Category Archives: Texas

Unusual Place Names in Texas

I have seen a lot of strange or funny place names in my life. How about you? What’s the strangest name of a place that you know?

Texas, which is my official state of residence, has an abundance of them. Here is a sample.

A community near Waco is named Ben Hur. I do not know if they host chariot races.

In the piney woods of Southeast Texas you can find an apparently rowdy community called Hoop and Holler.

You can probably expect amazing things to happen in the panhandle community of Magic City. It actually got its name from the oil derricks that appeared as if by magic during the oil boom.

You might have trouble deciding whether or not to visit Uncertain, a city in Northeast Texas. It got its name from the fact that early surveyors were not sure where the border between Texas and Louisiana was in that area, because the border is in the middle of Caddo Lake.

You had better be careful if you visit Gun Barrel City. It got its name from the name of a road that runs through it. The story goes that one of the citizens used to sit on his porch with his rifle ready to deter any of the notorious lawbreakers that were in the area, such as Bonny and Clyde.

Texans love their guns. There is a community near Wichita Falls named Gunsight. It was named for the two Gunsight Mountains nearby. The mountains got their name because of the v-shaped gap between them.

Another name that involves weapons is Cut and Shoot. The story behind that one is that a preacher had taken liberties with some females in the church, and so the men of the congregation went to their wagons to get knives and guns in order to cut him and shoot him. A tamer version says that the riot occurred over the proposed shape of the church steeple.

Some place names in Texas just seem out of place, such as Moscow, China, New York, and Camelot. The strangest of these is Tiki Island, a city near Galveston.

If you’re crazy, you could visit Loco or Looneyville. Loco was actually named for the locoweed that grew there. Looneyville was named for John Looney.

If you are hungry, you could visit Bacon, Chocolate Bayou, Pecan Gap, Raisin, or Oatmeal. The last one was either an alteration of the early mill owner, Mr. Othneil, or an attempt to translate the German named Habermil (haber being a nonstandard word for oats in German).

Go, Governor Perry

     Texas is my adopted home state, and it’s a good one.  I’m proud of Governor Rick Perry for taking a stand against our national government’s attack on federalism.  I’m glad that he and others across the United States believe in the Tenth Amendment.  Keep it up, governor!

Stop Those Bad Guys

     You’ve got to love Texas women.  I have to love one of them, anyway, since my wife is a Texan through and through.  Recently a woman in Texas decided she wasn’t going to let some intruders kill her children, and so Kellie Hoehn grabbed the muzzle of one bad guy’s shotgun.  She and her husband managed to defend themselves but ended up killing one of the two intruders and injuring the other.

     I don’t advise anyone to do what she did.  The incident could have ended very differently.  Still. . .she and her family are safe, one bad guy is dead, and another one is going to prison.  All because her maternal instincts emboldened her to take action.

     The article ends with this statement:  “Investigators say the couple were just defending their family and probably won’t be charged.”


Keeping Kids Safe

     Personally I object to kids getting gunned down in schools.  Instead of doing everything in the world that doesn’t stop crazed shooters, I think we should do the one thing that would stop them, which is to STOP THEM.

     A school district in Texas has enacted a measure that would potentially do just that.  Instead of banning weapons under the false notion that a wacko teenager will abide by a rule against them, they have decided to let teachers be armed.  This measure is the only thing that could actually stop kids from getting killed if an unstable person is shooting up a classroom or a whole school building.  It doesn’t do any good to send for the police so that they can investigate the crime scene after all the victims are dead.  It doesn’t do any good to keep writing more rules against guns, since nutjob killers don’t exactly care too much about following rules.

     Guns do not scare me.  Neither do teachers who are brave enough to stop would-be killers.  Disturbed adolescents with guns scare me, and folks who want students to be sitting ducks in their classrooms scare me.  People who can’t differentiate between a person defending life and a person taking an innocent life scare me, too.

15 Girls Are Really Women

     About half of the mothers from the Yearning for Zion Ranch, who are in protective custody as underage mothers, are now reported to be adults.  As previously reported here and elsewhere, one of them is 27 years old. 

     Why is this fact significant?

     Because the basis for removing all the children was the contention that there were many (reports vary from 20 to more than 20) underage mothers and pregnant women.  If the basis of the raid turns out to be false, and it is turning out to be so, then the raid was wrong in the first place.

     And because not only should these particular mothers not have been seized as endangered children, but their own children should not have been seized and taken from them, unless there was proof of abuse besides an assumption (now proven false) that their mothers were underage.

     The state of Texas has a lot of explaining to do.

Texas in Court

     I knew it, the CPS is not allowed to take kids away from people without following certain legal procedures.  The 3rd District Court of Appeals just ruled that the state was wrong for removing all of the children without more specific evidence that they were in immediate danger.  They ruled, in part that “the existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the department’s witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger.”

     I’m not sure what the effect of this ruling will be.  If Texas officials were smart, they would send all the children back to their homes and their parents and then conduct their investigations properly and legally.  The ruling orders Judge Barbara Walther to vacate her order that the children be seized and gives her 10 days in which to comply.  The judges did say that the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services “did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty,” which could mean that CPS might still have the authority to keep the teen girls in protective custody, I suppose.

SOURCE:  “Court: Texas Had No RIght to Remove Polygamists’ Children,” CNN

     You can read the ruling here:

It says some of the things, in legal terms, that I have written on this blog.


A 27-Year-Old Girl

     I think the state of Texas has gotten itself into one big pickle.  One of the “girls” taken into custody by CPS was Leona Allred, a 27-year-old adult with a birth certificate and driver’s license to prove it.

     Apparently she is not the only child taken in the raid that isn’t really a child.

     What is going on here?


SOURCE:  “Reclassifications Weaken Polygamist Case,” UPI, May 21, 2008


UPDATE:  The AP is reporting that eight of the “girls” are legal adults.

SOURCE:  “Relatives Outside Sect Seek Custody in Texas Case,” AP, May 21, 2008 

Saturday Fun: Texas Songs

How many songs do you know that mention Texas in the title?  Since I live here, I wondered how many I could think of.  Off the top of my head, I thought of four.

Can you do better?

Read on to compare your list to mine.

Continue reading

Student Rights

     Two posts down from this one I wrote about a boy in Michigan who got a zero on an art assignment because it had Christian content.  In another interesting case, a boy in Texas is suing his high school because they kicked him off campus for wearing a T-shirt that supported John Edwards for President.  The school contends that the wearing of the shirt violated the school’s dress code, which appears to be the case.  Only shirts that are  (1) solid-colored, (2) related to that school or its various organizations, or (3) related to colleges and universities may be worn.

     I am ambivalent on this particular case.  On the one hand, schools need dress codes, especially when it comes to T-shirts.  I don’t think I have to explain that one.  On the other hand, students, especially the seniors, are sometimes interested in politics and want to express their political views.  The Supreme Court has ruled, generally speaking, that public school students have the same Constitutional rights as adult citizens, but also that schools may put some restrictions on those rights in order to meet the educational and disciplinary goals of the school.

     Because the student in Waxahachie, Texas, violated expressly written school policy, I side with the school.  I can see why they have a strict code on what kinds of T-shirts may be worn.  However, I would like to see that school, and all public high schools, find a way to allow students to express political views.  Perhaps the students could ask for special days during an election year when they could wear buttons in support of their favorite candidate.  Perhaps they could have a special week to “campagin” for their favorite candidates and hold mock primaries and mock elections.  (I know that some schools do that very thing.)  Perhaps they could have a poster contest for the best poster in support of  a political candidate.

     If political speech is banned at public high schools, how will the students learn about the political process and how will they feel motivated to be involved in it?  Hands-on learning is always best.  How will they tolerate sitting in an early American history class or an American government class and learn about the First Amendment and then  be told that they are not allowed to express their views?  I know that I would not be able to.

John Marshall of Hopkins County, Texas


     This post is a biography of one of my wife’s ancestors.  It will not interest most of my regular readers, but it might interest my wife’s relatives and anyone interested in the history of Hopkins County, Texas.


     John Lewis Marshall was born on June 12, 1826, in Morgan County, Alabama.  His parents were Andrew J. Marshall and Mary Russell.    

     He married a woman named Susannah M. “Susan” McDonald on July 8, 1847.  She was born on December 19, 1824 in South Carolina, probably in Laurens County.  Her parents were also born in South Carolina, and they are probably a John and Naomi McDonald, although one sources supposes that her father was a certain James McDonald.  Family tradition indicates that she was part Cherokee and was “a small, dark woman.” Continue reading