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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

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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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

Cowgirls 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

Motley County Roundup: Over 100 Years of Gathering in Texas

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

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

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 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

From 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

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

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

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

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

Ridgely Greathouse: Confederate, Conspirator, Convict, and Capitalist

by Marisue Burleson Potts

Marisue Burleson Potts grew up on a ranch near Matador, Texas, where her father and grandfather ran herds of Hereford cattle. She is a founding board member of the Motley County Historical Museum, Matador; the Comanchero Canyons Museum, Quitaque, Texas; and the Canyonlands Archeological Society of Matador and Quitaque. . . . Read more Look inside

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 early history of Motley County

January 1, 1958
by Harry H Campbell

Rich Grass and Sweet Water

Ranch Life With the Koch Matador Cattle Company

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)

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