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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

John R Erickson

John R Erickson

Born in Midland, Texas on October 20, 1943, Erickson grew up in Perryton in Ochiltree County in the northern Texas Panhandle. He  graduated from the University of Texas at Austin  in 1966  and spent two years at Harvard Divinity School. He began to publish short stories in 1967 while working full-time as a cowboy, farmhand, and ranch manager in Texas and Oklahoma.

 

In 1982, after receiving numerous rejection slips from large publishers, Erickson borrowed $2,000 and began his own publishing company, Maverick Books. Hank the Cowdog debuted in The Cattleman, and two related short stories appeared in the first book published by Maverick Books, The Devil in Texas. Erickson began selling books out of his pickup truck wherever cowboys gathered.

 

In 1983, the cowboy author published his first full-length book in the series, The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog. His 2,000-book first printing ran out in six weeks. With the book's success, he shortly afterward recorded the book, word-for-word, on audio tape. Hank the Cowdog has since become the longest-running successful children's series on audio. That book has since spawned over fifty sequels, becoming one of the most popular children's fiction series, selling more than 7.5 million books and winning several awards. Erickson has also written a number of non-Hank books that have lived in Hank’s shadow and are not as well known.

 

On March 6, 2017, Erickson's ranch home was destroyed in the fires that swept across more than 315,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle. His property is about 25 miles southwest of Perryton and just north of the Canadian River Valley in Roberts County. In addition to his writings, Erickson is head of security at the M-Cross Ranch in Ochiltree County. Upon his loss from the blaze, he quoted Scripture: "Naked we came into this world and naked we will leave it," and added, "but we will sure miss that house."

 

Resources:

John R Erickson Books

John R Erickson Books

 
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