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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Books About Randall County Texas People and Places
What's Your Favorite Book about a Randall County Texas Person or Place? Here are some of our favorites about people from Canyon, Happy, Umbarger and Ogg Texas

Books about Randall County Texas

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The Lonesome Plains: Death and Revival on an American Frontier

Loneliness pervaded the lives of pioneers on the American plains, including the empty expanses of West Texas. Most settlers lived in isolation broken only by occasional community gatherings such as funerals and religious. Louis Fairchild mines the letters and journals of West Texas settlers.

"In 1911 C.M. Thomas, owner of a furniture store in Canyon, Texas, reported that he had not taken his hearse out of the barn for nine months. During this period there had been only one death from natural causes and only one by violence in the whole county . . . Read more, Look inside

Empire Builder in the Texas Panhandle: William Henry Bush

In Empire Builder in the Texas Panhandle, author Paul H. Carlson tells the story of Chicago-based William Henry Bush and his role in shaping development of the Texas Panhandle from the 1880s to the 1930s.

"The men purchased an enormous amount of territory and freely occupied adjoining land that the State of Texas had set aside for the support of its schools. After it was fenced in 1882, the Frying Pan enclosed about 250,000 acres of land ... half of Potter County below the Canadian River and stretching southward into the northern reaches of Randall County" . . . Read more

To Right the Unrightable Wrong

A century ago Americans were still moving west, settling in new states, establishing themselves in new environments. That pattern was followed by the grandparents, then by the parents of Robert L. Pirtle, the author of this autobiography.

"Before they were married, Dad went to meet Mother one evening at West Texas State Teachers College in Canyon, Texas, where Mother was enrolled. As he was passing the Girls Dormitory, Dad was surprised to see the night watchman up in a tree peeping in the window of one of the college girls . . . Read more Look inside

Interlude in Umbarger: Italian POWs and a Texas Church

Interned in a camp at Hereford in the Texas panhandle, more than 3,000 Italian POWs spent the last years of World War II an ocean away from their family and friends. In the last year of the war, the prisoners suffered a siege of hunger dictated by government-ordered cutbacks in rations. The men called this episode la fame and found it difficult to supplement their meager meals. A handful of men in camp were artists, and it was this small group of prisoners who struck a deal with the priest of St . Mary ' s Church at Umbarger , Texas. In exchange for a home-cooked meal each noon, the artists agreed to decorate the plain church with murals and carvings . . . Read More

Pieces of History: The Life and Career of John J. Harter

Early Life in Canyon, Texas (1926-43)

"I was born in Canyon, Texas on January 31, 1926, and I grew up in the “Dust Bowl” during the Great Depression. My father's father was one of the earliest settlers in Canyon, which is 17 miles south of Amarillo. He first arrived in 1896 with my grandmother and their two small children. My grandfather expected to be the leading blacksmith . . . " Read more

 Lonely Graves: a Texas Murder Trilogy

"the man in question had not been the superintendent in Clarendon but had held that position in Canyon... putting explosives in his wife's car and blowing her to bits. The man's name was A.D. Payne. . . . Read more and Look Inside

Trouble Times Two

As children, James and John were inseparable. They did everything together, including things Texas Panhandle townsfolk probably didn't appreciate.

"We helped her clean out the root cellar at her farm in Ogg, Texas. For that two day affair we received 75 cents each and she took us to the local Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. Remember the old saying that “if you remember the 60's you" . . . Read more Look inside

In the Bosom of the Comanches: A Thrilling Tale of Savage Indian Life, Massacre and Captivity Truthfully Told by a Surviving Captive

by Theodore Adolphus “Dot” Babb

The stories of those Texas pioneers who survived captivity among the Comanches are full of harrowing interest. Of particular interest is that told by Dot Babbs in his 1912 narrative.

In September of 1865 thirteen-year-old T. A. "Dot" Babb was abducted by Comanches and adopted into their tribe. After years of captivity he was returned. He spent the last 30 years of his life in Amarillo and is buried in Randall County . . . this is his story read more and look inside

An Adventurous Life

Life is never easy but specially so when your born in a boxcar in the center of a railroad siding in the Great Depression.

"While I was going to West Texas State in Canyon, Texas, two boys had gone hunting down in the canyon during Christmas break and been forced into a cave because of a blizzard. In their looking for wood, they found armor and weapons left" . . . Read more Look inside

A Life Lived with Joy

Robert and Ava Nell were farming a few miles southwest of Amarillo and also had rented a farm at Happy, Texas, so we farmed with them for one year. We stayed with them for about a month on the Amarillo farm while Robert and Clayton built . . .

Georgia O'Keeffe in Texas: A Guide

Georgia O'Keeffe, a superbly gifted American artist usually associated with New Mexico, spent nearly four years in Texas, most of them in the Panhandle. She taught art in the public schools of Amarillo for two years, 1912-1914, and headed the art department at West Texas Normal College (now West Texas A & M University) in Canyon from the fall of 1916 to early 1918 . . . Read more

Someone Has To Die Tonight

Behind it lay the Lords of Chaos, a band of teenage misfits led by Kevin Foster, 18, a vicious hatemonger who was known as "God" to his five-man gang.

"Within seven months, they defaulted on the mortgage and the bank foreclosed. The Fosters retreated to a mobile home in Canyon, Texas. Now back in Texas, Kevin was living in a trailer, with two fathers, neither his own" . . . Read more Look inside

The Badgertots

Starting in 1938 at age three, my parents separated by divorce. Given up to three Foster Families, hard times and good living, eventually not being accepted by Cal and Mimi Farley at Boy's Ranch, finally, in 1940, finding a permanent home on the farm of George and Mattie Cope at Happy Texas. Raised in . . . Read more Look inside

Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s

In the mid 1930s, North America's Great Plains faced one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in world history. Donald Worster's classic chronicle of the devastating years between 1929 and 1939 tells the story of the Dust Bowl in ecological as well as human terms.

"Randall County, Texas $10,000; the merchants of Amarillo calculated from 3 to 15 per cent damage to their merchandise, not to mention the loss of shoppers during the storms" . . . Read more Look inside

The Billboard Book of Number One Hits

Before MTV and VH1 . . . before books with “Stories Behind the Songs” of popular recording artists, there were Fred Bronson’s stories behind the top chart hits.

"Wayne Knox, born July 20, 1933 in Happy, Texas, was the first artist of the rock era to write his own number one song (Elvis Presley was listed as songwriter on two of his number one hits before “Party Doll," but didn't actually participate in" . . . Read more

Another Pair Of Socks

Another Pair of Socks is a festive collection of holiday short stories penned and pinned together by six young authors with exceptional taste in modern footwear.

Grandpa Mclean had been born in Happy, Texas, and came home from France to service a hundred mile stretch of Highway 87, a boiling macadam snaking through Swisher County, connecting Amarillo to Lubbock by way of Plainview. Back then, paramedicine wasn't exactly . . . Read more

I Don't Sound Like Nobody: Remaking Music in 1950s America

"Wayne "Buddy" Knox was twenty-three years old when he recorded "Party Doll" in 1956. He later told an interviewer that he had written the song years earlier when he was "jus a kid," maybe fifteen, entertaining himself himself on his parents' farm near Happy, Texas, after chores were done . . . " Read more Look inside

Happy Days in Happy, Texas: The Joys and Advantages of Growing up in “The Town Without a Frown” After World War II

Baby boomers, born in the latter part of the 1940s and into the 1950s, enjoyed an improved lifestyle after their parents survived the Great Depression and World War II. Parents could provide better lives for their children, especially for those who grew up in small communities like Happy, Texas, a small farming town in the Texas Panhandle thirty-five miles south of Amarillo and eighty-five miles north of Lubbock. The town’s moniker, “The Town Without a Frown,” really applied to these young . . .  Read more Look inside

Texas Cemeteries:

The Resting Places of Famous, Infamous, and Just Plain Interesting Texans

" Lincoln Guy Conner came to Texas with his family after the Civil War. By 1887 he had married and established a small cattle herd in Randall County. After purchasing a large block of land in 1888, he constructed a half-dugout from logs hauled from nearby Palo Duro Canyon. Conner established a general store and post office . . ."  Read more Look inside

The Story of Palo Duro Canyon

Of the canyons that break the eastern edge of the Staked Plains, Palo Duro is by far the most spectacular. As one approaches the edge, the earth opens up into a vast gash, a geological and ecological wonder. " It begins in northeastern Randall County about 12 miles east of the town of Canyon and 15 miles southeast of Amarillo where Palo Duro Creek has cut a miniature Grand Canyon 600 to 800 feet deep into the brightly colored sedimentary rocks of the Permian, Triassic, and late Tertiary age" . .   Read more Look inside

Winchester 1886

From America's most popular, bestselling Western writer, each novel in this brilliant new series follows the trail of a different gun--each gun with its own fiery story to tell.

Randall County. Texas
Late summer 1894
"Kris," James said to his sister, shaking his head. "I'm too old to play that game" . . .
Read more, Look inside

Tall Enough to Coach: Elements of Leadership of Coaching and Life

Marsha Sharp was the coach of the Texas Tech Lady Raiders basketball team for over twenty years. This book traces Sharp's basketball journey from her beginnings in Tulia, Plainview, Lockney and Canyon Texas through her twenty-third season with the Lady Raiders. A 2003 inductee into the national Women's Basketball Hall of Fame . . . Read more

 

What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County

 

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