State Historian Writes New Book
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Arcadia Publishing Co. of Charleston, SC, announces the nationwide release of West Texas Cattle Kingdom by award-winning author, Bill O’Neal. Featuring more than 200 photos, West Texas Cattle Kingdom relates the epic story of cowboys, longhorn cattle, trail drives, range wars, and great ranches and ranchers. Bill O’Neal is the State Historian of Texas, with an office and academic affiliation with Panola College, where he taught history for 36 years. West Texas Cattle Kingdom is O’Neal’s 41st book, and is now available for purchase.
The publication of his new book coincides with a statewide honor for O’Neal. Gov. Rick Perry named O’Neal as Historian for a term to expire Aug. 22, 2014.
O’Neal is an award-winning nonfiction author and a history instructor at Panola College. He is a member of the Texas State Historical Association, West Texas Historical Association, Society for American Baseball Research, Western Writers of America, and Wild West History Association Advisory Board, and a fellow and past president of the East Texas Historical Association. He is also a board member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, volunteer Sunday school director for Central Baptist Church, and past board president of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System.
O’Neal received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in history from East Texas State University and attended post graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Longtime history professor and renowned non-fiction writer Bill O’Neal has been named Texas State Historian, a job that will carry him across the state as ambassador of what he described the “richest and most colorful history” among all the 50 U.S. states.
O’Neal, 70, of Carthage, was appointed to the position by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who administered an oath of office at the state capitol in Austin on Wednesday.
“I am thrilled to be named to this position,” O’Neal said. ”It’s not a paying job, it is an honorary position, but as it turns out, a very busy one.”
As state historian, O’Neal is responsible for enhancing Texans’ knowledge of the state’s history and heritage; encouraging the teaching of Texas history in public schools; conducting lectures, and consulting with government officials on matters relating to the promotion of state history.
Though he was appointed by the governor, O’Neal was recommended to the position by members of Texas Historical Commission and the Texas State Historical Association.
O’Neal has taught Texas history for 42 years at the high school and Panola College. Though he no longer actively teaches, he will keep an office at the college while serving as historian.
O’Neal said he became captivated by Texas History when he was a little boy.
“My great-grandfather trailed cattle up the Chisolm Trail in the 1870s — he was a drover — so I have that in my background,” O’Neal said.
His grandmother came to Texas in a wagon train in 1881.
While most of his books are historical in nature, other subjects include homes of the governor of Texas, country singers and baseball. He also authored children’s books.
Kent Calder, executive director of the Texas State Historical Association, said O’Neal’s background as an instructor and a public speaker made him an excellent choice.
“He has academic credentials, but can speak to the public about the importance of keeping Texas history alive in public schools,” Calder said.
O’Neal is a member of the Texas State Historical Association, West Texas Historical Association, Western Writers of America, the Wild West History Association Advisory Board, Society for American Baseball Research, and a fellow and past president of the East Texas Historical Association.
He is also a board member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.