniel. "Pappy" Lee O'Daniel was a flour salesman, and the leader of a hillbilly band. His extensive use of radio during the campaign is credited with his election. During his term of office, O'Daniel's daughter was married. The O'Daniels publicly invited all Texans to come to the wedding. Approximately 25,000 Texans came.
Governor Pappy Lee O'Daniel with Andrew Jackson Houston
O'Daniel was re-elected in 1940, the year John Nance Garner split with FDR on the court packing issue. Henry Wallace, another Celt, was now Vice-President. Texas still had a powerful leader in Washington in Sam Rayburn. In 1940, Rayburn was elected Speaker of the House. For the next 21 years, he held that office, except for the years the Republicans controlled the House, at which time he became the Minority leader.
As the Speaker, Sam Rayburn wielded much power and influence. During the coming war, he pushed for every defense program, and gaveled down any attempt to stop the extension of the Selective Service Act.
In 1941, one of Texas' two Senators, Morris Sheppard, died (the other was Tom Connally). Pappy O'Daniel appointed the aged (87) son of Sam Houston, Andrew Jackson Houston, to the position. Houston became the oldest man ever sent to the U.S. Senate. O'Daniel appointed Houston to the office to hold it open for himself. When Houston died after just 24 days, a special election was called. O'Daniel resigned the governorship to run for the office.
Lieutenant Governor Coke Stevenson, an Irishman, assumed the office of Governor of Texas. Stevenson served out O'Daniels' term and then won two of his own. It was during his administration, that the Texas driver's license was instituted. It was the first law to license and regulate automobiles in the United States. The law was written by Texas Legislator, Sam Rayburn. Coke Stevenson had driver's license #1. When Stevenson left office in 1947, he left the state treasury with a surplus.
In 1944, FDR very nearly chose as his Vice President, Sam Rayburn. It was not until the last minute he changed his mind and chose instead Harry S. Truman.
The next Governor of Texas was Beauford H. Jester, who was the son of George Taylor Jester, a former two term Lieutenant Governor (1895-1898). G. T. Jester's grandfather was a McKinney. B. H. Jester's mother was Mary Gordon. The state's right-to-work law was passed while Jester was governor. It prohibited mandatory union membership requirements. Jester's term also saw the overhaul for the Texas Public School system. Jester won another term of office but passed away in 1949. His Lieutenant Governor, Allan Shivers, then became Governor.
< Beauford H. Jester
Pappy O'Daniel won the special election for the U.S. Senate seat in a close race over a congressman from South Texas by the name of Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was the apparent winner in that race until some mysteriously uncounted ballots boxes from East Texas were discovered to give O'Daniel a narrow victory.
Johnson had Irish ties on the maternal side (Baines). His grandfather Baines was Secretary State of Texas 1883-1887. Johnson's campaign was managed by a lawyer named John Connally. Connally learned a political trick or two in that race which he used to his candidate's advantage in the next enate campaign.
Texas now had two Irish Senators in the U.S. Congress representing the state, Tom Connally and Pappy O'Daniel. The Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, was also Celtic and from Texas. The Japanese brought the United States into the Second World War with the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was Texas Senator Tom Connally, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who offered the resolution declaring war on December 8, 1941.
Sam Rayburn, in a testimony to his leadership and integrity, received from the House enough funds for the Manhattan Project (the atomic bomb), on his word alone. After the war, Rayburn encouraged the establishment of the United Nations.
In 1948, Pappy O'Daniel did not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate. Coke Stevenson decided to run, as did the young congressman from South Texas, Lyndon Johnson. Again, John Connally served as Johnson's campaign manager. The Texas 1948 election for U.S. Senate was the most disputed election of Texas' history. The votes were counted and recounted as the result was very close. A "lost box" was found in South Texas in Duval County. Those ballots gave Johnson the edge; he won by 87 votes. Most of the votes came from people who had been dead for years. It was said by some, these were the same dead voters who voted for O'Daniel in the last senatorial race. Johnson rose to a position of leadership in the Senate which, when coupled with Speaker Rayburn's leadership in the House, provided very well for Texas. Sam Rayburn was elected to the United States House of Representatives a total of 48 years. In 1948, 1952, and 1956 Rayburn chaired the Democratic National Convention. 1948 was a victory for the Democrats in the election of Harry S. Truman. Rayburn and Johnson continued their influence, benefiting Texas.
Johnson's first elected office was to the U. S. Congress, where he succeeded the office held by Irishman James P. Buchanan. Johnson was elected in 1937 and kept the seat until his successful bid for U. S. Senator in 1948. In 1951, Lyndon Johnson was the Senate Majority Whip, in 1955 he became the Majority Leader. Johnson held that influential position for five years during which he helped pass the first major Civil Rights Bills. Johnson biographer, Robert Caro, was amazed at Johnson's swift climb in a staid, seniority based Senate in just four years. He was equally amazed at Johnson's political skill in obtaining passage of the first civil rights legislation through a Senate that had nine of its fourteen standing committees chaired by senior Southern Senators. The other five committees had ranking Southern Senators as members.
< Lyndon Johnson with Sam Rayburn
1952, was another year the Republicans took the U.S. Presidency. Dwight David Eisenhower, who was born in Texas and rose to fame as the Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces in World War II, was elected. Sam Rayburn supported the Eisenhower foreign policy.
In the 1950's, Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy was called Texas' third senator. McCarthy voted and proposed legislation favorable to the oil industry. His biggest supporters were all Texas oilmen; Hugh Cullen, Sid Richardson, H. L. Hunt, and Clint Murchison. They supported McCarthy when he attacked communism in America, particularly in show business and government. The friendship ended when it became clear McCarthy was using one of communism's own tactics, the big lie. When Senator McCarthy could not substantiate his claims, the Texas conservative businessmen left him. The public saw for themselves the boor and bully McCarthy was when he debated Senator Eugene McCarthy on television and in the McCarthy-Army Hearings of 1954.
In 1955, Robert Thomas Miller, whose father was Thomas McCall, was again elected Mayor of Austin, Texas. He was Mayor previously from 1933 to 1949. After his election in 1955, Miller remained Mayor until 1961. Under his administrations; City Park, Bergstrom Air Force Base, and Lake Austin Dam came into being. The dam has since been named Tom Miller Dam. Austin's airport is also named after this Irishman.
Marion Price Daniel was first elected to public office in 1939 as a state legislator. He was elected Speaker of the Texas House in 1943. He left Texas to join the service, entering as a private and leaving the service as a captain. When Price Daniel returned to Texas, he ran for and won election as Attorney General for two terms. In 1952, Daniel ran for United States Senator winning the slot formerly held by Tom Connally.
In the elections of 1956, Price Daniel resigned from the office of U.S. Senator and ran for Governor of Texas and won. Only Sam Houston ever left the U.S. Senate to win the Texas governorship before Price Daniel. Price Daniel's wife, Jean, was the great, great granddaughter of Sam Houston. The Daniels moved into the Governor's Mansion exactly 100 years after the Houstons. Both governor's wives were 40 years old at the time they moved into the mansion. Price Daniel >
Price Daniel bitterly fought the imposition of a sales tax on Texans; it was passed on a veto override. Daniel is best known for winning the Tidelands case for Texas that gave Texas (and other states) ownership of the offshore mineral and oil rights rather than the federal government. It was a tough and long battle that began when he was a senator and continued into his term as Governor. Another matter settled during his term of office was the preservation of reservation status for the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in the Big Thicket in East Texas. Price Daniel held more of Texas high offices than any Texas politician.
His brother Bill served as Governor of Guam during the sixties. He was appointed by President Kennedy. Not one to just be a figurehead, Bill Daniel took a hands on approach, teaching the Pacific Island people how to farm and ranch. He saw to it that hospitals, roads and schools, including a four year college were built for the islanders.
In the elections of 1960, Sam Rayburn gave up his office in the Democratic Party to help his friend Lyndon Johnson run for president in the Democratic primaries. Johnson lost his bid to Irishman John F. Kennedy. That the Texans were important to Kennedy was shown by the fact Kennedy took Johnson as his running mate. Kennedy won the close election against Eisenhower's Irish Vice-President, Richard Nixon. Kennedy appointed Johnson's man, John Connally, as his Secretary of the Navy. The Texas group in Washington were influential in having Texas selected by President Kennedy as the site of the Manned Spacecraft Center. In 1961, Sam Rayburn became ill and retired to Bonham after 48 years in the House of Representatives, 21 of those years he was Speaker. None ever held the office longer! Before the year was out, he was dead.
In San Antonio, Walter M. McAllister was appointed mayor in 1961. McAllister went on to be Mayor for ten years. Called "Mayor Mac", he founded the San Antonio Savings Association in 1921. McAllister Freeway in San Antonio is named for him.
Judge Sarah T. Hughes was appointed by President Kennedy to be Texas' first female federal judge in 1961.
John Connally resigned as President John F. Kennedy's Secretary of the Navy to run for Governor of Texas in 1962. He defeated Price Daniel who was running for an unprecedented fourth term. Connally was elected and took office in 1963. Governor Connally hosted a visit to Texas by President Kennedy. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas while riding in a car with Connally. Connally was also shot. Kennedy was the first president assassinated in office since President William McKinley was shot in 1901. In 1901, Vice President Teddy Roosevelt ascended to the presidency under very trying conditions, so too did Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He was sworn into office aboard Air Force One by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes of Dallas that traumatic November day in 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was determined to be the shooter. Regretably Oswald had an Irish antecedant. He was arrested by a Dallas police officer named McDonald.
Marina Oswald testified before the Warren Commission. The Warren Commission was established to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy. Mrs Oswald testified her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald, meant to shoot Connally when he shot Kennedy. Connally, as Secretary of the Navy, had refused to interfere in the downgrading of Oswald's discharge from honorable to something less. The change in Oswald's discharge status was made as a result of statements made while Oswald was attempting to live in the Soviet Union. Marina Oswald testified that her husband admired Kennedy and would not have shot him. The assassination of Kennedy changed the United States. "Camelot" was replaced by something less, and everyone felt the loss.
In 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson won the presidential election with the largest popular vote and the widest margin of any previous candidate. Johnson's administrations are best remembered for the "Great Society" and the "War on Poverty." The "Great Society" policies effected the United States last reform era - civil rights, Medicare, federal funds for education, urban renewel, clean air and water standards, immigration reform and the designation of new wilderness areas and the expansion of the national parks. He cut President's Kennedy's 1964 budget, almost balancing it. He did balance his last budget for fiscal year 1969. A little remembered fact is that LBJ passed a large tax cut in 1964 that did away with the Korean War tax rates of the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Lyndon Baines Johnson signed more bills than did any other president. Were it not for his mistake with regard to the handling of the Vietnam War, history and the American people would be kinder in their regard for his legacy.
History will be kind to Johnson for his many legislative successes on domestic issues, particularly Civil rights.
Connallys and the Kennedys on that fatefull day in Dallas
John Connally served three terms as Governor of Texas, 1963-1969. During his terms, Connally worked to improve public education, state services, and water development. In 1970, Connally, like many Texans, found the national Democratic Party too liberal to support and became a Republican.
In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decided to not run for re-election. The reason most often given was the unpopularity of the Viet Nam War. The candidacy of Irishman Eugene McCarthy and the support for his anti-war platform within the Democratic Party signaled Johnson, the election could be difficult one.
Mary Elizabeth Carter is the great grand daughter of Mary Elizabeth Robertson of the Robertsons of Tennessee and the Robertson Colony. Carter was elected the first woman to be the vice president of the University of Texas Student Body and in 1954, President of the Woman's National Press Club. She was a White House aide serving as Press Secretary to Lady Bird Johnson.
Carole McLellan was mayor of San Antonio in the 1970s.
State Senator Mike McKool set a filibuster record in the Texas Senate in 1972. McKool, a black Texas Senator, spoke for 42 hours and 33 minutes for a bill offering mental health services.
Longtime Congressman George Mahon, who held the powerful position as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced in 1977, he would not run again for the office he had held since 1934. At one time Mahon was considered one of the key players in U. S. government.
Another powerfull Texas Congressman of the era was Wright Patman who had an Irish ancestry. On the other side of the spectrum was Maury Maverick the lone Texas Liberal for years in the Congress.
Irishman James McConn was elected Mayor of Houston in 1978.
1979 saw the first black woman ever appointed a judgeship, she was Texan Gabrielle McDonald.
President Nixon appointed John Connally Secretary of the Treasury in 1971. In 1980, John Connally ran for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. After a 14 month campaign effort, he withdrew from the race. Irishman Ronald Reagan won the nomination and was elected President of the United States.
In 1981, Reagan appointed El Paso native Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court. Judge O'Connor's maiden name was, Day. She is related to the Irish O'Dea family. She has the distinction of being the first woman appointed to the highest court in the land.
< Sandra Day O'Connor
In 1982, Republican Congressman Jim Collins ran for the U.S. Senate against Lloyd Bentson, who defeated Joe Sullivan in the Democratic primary. Both Irishmen came up short against Bentson. Bentson was named Texas' U.S. Senator.
Myra McDaniel was appointed Secretary of State of Texas by Governor Mark White in 1984. Mrs. McDaniel was the first black to hold a statewide appointive office, and only the third female Secretary of State.
In 1990, one of the biggest stories of the year was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August. Many Texans were among the foreigners trapped in Kuwait and Iraq at the time. They became hostages, some of them sent to military installations as human shields against possible U. S. attack. One of these was Irish Texan Gary O'Connor Sr. He had the distinction, in December of that year, of being the last U.S. hostage out of Iraq.
In February, 1992, Richard McCord, a computer consultant in the Houston area, began a nightmare few American parents have ever seen. His daughter, 18 year-old Eliadah, who was raised in Houston, was about to board a flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Zurich, Switzerland when she was stopped by airport security. She was found to have seven pounds of heroin under her long, loose dress. She claimed a Nigerian man asked her to carry the four packets. She said she did not know what the packets contained. She and the Nigerian where arrested and put on trial for drug charges and both sentenced to life in prison. For four years the family was on a roller coaster of emotions as they tried to have the sentence reduced, appealed or pardoned. They went through the courts, the Prime Minister and the President of Bangladesh trying to find some one who could understand the naiveté of their daughter and that she did not warrant the harsh sentence. They were successful in having U. S. government personnel also help plead their case. Finally in the summer of 1996 an appelate court decided to allow the young lady to go free, but this decision was appealed by prosecuters and reversed and the sentence and appeals labeled "final." Then quite unexpectedly, a month later, in July, 1996, the President of Bangladesh, Abdur Rahman Biswas, released her to U. S. Representative Bill Richardson of New Mexico who had met with the President on two previous occasions to plead clemency.
Eliadah McCord on the right
Lia tried to make the most of being in prison. She learned to speak Bengali and taught other prisoners of her Christianity, as they taught her of their Hindu and Muslim faiths.
Lia returned to Houston with her mother on August 1, 1996. She's since earned her associate degree (June 1999) and bachelor's degree (June 2001) within five years of returning to the States. She worked full-time at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and more recently at the AES Corporation. She now lives and works in Washington, D.C. During an interview with National Geographic, McCord said she learned a lot and would never do it again, but would not change the past. In an interview at the airport in Dhaka, Lia spoke in Bengali and expressed affection for the people of Bangladesh as well as a desire to return one day and show the gracious government what she has done with the second chance they gave her.
There are many lessons within this story of what to do and what not to do, of hope, courage, stamina, perserverance, love and compassion. Let us hope Miss McCord preserves the happy ending that so many people worked hard to have happen and which a compassionate leader of a foreign people made happen.
George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (19891993). He was also Ronald Reagan's Vice President (19811989), a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.
Bush was born in Massachusetts to Senator and New York Banker Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, at the age of 18, Bush postponed going to college and became the youngest naval aviator in the US Navy at the time. He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40.
He became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, serving as a member of the House of Representatives, among other positions. He ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States in 1980, but was chosen by party nominee Ronald Reagan to be the vice presidential nominee; the two were subsequently elected. During his tenure, Bush headed administration task forces on deregulation and fighting drug abuse.
In 1988, Bush launched a successful campaign to succeed Reagan as president, defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf at a time of world change; the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. His Celtic connection is through the Irish Shannon family.
George Walker Bush born July 6, 1946 served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. Bush is the eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st President, and Barbara Bush, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president. After graduating from Yale University in 1968, and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, receiving a majority of the electoral votes while losing the popular vote to then-Vice President Al Gore.
Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to national security issues, Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw national debates on immigration and Social Security.
Since Chapter One we have covered more than two and a quarter centuries of Texas history that included a Celtic presence in Texas. The Celtic contribution to the history made in that period far exceeded their percent of the population of Texas (the 1980 Census showed 17% of the Texas population claimed all or part Irish ancestry). The Irish and their Celtic kin, the Scotch and Welsh, have contributed to an extraordinary degree in the making of Texas history. They deserve to be recognized and remembered for it.