TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Towns A-Z / West Texas : Marfa

The Marfa History Club
How History is Conducted in Marfa

Marfa, Texas

"If it's not asked, it's not answered." - Lee Bennett

Mrs. Bennet's advice to anyone interested in history is
"Leave Tracks" so that others may follow where you left off.



Book Your Hotel Here & Save
Alpine Hotels | Van Horn Hotels | Lajitas Hotels |
More Hotels |

Marfa has had it's own History Club for 101 years. The Current President is Mrs. Lee Bennett. Mrs. Bennett, in a telephone interview, provided us with answers to all our questions and some we forgot to ask.

She taught History for many years and oversaw the Junior Historians for 13 years. During this period, Marfa High School students interviewed just about everyone in Marfa older than themselves. They even dared to ask the one question that no one asks in Texas: "How many head of cattle do you own?"

The results from this mass-interview yielded 24,000 sheets of text and 7,000 photographs. Enough to fill five file drawers. When Mrs. Bennett asked Happy Godbold how his interview was going, he replied; "that girl knows more about my business than the IRS."


History gets Personal

Mrs. Bennett was placed in a saddle at the age of six by "Uncle Billy." When he wasn't Uncle Billy, he was William Dudley Connell who organized a group of West Texas ropers into a Wild West Show that toured South America in 1905-06.

Cowboys go where Sailors fear to tread
The roping went well, but their ship (The S.S. Philadelphia) caught fire on the return trip to San Francisco. The sailors were about to abandon the ship, but the cowboys wet their bandanas, tied them over their mouths, entered the hold and put the fire out. It was later discovered that the ship was carrying hundreds of tons of explosive cargo. They weren't just lucky on this trip; they were blessed. Their ship left San Francisco just 18 hours before the devastating Earthquake and Fire.

A bullet in Chile, a gun from Marfa
Mrs. Bennett is investigating the story of a gun trade her uncle made with a man who was then going by the name Jim Lowe who periodically worked for the W.S. Ranch in Alma New Mexico. Uncle Billy's gun later turned up in Chile, used by this man who became a reluctant suicide. Besides being named Jim Lowe, the man who killed himself also used the alias "Butch" Cassidy.


Formally known as the Marfa Study Club, the organization which Mrs. Bennett currently presides over, was formed a mere 17 years after Marfa's founding, in 1899. They were certainly far-sighted (but you have to be able to see far in West Texas). They insured that the former Marfa Opera House (currently the former Palace Theater) was on the Chautaqua circuit and that self-improvement and philanthropy were very much alive and evident in early Marfa.

Today the Marfa History Club continues to support various organizations and contributes toward scholarships for Presidio County students.

We appreciate the information we received from Mrs. Bennett and her invitation to share Marfa's History with our readers.

Mrs. Bennet's advice to anyone interested in history is "Leave Tracks" so that others may follow where you left off.

John Troesser

See
Marfa, Texas

 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: July 20, 2007