Famous People from Midland County Texas
John R Erickson
Photo by Nicole Hammond
Born in Midland, Texas on October 20, 1943, Erickson grew up in Perryton in
Ochiltree County in the
northern Texas Panhandle. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin
in 1966 and
spent two years at Harvard Divinity School. He began to publish
short stories in 1967 while working full-time as a cowboy, farmhand,
and ranch manager in Texas and Oklahoma.
In 1982, after receiving
numerous rejection slips from large publishers, Erickson borrowed
$2,000 and began his own publishing company, Maverick Books. Hank
the Cowdog debuted in The Cattleman, and two related
short stories appeared in the first book published by Maverick
Books, The Devil in Texas. Erickson began selling books out of his
pickup truck wherever cowboys gathered.
the cowboy author published his first full-length book in the series,
The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog. His 2,000-book first
printing ran out in six weeks. With the book's success, he shortly
afterward recorded the book, word-for-word, on audio tape. Hank
the Cowdog has since become the longest-running successful
children's series on audio. That book has since spawned over fifty
sequels, becoming one of the most popular children's fiction series,
selling more than 7.5 million books and winning several awards.
Erickson has also written a number of non-Hank books that have lived
in Hank’s shadow and are not as well known.
On March 6, 2017, Erickson's ranch home was destroyed in the fires
that swept across more than 315,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle.
His property is about 25 miles southwest of Perryton and just north
of the Canadian River Valley in Roberts County. In addition to
his writings, Erickson is head of security at the M-Cross Ranch in
Ochiltree County. Upon his loss from the blaze, he quoted
Scripture: "Naked we came into this world and naked we will leave
it," and added, "but we will sure miss that house."
John R Erickson Items
Author of ‘Hank the Cowdog’ books loses home in
John R Erickson