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"A people who do not hold in reverence the splendid achievements of their ancestors will not of themselves accomplish anything to be remembered of posterity. We must keep an eye on the shrines of yesterday if we would rock aright the cradles of tomorrow."

Texas Governor Pat Morris Neff penned this piece of wisdom. Neff became governor in 1920 following a brilliant career in law. He is best remembered for establishing Texas Tech and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Later in his life, he became president of Baylor University. Thanks to the Haley Memorial Library in Midland for bringing this to my attention. Gj

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Old maps are such an invaluable historic resource. They offer a way for us to look back in time and see Texas past through the eyes of those who lived in those days. The folks at the Texas General Land Office in Austin work hard to restore and preserve thousands of old maps and make fine reproductions available to the public. Their archive is simply fascinating and their offerings are available online. Take a minute to check out
What Texas history buff would not proudly want to hang "The Great Military Map Of Texas" on the walls of their home or office? See it at ... nmap4.html Gj

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In the 1930's the Texas Historical Commission placed a granite historical marker at the abandoned Presidio County community of Ochoa. Ochoa is located about ten miles north of Presidio, Texas on F. M. 170. Historians have long postulated that this could be the approximate location of a Spanish mission known as San Francisco de los Julimes. Established in the seventeenth century, the mission was situated at a place the Spaniard Lieutenant General Juan Dom'nguez de Mendoza called La Navidad en las Cruces. Although the mission remained in operation for only a short time, some say less than a year, it is a place of considerable historical interest. Spanish records seem to indicate that the famed Mendoza expedition made its way downriver from Paso del Norte on the western side of Rio Grande before crossing the river into present day Texas about 1682 at a place then called Senora del Rosario. There is some historical evidence that Mendoza forded the river in the vicinity of today's Ruidosa, Texas.

After being bypassed by more modern road construction, the Ochoa marker sat forgotten for years hidden in the brush a few hundred feet west of the pavement. Recently, thanks to the efforts of several people including the Armendariz family and my friend Tom Mangrem, the marker was moved to the roadside where the public can now know of its existence. It should be noted that the location of the marker is not supported by any archaeological evidence that I know of. Perhaps, one day, the good folks at the Center For Big Bend Archaeological Studies will see fit to investigate the Ochoa site to see if it truly is Mendoza's La Navidad en las Cruces. For more information about Ochoa scroll down in the blog to OCHOA: FIRST SPANISH MISSION EAST OF THE RIO GRANDE? Also, Chapter 1 of my book "Little Known History of the Texas Big Bend: Documented Chronicles From Cabeza De Vaca To The Era Of Pancho Villa" addresses the topic more fully. Gj

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James Edward Hinds of Ruidosa, Texas left this world quite suddenly for adventures beyond on Wednesday, November 8, 2006. James was born January 29, 1941 to Edward Granison Hinds and Lucille Holcomb Hinds in Brownwood, Texas.

His life was a culmination of adventures that most people only dream of. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17 and experienced life in Hawaii before statehood. He then joined the U.S. Army and found himself in the Mojave Desert doing maneuvers in the tracks left by Patton's training. He fell in love with the desert landscape and always dreamed of living in Texas in the high desert.

James then decided the Corps might once again need him during the Viet Nam war. He reenlisted in 1966 and was called "Pappy" as he was the oldest member of his platoon. During this enlistment he once found himself at the Vatican for Christmas Mass.

He left the Marine Corps and found himself aboard a shrimping vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. He eventually opened a motorcycle shop in Austin, Texas called R and J cycles.

James later began working as a welder for the Fusion Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

He leaves behind his wife Janet Hinds of Ruidosa, daughter Sheila Hinds of Austin, daughter Robin Hinds, her husband Bobby Hollis and grandson Bailey James Hollis of Pflugerville, TX, and son Jeremy McIntosh and friend Crystal Sutherland of Austin, TX.

Other survivors include his sisters Lois Allgood, husband Roy of Taylor, TX and Iris Hinds of Pflugerville, Texas and niece Karen Berryman and daughters Katherine Pala and Elizabeth Pala.

James was laid to rest near the house he loved so much on Thursday, November 9th. surrounded by his family and friends who meant so much to him. He is greatly missed by those who loved him including his cat "Hello Bob" and dogs Lillie, Gretchen and Otto.

Thanks Janet for the above. We all miss James very much. Gj

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If you are like me and enjoy keeping up with news in Texas from local newspapers check out: Gj

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Those of you interested in Graham Barnett's story will not want to miss John Barnett and Jim Coffey when they present their paper, "Graham Barnett: Husband, Father and Shootist of the Big Bend" at the CBBS Conference. Barnett and Coffey are scheduled Saturday morning, November 11th. at the 10:45 session in Room A on the second floor of University Center at Sull Ross in Alpine. Gj

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With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, John Simpson "Jack" Howard answered Teddy Roosevelt's call to arms by enlisting in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry at San Antonio, Texas. As a Rough Rider, Howard served with distinction in Cuba, taking an active part in the major engagements of the war including the famous charge up San Juan Hill. Following the war in 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt personally appointed Jack Howard to the U.S. Customs Service. For the next twelve years, Howard worked as a mounted inspector of customs along the border in the Big Bend. During this time, he earned a reputation described by the Marfa New Era newspaper as being, generous, high minded, gentle and kind but brave as a lion and cool and self possessed in an emergency. Jack Howard's life came to a tragic end in February 1913 when Mexican bandits ambushed and murdered him not far from Porvenir, Texas. The murder of Howard shocked and outraged Big Bend residents leading to a number of bloody reprisals along the border. Jack Howard was the father of Marian Walker and Nell Howard who operated the Candelaria store for many years. Jack is pictured above standing in his Rough Rider uniform at the top of the blog. He is also shown in the third photo from the left standing in front of the Presidio County court house with his right hand on his holster. Just left of Howard is Texas Ranger Joe Sitters.

On Friday, November 10th, the yearly conference of the Center For Big Bend Studies will commence at Sul Ross University in Alpine. I will be presenting my paper about Jack Howard at 2 p.m. Friday in the Espino Center Room A on the second floor of University Center. For more information about the conference see

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Check out this link: ... s.upton/11
Is this your Graham Barnett? Gj

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"I am in the process of researching a fairly well known Border character named Graham Barnett. At an early period (c. 1912-13) in his career he worked for the TO Ranch which was, I believe, about 50 miles west of Pilares. Do you have any information on the TO? There is some in the Joyce Means book and in Bosque Bonito but I was hoping for a little more. Also, photos of Graham seem to be hard to locate. Do you have any suggestions for a possible source? Thanks, Jim Coffey"

Other than the two sources you mentioned, Means and Keil, I can think of only a couple of other sources that briefly talk about the T.O. Ranch. that being J.J. Kilpatrick, aka the "King of Candelaria". Kilpatrick and his sons, who ranched and farmed in Candelaria did business with the T.O. Ranch. The T.O. Ranch in Chihuahua covered a huge expance of land streaching from a little north of Candelaria upriver almost to Juarez. From what I have been able to glean, the T.O. was owned by a number of North American cattlemen and some U.S. lawmen. At one time, about 1915, the T.O. had H.O. Robertson as foreman. See p. 456-457 of "The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920" by Charles Harris and Louis Sadler. Robertson was a very shady character and the T.O. ran along the border making it an ideal place to smuggle cattle stolen during the Mexican Revolution into Texas. Cattle stolen by Pancho Villa's henchmen frequently brought cattle to the T.O. to be sold. Somewhere I have a file on the T.O. ranch, just can't lay my hands on it at the moment. I'll see if I can't locate it and see if there is anything about Graham Barnett. Hope this helps, Glenn Justice

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I have been asked who are the men pictured at the top of my blog. On the left, standing in his Rough Rider uniform is John (Jack) Simpson Howard. Jack Howard fought in Cuba during the Spanish American War and was later appointed to the U. S. Customs Service by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mexican bandits murdered Howard in the Big Bend in February 1913. He is the subject of one of the chapters in my forthcoming book, "More Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend". The picture to the right of Jack is James Judson Kilpatrick aka "The King of Candelaria". Kilpatrick's story is told in "The Captain And The King of Candelaria", a chapter in my previous book, "Little Known History The Texas Big Bend". The gun packing lawmen in the next photo on the steps of the Presidio County Courthouse are, left to right, Texas Ranger Joe Sitters, Jack Howard, an unknown person. and Customs agent Luke Dowe. Anyone have an as to who the unknown man is? Finally, on horseback is the "Lion of Chihuahua", Pancho Villa. Gj

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