O’Neal to debut new book

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O’Neal to debut new book

Bill O'Neal will talk about his newest book at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 2.

Bill O'Neal will talk about his newest book at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 2.

Bill O'Neal will talk about his newest book at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 2.

Bill O'Neal will talk about his newest book at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 2.

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The M.P. Baker Library will host author Bill O’Neal at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in the Murphy-Payne Community Rooms of the Library. O’Neal will debut his latest non-fiction title, Billy and Olive Dixon: The Plainsman and His Lady.

Billy Dixon triggered the most celebrated shot in the history of the West at the Battle of Adobe Walls in 1874. A few months later, while serving as an army scout, Billy earned a Medal of Honor during an even more desperate engagement, as one of six men battling for their lives against a band of 125 warriors at the Buffalo Wallow Fight. Both of these actions took place in the Texas Panhandle, where Dixon became an icon of heroism.

A fellow adventure-seeker, Olive King, came to the Panhandle from back East to visit her cowboy brothers. She became a frontier schoolmarm and she met her famous neighbor, Billy Dixon. Billy and Olive fell in love, married, and had eight children. In later years, Olive persuaded Billy to dictate his memoirs to her, and the result was a classic frontier biography, Life of Billy Dixon: Plainsman, Scout and Pioneer. During a long widowhood, Olive Dixon became a major force in Panhandle history, helping to establish the Panhandle-Plains Museum, writing and speaking about her own pioneer experiences as well as Billy’s, and erecting impressive monuments at Adobe Walls and at Buffalo Wallow.  O’Neal will share the story captured in the pages of his manuscript illustrating the shared adventures of Billy and Olive.

O’Neal recently concluded six years of service (2012-2018) as State Historian of Texas, traveling tens of thousands of miles across the Lone Star State as an ambassador for Texas history. He is a past president and fellow of both the West Texas Historical Association and the East Texas Historical Association.

He is the author of more than 40 books, as well as 300 articles and book reviews. His most recent writing award, the A.C. Greene Literary Award, was presented at the 2015 West Texas Book Festival in Abilene. In 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Wild West Historical Association, and in 2007 he was named True West Magazine’s Best Living Non-Fiction Writer.

O’Neal has appeared on TV documentaries on TBS, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, CMT, A&E, and the American Heroes Channel Series, Gunslingers. During a long career at Panola College in Carthage, his most prestigious teaching award was a Piper Professorship, presented in 2000. In 2013 Panola’s new dormitory was named Bill O’Neal Hall, and in that same year he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from his alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce. His four daughters all have entered the field of education, and he is the proud grandfather of seven grandchildren.

The program is free and open to the community.  Light refreshments will be served as books are available for sale and signing. For additional information please call 903-693-2052 or email [email protected]

 

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