seemed only natural that a visit to Gillespie
County by the guy about to become the most powerful man in the
free world coincided with the opening of deer season although I do
have trouble seeing John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts sitting
in a Hill Country
deer blind dressed in camo soaked in Buck Bomb.
Kennedy was young, handsome, charismatic, Harvard-educated and a member
of one of America's wealthiest East Coast families. He was friends
with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. Peter Lawford was
his brother-in-law. There were rumors he had Marilyn Monroe's phone
number in his rolodex.
I always believed JFK's idea of an outdoor sport was drinking Dom
Perignon on his yacht off Hyannis Port.
In November 1960 Kennedy had just been elected president of the United
States. He and his running mate Lyndon Johnson beat Republicans Richard
Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge in a close election on November 8.
John Kennedy was a political rock star to much of the world, but Gillespie
County wasn't impressed. The county voted Republican down the
line. Even Lyndon Johnson couldn't swing the county for the Democrats.
was the only Gillespie
County precinct to vote for Kennedy/Johnson - the first time in
supported the Democratic ticket.
Kennedy was on his way to go slumming in West Palm Beach when he accepted
an invitation from Lyndon and Lady Bird to make an overnight stop
Jackie Kennedy was in Washington, 9 months pregnant with John Kennedy
JFK may have agreed to the visit to try and dispel Washington gossip
that LBJ and the Kennedys got along like the Suttons and the Taylors.
| The plane carrying
the president-elect arrived at Bergstrom AFB in Austin
at 5:55 pm on Wednesday November 16, 1960. LBJ, Lady Bird, Texas Gov.
and Senator Ralph Yarborough met the plane. It was the first face-to-face
meeting between Kennedy and Johnson since the election.
At Bergstrom the group boarded a Lockheed Lodestar for the short flight
to the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall.
A large group of reporters, including Art Kowert of the Fredericksburg
Standard, was at the ranch when the plane landed. Norman J. Deitel
of the Fredericksburg Radio-Post was scheduled to be there
but "was unable to get away that afternoon as our paper had not gone
to press and we were unable to complete our paper until that evening."
Secret Service and ranch security held the press behind barriers until
the plane landed. Then things got a little crazy. Art Kowert, unaccustomed
to the frenzy of the national press corps wrote "newsmen went on a
worse stampede than any herd of cattle we've ever seen."
Lyndon and Lady Bird immediately escorted Kennedy to a nearby hangar
where a group of Johnson's neighbors from Stonewall
and Blanco County
waited. Simon Burg presented Kennedy with a "Stetson 100" hat, size
7 & 1/2, and a leather carrying case.
It was like someone handed Kennedy an invitation to Fidel Castro's
birthday party. An Austin American-Statesman reporter wrote
that JFK "held the hat like it had a bomb in it."
Some members of the press urged the president-elect to put it on,
but Kennedy, not wanting his hair mussed, refused.
By that time it was black dark but Johnson insisted on a road trip
along the Pedernales
River. Johnson showed Kennedy the Johnson family cemetery, the
house where LBJ was born and the schoolhouse where Johnson first attended
That evening Gov. Daniel, Senator Yarborough and Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey
joined Kennedy and the Johnsons for dinner at the LBJ Ranch. Speaker
of the House Sam
Rayburn was supposed to be there but stormy weather over the Hill
Country prevented him from flying in.
Bright and early the next morning Johnson took Kennedy on the president-elect's
first deer hunt. Kennedy killed 2 bucks: a 6 pointer and an 8 pointer.
LBJ also killed 2 bucks but the number of points was not reported.
I guess deer hunting is like golf. If you shoot a better score than
the boss, you better not brag about it.
April 15, 2020 Column
"Kennedy Guest at LBJ Ranch Thursday," Fredericksburg Standard,
November 23, 1960.
"President-Elect John F. Kennedy Visits at LBJ Ranch; Work Conference
Follows; Both Shoot A Pair Of Bucks," Harper Herald, November
"Security Couldn't Stop Kennedy," San Antonio Light, November