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Books About Motley County Texas People and Places

What's Your Favorite Book about a Motley County Texas Person, Place or Event? Here are some of our favorites about  people and places in Motley County, Matador, Roaring Springs, White Star, Whiteflat, Cotton Mott and the Matador Ranch.


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Direct Your Letter to the Matador RanchDirect Your Letter to the Matador Ranch

by Marisue Burleson Potts

Step into the lives of a Tennessee plowboy-turned Texas cowboy and the cotton farmer’s daughter he “cold wrote” a letter to. The relationship they built on paper over a five-year correspondence resulted in her family moving to Motley County, Texas, and was instrumental in merging the cattle ranching and cotton farming cultures in post-Civil War northwestern Texas . . . read more

Cowgirls Don't CryCowgirls Don't Cry: A Personal Reflection on a Life Shaped by the Pease River Breaks

by Marisue Burleson Potts

Personal stories from the Burleson and Barton family histories in Motley County merge with historical records from the early 1800s to the present day. You’ll learn the details about the hard work, hardships, and the true heart and character of the people who came in search of a better life on the land , , , Read more Look Inside

From Guns to GavelsFrom Guns to Gavels: How Justice Grew Up in the Outlaw West

Tracing the struggles of incipient criminal justice in the Southwest through an engaging progression of outlaws and lawmen, plus a host of colorful frontier trial lawyers and judges, Neal reveals how law and society matured together. "Duels of the Lawmen, The Volatile Motley War and the Outlaw Sheriff. After Joe became sheriff, Boon quit the Matador Ranch and bought the Dew Drop Saloon in the town of Matador. On February 17, 1892, Boone, sufficiently fortified with his own brew, sauntered into the courthouse and taunted Beckham ... Both drew their pistols . . .Read more Look inside

History along the WayHistory along the Way: Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers

"It was during this boom era that Luther Bedford "Bob' Robertson moved to the town of Matador, the seat of Motley County. Little is know of his life before he arrived in Matador, and there was speculation the the time that here could have been more to his personal story than most people knew. Regardless, Robertson quickly made a name for himself in his adopted home town through his hard work and obvious business sense. He worked for a time at the Spot Cash Grocery, owned by J. H. Sample, and later ran a service station across from the courthouse on the northwest side of the square..." Read more Look inside

Oklahoma Renegades: Their Deeds and Misdeeds

"After serving forty two months of his four year sentence, he was released on December 27, 1900, as George “Hookey” Miller. Following his release from prison, Hookey and his family lived near Matador, Texas. The year of 1901 was filled with much distress for  his brother was killed in a farm accident, his mother died, and his wife was burned to death. The details of his wife's fiery death are not known. In spite of his rough life of recent years, George Miller was not just a resentful, gun-toter who was looking for trouble..." Read more Look inside

The Great Plains during World War II

Emphasizing the region’s social and economic history, The Great Plains during World War II is the first book to examine the effects of the war on the region and the responses of its residents.

"By late 1943 Great Plains ranchers experienced a shortage of cowhands as a result of the draft, enlistments, and flight to higher pay wartime jobs. In December the Matador Land and Cattle Company had five thousand calves unbranded owing to the labor shortage . . ."  Read more Look inside

The Texas Rangers in Transition: From Gunfighters to Criminal Investigators, 1921–1935

Found inside: "In Motley County, Constable Leroy Franklin "Lee" Stegall, the brother of Sheriff P. Stegal of Floyd County, was shot to death on November 28, 1927, just two weeks after his appointment. He was driving home when he was ambushed. He was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car stopped diagonally along the highway . . . " Read more Look inside

The Last Comanche Chief: The Life and Times of Quanah Parker

"Next, he moved his troops to a campsite near what is now Matador, Texas, where the soldiers received a long-needed boost in morale in the form of mail, rations, and forage brought by a wagon escorted by troopers. The night of October 23 the men camped on the Freshwater Fork of the the Brazos . . . " Read more Look inside

The Train to Estelline

The Lucinda “Lucy” Richards trilogy, spanning the years from 1911 to the 1930s, has everything good books should have: a variety of landscapes, characters of all ages and social classes, an overall tenderness that never lapses into sentimentality, and a sense of the comic amidst the tragic. “I have longed for a wider world, a great adventure. And now it’s here. I’m so happy I can hardly breathe.” So ends seventeen-year-old Lucinda Richards’ diary entry for August 17, 1911, starting her job as the new school teacher for the White Star school in the Panhandle . . . Read more Look inside

News from Down to the Cafe: New Poems

By David Lee

David Lee was born in Matador, Texas. He played semiprofessional baseball as the only white player to ever play for the Negro League, the Post Texas Blue Stars and was a knuckleball pitcher for the South Plains Texas League Hubbers. These poems are rooted in stories overheard at the Wayburne Pig Cafe. They capture a rural community's true voice, peppered with gossip and arguments right off Main Street. It was nominated  for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry . . . Read more Look inside

Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?

"Contrary to popular opinion, it is not easy to write country songs: many try and fail. One guy who never made it is Robin Dorsey from Matador, Texas. he went to Tech and had a girlfriend from Muleshoe about whom he wrote the love song "Her Teeth was Stained but Her Heart Was Pure." She took offense and quit him over it, which caused him to write the tragedy-love song "I Don't Know Whether to Commit Suicide Tonight or Go Bowlin'." ...Read more Look inside

Rich Grass and Sweet Water: Ranch Life With the Koch Matador Cattle Company

by John Lincoln

The myth of the cowboy is powerful in American folklore, but the real life of the cowboy was hard, lonely, and rewarding, if one was seeking the less tangible rewards of being close to nature. The modern cowboy or ranch hand uses different methods but works the land with the same love as the icons of the Old West did... John Lincoln went from bookkeeper to president of the Matador Cattle Company, and his view along the way to the top plus his digging into the company founder's files provide the basis for this look at one modern ranching enterprise and its... He lives in Roaring Springs, Texas . . . Read more

Motley County Roundup: Over 100 Years of Gathering in Texas

by Marisue Burleson Potts

Motley County Roundup is a treasure trove of historical information about life in this history-filled county in the Rolling Plains region of Texas. Read about the people who explored, fought, worked, lived, and died in the area from the early 1800s to the 1990s. Woven throughout are personal perspectives from people who lived there, including those of the author, Motley County native Marisue Burleson Potts, whose family was part of that history . . . Read more Look inside

Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes

Another Texas cowgirl who aspired to compete at Madison Square Garden was Mary Ellen "Dude" Barton. She was born in Matador, Texas, in 1924 , and began riding as soon as she was old enough to sit up. By age two she was riding behind her dad on his fastest cutting horses. He also tied her onto a saddle so that she could accompany him him when he drove cattle from Flomot to Matador ..." Read more Look inside

Spectrums in Void

An American family destroyed in desolate Mexico when their father is hung and their mother is taken by militia leaving behind the nine year old son, Grayson, and the twelve year old daughter, Ada, to fend for themselves and make it out of the brutal terrain alive. This is the story of their incredible journeys of finding themselves as well as their family in Matador, Texas. As bizarre and macabre a tale as it is endearing and hilarious. This is... Read more Look inside

Voices from the Korean War: Personal Stories of American, Korean, and Chinese Soldiers

"... led by Lieutenant Frank Mitchell, from Roaring Springs, Texas. The patrol returned about 2:00 the next morning, all shot up. They had run into a major concentration of Chinese Communists, who had now officially entered the war..." Read more Look inside

Big Boy Rules: America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq

From Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter Steve Fainaru comes an unforgettable journey into Iraq's parallel war—a world filled with tens of thousands of armed men roaming Iraq with impunity, doing jobs the military can't or won't do.

"His remains had been dropped off at the Basra airport with the body of Ron Withrow, the computer technician from Roaring Springs, Texas, who had been held with the Crescent hostages. Withrow's body was also in a plastic bag..." Read more Look inside

The Bright Lights of Muleshoe

"Bertie Mae Seales, who was born in 1926 in Roaring Springs, Texas, and came to Muleshoe in a covered wagon when she was about three months old, has been here a long time, eighty-three years to be exact. She opened the Dari Delite in ..." Read more Look inside

From a Cocoon of Love and Poverty: A Memoir

by Thad Box

He was raised in poverty on a subsistence farm near Roaring Springs, Texas. He lifted himself up by his bootstraps, worked his way through college, and chose teaching as his way to pay for his good fortune... Read more

Railroads and the American People

"There were town layouts that deviated from common practices, although they retained elements of popular street patterns. When the Roaring Springs Townsite Company launched Roaring Springs, Texas, in 1912, the firm bragged that the town was "well laid out", and it indeed was. In a variation of the T-town, two main streets, not one, extended from the depot of the Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad to a public square two blocks away..." Read more Look inside

The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects: The Original 1956 Edition

"The two ladies, a mother and her daughter, had left their home in Matador, Texas 70 miles northeast of Lubbock, about twelve-thirty P.M. on August 31. They were driving along in their car when they suddenly noticed an aluminum-colored pear-shaped object hovering near the road..." Read more or listen to the audio version

Generations on the Land: A Conservation Legacy

The landowners in this book have improved their land and done so by being profitable, generous to their human community, committed to family, and desirous of leaving land better than when it came into their stewardship.

"Gary Lee was raised on the ranch and grew up to graduate from Texas A&M with an animal science degree; he went on to manage a larger spread near Matador in West Texas. But he still returns to the 77 to lend a hand whenever needed. An empty nest has hardly slowed down his parents, evidenced by the the sling around Gary's neck protecting a broken shoulder..." Read more Look inside

How We Talk: American Regional English Today

"You can go hunting for Big Texas Hogs on the 2CK Ranch in Matador, Texas , which advertises that it “ has it all — thick mesquite , open pasture , wheat fields , rolling sandhills , shinnery oak , plum thickets , and the beautiful ..." Read more

Wanted: Historic County Jails of Texas

"In 1879 a cattle company was formed by retired buffalo hunter Henry Campbell and banker A. M. Britton. Campbell bought land on the Pease River. He then bought cattle and occupied an abandoned dugout at Ballard Springs, named for a fellow buffalo hunter he had known. Campbell and Britton named their company the Matador Cattle Company. Additional financing was needed..." Read more Look inside

A Jackson Family History: From Henry Jackson of Virginia

"Motley County is one of thirty prohibition, or entirely dry, counties in the state of Texas. Its seat is the town of Matador where Silva and Belle's next child, a daughter named Geneva Faye Jackson, would be born on July 29, 1939. The large Jackson family lived in the house that Sally Burton and Ruby Faye Burton would continue to them. They may not have had much but as one of Silva and Belle's daughter would later comment..." Read more Look inside

The Beef Industry, What They Don't Tell You

by John Peirce

"I was ranch raised in the historically-rich cow country of north-west Texas, where values, personal integrity, and honesty were the foundations of life. As kids, all we wanted to accomplish was to walk in the footsteps of our fathers. I graduated from High school at Matador, Texas.." Read more Look inside

From Texas to Australia

by Tom Stevens

"Fred knew my cousin, John Vance Stevens. Fred had bought most of the Matador Ranch at Matador, Texas. When its Scottish owners decided to liquidate, John Vance was chosen to do that because he was the ranch manager..." Read more Look inside

Lela and Joe

Lela Belle's Christian beliefs supported Prohibition. Joe Callaway's ambivalence toward faith shocks his family. But when Lela and Joe meet, their love is instantaneous.

"Although milk cows and swine were prohibited in the city limits of Matador, many people kept chickens for fresh eggs. "Joseph William! Why guineas? I can't stand the noise!" She hated leaving Matador and quickly picked up on any disadvantage she might imagine about the new place". . . Read more

Bones Hooks: Pioneer Negro Cowboy

Matthew 'Bones' Hooks was a true pioneer who not only built a town, schools, and churches, but also broke down racial barriers as one of the first black cowboys to work alongside whites as a ranch hand. Found inside: "He later joined cattle drives to Fort Worth and Kansas. He followed that up as manager of the Turkey Track Division of the Matador Ranch in King and Motley counties.  " Read more   . . . for more like this please see Black History in Texas

Trouping through Texas: Harley Sadler and His Tent Show

"The plays needed to come to the populace; thus such entertainment-starved West Texas villages as Spur, Dickens, Matador, Slaton, Justiceburg, and the now-vanished Tuxedo provided excellent box office returns. An often-told story, probably true in its essentials, has a recently hired actor from the East standing outside a tent, looking disdainfully across the vacant West Texas plains. All that disturbed his view of the unbroken horizon was a "town" consisting of a general store, blacksmith shop, and three houses clustered at the intersection of two single-land dirt roads..." Read more

Ridgely Greathouse: Confederate, Conspirator, Convict, and Capitalist

by Marisue Burleson Potts

The life of Ridgely Greathouse is full of mysterious adventures. How did a Kentucky native, born on a plantation in Mason County in 1831, go on to run business ventures in the California and Idaho gold rush and later take part in the Watermelon Riot in Panama? How did this staunch son of the South escape the federal prison in Fort Lafayette, follow the gold rush to Idaho, and then disappear for 20 years, only to mysteriously appear on a ranch near Matador Texas? ... Read more Look inside

Dear Ones at Home: Bud Smith’s Correspondence Home to West Texas during WWI

An antique trunk filled with family treasures is passed down for generations. After it is opened by the newest generation of owners, a stack of letters over a century old written to family in Whiteflat Texas in Motley County is rediscovered. At the risk of disintegrating, the new owners preserve them by photographing and transcribing them. Dear Ones at Home is a tribute to the man who wrote these letters and to the family who lovingly kept them in the trunk they passed down through the generations . . . Read more

Kit Carson and the First Battle of Adobe Walls: A Tale of Two Journeys

by Alvin R. Lynn

Alvin R. Lynn grew up on a farm along the Pease River in rural Motley County, Texas. He is a retired social studies and science teacher and coach. With a lifelong passion for archaeology and history, he now serves as a steward for the Texas Historical Commission. "On a late November morning in 1864, Col. Kit Carson and his U.S. troops, under orders from the commander of the New Mexico Military Department, attacked Kiowa Chief Dohasan’s winter village in the Texas Panhandle. Warriors retaliated with stiff resistance as their women and children escaped. Fighting proceeded down the Canadian River . . . Read more

Mean As Hell: The Life of a New Mexico Lawman

by Dee (Daniel R.) Harkey

Dee gives a detailed account of his brother, Jim Harkey, and the gunfight at Cotton Mott.

"In February, 1878, Jim was killed up there by Jim Barbee. They were living together in a log cabin with a stick and dirt chimney ...These boys were cowhands, and they rode drift line and ate together, though they were working for different companies. The day of the killing, they both got back to camp early and lay around the camp. Barbee told Jim that day the reason he was out there was because he had had a difficulty with his father and had tried to stab him with a butcher knife. Jim had been chiding Barbee about attempting to stab his father, and . . .  . . . Read more Look inside

Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier: Notorious Killings and Celebrated Trials

"Fulcher's First appearance in recorded history occurred sometime in 1886 when he and his wife, Minnie, showed up dead broke in the West Texas Counties of Dickens and Motley. The Fulchers took advantage of the hospitality of three pioneer homesteaders: B. F. Brock, F.M. Wells, and J. A. Askins and their families. At some point Fulcher got into a bitter dispute with A. Beemer, a Civil War veteran who worked as a blacksmith on the the sprawling Matador Ranch . . ." Read more Look inside

Trail Dust

by Douglas Meador

Meador started his column, "Trail Dust," in his first paper. It attracted interest in 1934 when it won an award as the best column in Texas It has appeared in all types of publications from the Baptist Standard, to books of quotations. Reader's Digest has used it three times. It has appeared often in "Quote" Magazine and is used by many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, as well as nearby country weeklies. It has won numerous state and regional awards as an outstanding column . . .  Read more

Life in the Saddle

Englishman Frank Collinson went to Texas in 1872, when he was seventeen, to work on Will Noonan’s ranch near Castroville. He lived the rest of his life in the southwestern United States, and at the age of seventy-nine began writing about the Old West he knew and loved.

"I located and killed the last small bunch of buffalo--about twenty-five cows and calves and a few yearlings--east of our camp. The skinners and White heard me shooting and came with the wagon. I didn't take us long to skin them. Those were the last buffalo that we killed in Motley County . . ." Read more Look inside

Thinkin' It Over

by Jack Douglas

Jack Douglas worked for the Matador Cattle Company (at Matador), the Upper Matadors (which became Quien Sabe Ranch at Charming, Tx), Jack Frost Bandy Ranch (north of Rotan, Tx), the Yellowhouse Ranch (northwest of Levelland, Tx), spent a brief time with the Scharbauer Ranch (Adrian, Tx) and Renfrow's (at Charming). He now ranches in Hockley and Bailey Counties . . . Read more

The Border and the Buffalo: An Untold Story of the Southwest Plains

In presenting these Reminiscences to the reader the author wishes to say that they were written and compiled by an uneducated man, who was 63 years of age in 1901. The tragic deaths seen by the author in dance-hall and saloon have been omitted, in this work. But to that band of hardy, tireless hunters that helped, as all army officers declared, more to settle the vexed Indian question in the five years of the greatest destruction of wild animals in the history of the world’s hunting, the author especially devotes that portion of the book pertaining to the buffaloes . . . Read more

Ella Elgar Bird Dumont: An Autobiography of a West Texas Pioneer

A crack shot, expert skinner and tanner, seamstress, sculptor, and later writer—a list that only hints at her intelligence and abilities—Ella Elgar Bird Dumont was one of those remarkable women who helped tame the Texas frontier. First married at sixteen to a Texas Ranger, she followed her husband to Comanche Indian country in King County, where they lived in a tepee while participating in the final slaughter of the buffalo. Living off the land . . . Read more Look inside 24 references to Motley County

Last of the Old-Time Outlaws: The George West Musgrave Story

"Following his adventures with the Christian gang, Holbrook, Joe Beckham (the former sheriff of Motley County, Texas, who had killed his successor, Sheriff Cook) and the deadly Hill Loftus joined with Red Buck Weightman to form a gang in western Oklahoma. Following a December holdup of the post office at Waggoner's, northeast of Wichita Falls . . . " Read more Look inside

Saddling Up Anyway: The Dangerous Lives of Old-Time Cowboys

Every time a cowhand dug his boot into the stirrup, he knew that this ride could carry him to trail's end. In real stories told by genuine cowboys, this book captures the everyday perils of the "flinty hoofs and devil horns of an outlaw steer, the crush of a half-ton of fury in the guise of a saddle horse, the snap of a rope pulled taut enough to sever digits. . . . Found inside: "Tom Ford and Claud Jefferies working with a bronc on the Matador Ranch in Texas in 1905 as an unidentified cowhand looks on.  " Read more Look inside

Quanah Route: A History of the Quanah, Acme, & Pacific Railway

The Iron Horse forever changed the American West, from a wild frontier to a network of scattered settlements tied together by steel rails. Behind the romantic image of the galloping Iron Horse, however, lies a rich history of American business activity. Railway giants have dominated this history, but small companies such as the Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railway Company (QA&P), a short line that operated in Hardeman, Motley, Floyd and Cottle Counties in northwestern Texas from near the turn of the century into the 1980s, had just as great an impact in their areas of operation as the giants did on the national scene . . . Read more

A Walk Across Texas

Part travelogue, part natural history, and part documentary, A Walk across Texas is the record of three friends’ journey from the Panhandle to Granbury—a 450-mile walk across West Texas.

"... walk to Matador, some twenty-eight miles away. We had walked fourteen of those miles yesterday and figured that we would not have any trouble reaching the town today . . . "  Read more Look inside

Cowboy Spurs and Their Makers

"By the time they reached the Caprock, they were footsore and hungry, so they put down their stakes at the settlement of Quitaque.  An indispensable part of any frontier town was the blacksmith shop, and young Bass opened his first shop at Quitaque in 1897 ... Wallie blacksmithed at the village of Whiteflat in Motley County in the 1930s before he opened his Spur factory"  . . . Read more

The early history of Motley County

January 1, 1958
by Harry H Campbell

The Matador Land and Cattle Company

by William Martin Pearce (1964)

Solon Love Owens, Texas Cowboy

by Augusta Owens Smith

An interesting story of life on a Texas ranch told by the daughter of Solon Love Owens born in 1894 including remembrances of his father, James W. Owens, born in 1855 . . . Read more

Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith

by Roy Ratcliff

Roy Ratcliff was born in Matador, Texas in 1948. This is his story of how he became Jeffrey Dahmer's death row minister and what he learned about America's most notorious serial killer. Told by a man who at first tried to avoid meeting Jeffrey Dahmer, but later became his friend and showed him the light of Gods love . . . Read more

The Last Stage To Matador-- Touching Lives Along The Way

The Stagecoach. It was ruggedly built--for the land it crossed demanded it be so--and filled with passengers of diverse origins, all following the same dream, and loaded with bags of letters bringing glad tidings to some recipients, and heartbreak to others. This book vividly documents the Journey Stagecoach hitched to a team of four magnificent bays as it once again sets out to deliver pen pal letters across the old west Texas Panhandle, crossing the historic Matador Ranch, the legendary JA Ranch . . . Read more

Of Such As These: A History of Motley County

West Texas History & Memories

Early Life in Texas County by County

Books about Texas People and Places

True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas (Facebook)

Motley County, TX History and Genealogy

Famous People from Motley County TexasMore People from Motley County Texas
Life in Motley County Texas 1800-1950Life in Motley County Texas 1800-1950 (B)

What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County


Mysterious TexasTrue Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texcas
 Loneliest, Least Populated Counties in Texas
Texas Cowboy HistoryBooks about Texas People County by County
Motley County Appraisal District
Motley County TX Experts
Motley County Products
Books about Motley County People and Places
Motley County Unclaimed Estates
Life in Motley County 1800-1950