The Marfa History
not asked, it's not answered." - Lee Bennett
How History is Conducted in Marfa
Mrs. Bennet's advice to anyone interested in history is
"Leave Tracks" so that others may follow where you left off.
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."
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
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.
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 hey 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
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.