About Fort Tours
When I found myself buried in a mishmash of stories and
pictures, I convinced Lea Ann (Sloan) Rector to work on my database. It
turned out that she is a descendant of Capt. Sloan of the Sloan/Journey
Expedition into the Trinity Valley and a paternal tie to Cynthia Ann Parker.
Her enthusiastic interest in the history of the frontier sustained our
efforts to do this site right.
Steve "Cowboy" Murrin suggested Fort Worth tourists
could sure use a good day-trip out west and I orignally tried to keep
that in mind. I have visited most of the important sites and always tried
to hunt down the local historians in the area. I began in Fort Worth meeting
Judge Steve King. He graciously gave me, not only his time, but copies
of maps and pictures as well as interesting insights into the history
of North Central Texas. Sometime later I visited Mr. and Mrs. Jack Loftin
in Archer County. He is the author of the "Trails of Archer County"
as well as the creator of a historical map of North Texas that first sparked
my desire to hunt down the location of specific stories. I showed them
my preliminary notes and they recommended several books including J. Evetts
Haley's, Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman. Mr. Loftin took
me out to a location on his ranch where there were ancient wagon tracks
that were proof of the heavy traffic, century's old, between Cottonwood
and the other landmark springs of the area.
Lea Ann and I ventured into Palo Pinto County one day and
on the advice of some Lone Camp residents, visited the Ramsey ranch a
few miles northeast of town. The ranch had a Rube Goldberg type of security
system. When the gate was opened, an elaborate rope and rock system activated
an alarm that I recall sounding like a braying goat. Almost immediately
Mr. Ramsey shuffled out to welcome us. We showed
him our notes and he corrected some things about the Wilson-Acres event
and showed us the location of Fort Stubblefield to the south. He let me
try out his electric guitar; it turns out we all shared a weakness for
Ernest Tubb and Lefty Frizzell.
Mr. Ramsey's Hole Collection
(Photo by Leon Walters)
Next chance I had, I returned with an artist couple, Bert
and Leon Walters; they'd introduced me to Dutch and Mary as well as "Cowboy".
We toured the yard and he showed us his collection of holes. He had two
kinds; one were limestone pieces that had been worn by weather or perhaps
human hands in the past. The other were his Martin houses overhead. The
first being handy to hold in front of your eye to isolate a view in the
distance and the second being a natural nesting attraction to the mosquito
eating birds. By the way, Leon's the same Walters whose forefather shows
up on a plaque on the jailhouse wall in Granbury as well as a historical
monument in Glen Rose and Bert is as close as you can get to royalty in
Texas. Forefathers on one side were Canary Islanders who were re-settled
in San Antonio in the early eighteenth century and those on the other,
were members of Austin's colony's original "three hundred".
The rest of the day we drove the Cross Timbers while I alternately played
disc jockey and story teller. As we approached Fort Worth, Bert suggested
that it would be neat to have a tape so that people could listen to the
stories while they made the drive. It's been tried since by others though
their efforts weren't very successful. I hope that another try, with the
aid of new technology, might work better.
(photo by Leon Walters)
Steve"Cougar" Nichols is an old friend and an
exceptional songwriter but around here, we call him "Scout".
Fortunately for us, he is passionate about getting the locations of these
historic events correct and working on the stories has inspired him to
write more than a half dozen original songs based on the events. Several additional people have provided invaluable technical
help as the site has grown. Brian Sharp provided
first aid for our first growing pangs and Bob Ballew not only provided us with much of the original expertise
to launch our web site but also a terrific introduction. Mike Shropshire has given me direction and inspiration as well as quite a few illuminating essays including his own introduction.
I would like to credit anything good that comes from this site to two men who are most responsible for its existence. The first was my father, Netum Steed, my original historical source concerning the Indian wars. The second was my art dealer, Dutch Phillips. He promoted my work, encouraged me to paint and more importantly, to think in historical and cultural terms. He was a central figure in North Texas' vibrant art community. This is, of course, just a short list of my heroes. My earliest influences were the friends and teachers at UNT's art department in the late 60s, particularly Bill and Mickey McCarter, Flip Higgins, Henry Whiddon, John Anderson, Richard Davis, and Roy Wilce.
My father (right), arriving in Washington with Senator Tower
Dutch and Me (photo by Bob Wade)