Arts History Update for early December 2016

29 Nov

Arts History Update for early December 2016 by David Cummins

Can we talk about the history of West Texas? After reception of Texas into the United States in 1845 the U.S. Army arrived and in May 1846 set off south toward Veracruz to begin the 1846 War with Mexico that had declared its intention to recapture and dominate Texas and more lands above the Rio Grande [Big River]. In the aftermath of that successful war, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848, Mexico gave up all claims to Texas and to all or parts of New Mexico, Arizona, California [alta California not baja California], Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Later in 1848 a gold discovery in the Sierra Nevada [snow-capped mountains] in northern California would spark a Gold Rush and cause

substantial migration and travel to Nevada and California. Later strikes in other locations including Montana and Colorado would spur migrant travel to the west.

By 1852 the U.S. Army established a series of forts from the location on the Red River where the Great Western Cattle Trail Drive was located, south to the Rio Grande and down the Rio Grande to the southeast to its exit into the Gulf of Mexico. These forts protected the western and southern Texas frontier settlements and ranches from Indians [Kiowa, Kiowa Apache, Mescalero Apache, Lipan Apache and Comanche] and Mexicans, and established embarkation points for travel west to Santa Fe, Fort Bliss and onward to more western locations including San Diego, the Los Angeles basin and the lower southern extremity of the Great Central Valley of California.

The trails from San Antonio westward to Fort Bliss and from there then northward to Santa Fe, or farther westward from Fort Bliss to California, were called the Pecos River Trail because that was the major river crossing on the trek. There was an upper trail more often used as a military road, and a lower trail more often used for commercial travel, both called the Pecos River Trail.

The frontier defense series of forts were, north to south, Fort Belknap (Newcastle), Camp Cooper [Clear Fork of Brazos River to monitor nearby Comanche Indian Reservation], Fort Griffin (Albany), Fort Phantom Hill (Abilene), Fort Chadbourne (Coke County), Fort McKavett (Menard County west of Menard east of El Dorado south of US Highway 190), Fort Terrett (1852-1854 ghost town Roosevelt in Sutton County near Sonora), Fort Clark (Bracketville), Fort Inge (Uvalde), Fort Duncan (Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande) and down the Rio Grande to Fort McIntosh (Laredo), Ringgold Barracks (Rio Grande City), Fort Brown (Brownsville) and Fort Polk (Port Isabel on the Gulf of Mexico).

The upper Pecos River Trail extended from San Antonio northwest to Fort Mason (near Fredericksburg closer to Mason) to Fort McKavett and then west to Horsehead Crossing / Castle Gap area on and near the Pecos River and then due west to Fort Bliss (El Paso). The lower Pecos River Trail extended from San Antonio west to Fort Inge (Uvalde), then Fort Clark (Bracketville) and headed northwest to Camp Hudson (on the Devil’s River) [travel stations nearby are Dead Man’s Pass, Dead Man’s Creek, Dead Man’s Run and Dead Man’s Canyon indicating the dangerous conditions for travel on this road], Fort Lancaster (on the Pecos River), west to Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Quitman (on the Rio Grande) to Fort Bliss (El Paso). The lower Pecos River Trail was also called Chihuahua Trail or Chihuahua Road or Old Spanish Trail or the San Antonio – El Paso Road and also the San Antonio – San Diego Mail Line and also Butterfield Overland Mail Line. What is left of this military forts road that became such a commercial travel route? Fort Bliss is an active U.S. Army post today within a thriving city El Paso. The other forts are historic sites some near or inside cities by the same name such as Fort Davis and Fort Stockton.

Fort Clark closed in 1946 and now is Fort Clark Springs within the city of Bracketville. The springs and pool is where the U.S. Army at this fort developed the ancient Las Moras Springs, used by the Lipan Apache and Comanche for centuries. Then in 1938 the Works Progress Administration arrived and developed the springs into a large swimming pool area, the largest pool on any Army post at the time. Some of the former fort buildings were sold and are now private homes, including the former residence of General George S. Patton, Old Blood and Guts. The current Old Guardhouse Museum is located in one of the fort’s 1870s limestone buildings, open to visitors on weekends.

Thirty miles west on US Highway 90 is the city of Del Rio in which one can visit Whitehead Memorial Museum that contains a replica of Judge Roy Bean’s courtroom, saloon and jail of “The Law of the West” fame. One can also see a portion of the city’s historic acequia or canal system. Follow Texas State Highway 163 northwest toward Camp Hudson on the Devil’s River 20 miles north of Comstock, present day Baker’s Crossing. The road in this area crosses the Devil’s River twice and at one point through a narrow canyon called Dead Man’s Canyon or Dead Man’s Pass or Dead Man’s Run because there were so many Indian raids on travelers of this roadway and so many travelers were buried there. The Devil’s River runs south into Amistad Reservoir on the Rio Grande north of Del Rio.

Continue on SH 163 to IH-10 then west to Fort Lancaster State Historic Site in the Pecos River Valley on a tributary Live Oak Creek in Crockett County. It is in ruins after having closed in 1874. A scale model of an operating Fort Lancaster is on display in the Crockett County Museum in Ozona Texas east of Fort Lancaster. Some of the fort’s materials were stripped for use in construction in the town of Sheffield seven miles west.

Continue west on IH-10 eighty-one miles to Fort Stockton It like many forts was established near a historic water source Comanche Springs. Today it is a public swimming pool. A few buildings on the long-closed fort remain, officers’ quarters and an 1868 guardhouse. The visitors center informs us about the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers who were stationed there.

Continue west on IH-10 to Fort Davis National Historic Site operated by the U.S. National Park Service and then west to Van Horn and on to Fort Quitman 1858-1882 and on the Rio Grande north of the Mexican town of Banderas, a distance of 143 miles from Fort Davis. Continue on IH-10 up the Rio Grande to Fort Bliss a distance of 77 miles.

Rupert Richardson, Along the Old Texas Forts Trail (University of North Texas 1972) Texas Tech University Southwest Collection TEX 31 R524 A454 (1972) reissued and expanded Rupert Richardson, B.W. Aston & Donathan Taylor, Along the Old Texas Forts Trail (University of North Texas 1990) TEX 20.5 R524 A454 (1990)

Charles M. Robinson III, Frontier Forts of Texas (Lone Star Books 1986) 86 pages Texas Tech Southwest Collection TEX 32 R658 F935

Joan Usner Salvant, If These Walls Could Speak: Historic Forts of Texas (University of Texas Press 1985) Southwest Collection OVERSZ TEX 31 U91 i23

Lawrence John Francell, Fort Lancaster: Texas Frontier Sentinel (Texas State History Association 1999) 70 pages Southwest Collection TEX 27.3 F736 L244 F815 and Texas Tech Library F394.F637 F73 (1999) paperback and e-book $10

History is always a snapshot in time, hopefully seen in the context of events and activities. I asked myself, what was the earlier line of forts or presidios established by New Spain in this general area? Looking at the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century or about 1700 it turns out that the outermost defensive area relative to Indians, who had already proved difficult to bring under control through the mission system of friars, either Jesuits or Franciscans, was largely parallel to the current border of the United States with Mexico, meaning that Santa Fe, Taos and the upper Rio Grande were Spanish outposts beyond the defensible frontier for New Spain. From east to west the presidios were Bahia del Espiritu Santo on the Gulf of Mexico [present day Goliad], San Antonio de Bexar inland, and the following presidios on the Rio Grande viz. San Juan Bautista, Monclova, Santa Rosa, San Saba, Cerro Gordo, Julimes, and Guajoquilla. West of that the presidios were in the Sierra Madre [mother mountains] and high mountain desert viz. Carrizal, San Buenaventura, Janos, Fronteras, Terrenate, Tucson and Altar.

The first of these presidios, missions and civilian settlements on the Rio Grande was San Juan Bautista. It was established at present day Guerrero in the Mexican state of Coahuila 35 miles down the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass Texas and Piedras Negras Mexico. The site was about 5 miles from the Rio Grande itself and was chosen because it was an obvious crossing area for Indians to cross the Rio Grande. It would be used for many years as an access point for Spanish colonialist to cross the Rio Grande and enter and exit Tejas [present day Texas]. Today Guerrero is on Mexico Federal Highway 2 that tracks the Rio Grande all the way down to Matamoros opposite Brownsville Texas.

At the western edge of the presidios was Altar, today in the state of Sonora, Mexico. It also is on Mexico Federal Highway 2 a distance of 112 miles southwest of Nogales Mexico across the border from Nogales Arizona.

The mission at Bahia del Espiritu Santo [bay on the Gulf of Mexico of the holy spirit at Goliad] was Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga [Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (the Virgin Mary) of the noble lineage House of Zuniga descending from the kings of Navarre] We recall the Battle at Goliad, the cry heard round about Tejas when the Texians [Anglo settlers] and Tejanos [Hispanic settlers] answered the demand to surrender the settlement’s cannon by saying “Come and Get It”. The Spanish soldiers who came for the cannon went back to San Antonio without it. Later the marching army commanded by Santa Ana would destroy Goliad silence the cannon and kill its inhabitants in 1836.


Not entirely happy with an old laptop or desktop computer that seems slower than before and too slow to tolerate? Xtra-PC is a thumb drive / flash drive] you can purchase for $25 [for more powerful versions cost rises to $89] and plug it into a USB port on your computer when it’s turned off. Then start your computer and reboot. In fifteen minutes time a UNIX based operating system is installed that bypasses your previous Microsoft Windows operating system or Apple OS operating system. It contains an e-mail software program, Open Office software, a Web Browser program and other basic software. For those people who use cloud software programs, it has an access to the web where you can use the software in the cloud with which you’re familiar and into which you’ve entered important data in your life.

Why consider this? Only if your Microsoft or Apple operating system has slowed down to the point where cleaning up, defragging, aggregating and compressing files, etc. doesn’t return the computer to acceptable speeds. If the alternatives are spending $500 or more for a new or refurbished computer or living in forced toleration with a slow computer, purchasing this flash drive with a UNIX based operating system is an option. It’s a recoverable step if it doesn’t work out, i.e. you could jettison the UNIX operating system and restore your previous operating system that is still on your hard drive.


The arts in Lubbock in December begins with the First Friday Art Trail on December 2, 1016 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm continues that evening with live music at La Diosa Cellars [wine cellars of the goddess] 901 17th Street from 7:00 – 11:00 pm cover per person $3-$7 depending on the musicians. Spanish tapas, sangria and other wines are on offer [owner’s husband operates McPherson Cellars Winery across the street].

The month ends with an outstanding musical duo Outlier at Skooners Grill & Bar 1617 University Avenue on Thursday December 29 from 10:00 pm to midnight no cover. If you can’t make it, their latest CD album is Outlier released October 24, 2016 $10 at see their website and get to know Anthony Garcia [guitarist, pianist, vocalist] and Melanie Lenau [violinist, vocalist] watch and listen to them on You Tube to be impressed.


Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 went to French author Patrick Modiano. Try a paperback novella Young Once $12.14 156 pages or another In the Cafe of Lost Youth $10.28 118 pages or another Villa Triste $8.61 170 pages.


Symphony Space 2537 Broadway at West 95th Street upper west side in Manhattan New York City is a multidisciplinary performing arts center where live music, dance, theatre, literary events, and film are provided in an intimate setting A literary event that one rarely finds in West Texas is the reading and performance of short fiction. On Wednesday December 7 at 7:30 pm Paul Giamatti Oscar-nominated actor will curate stories read/performed by others as well as himself at Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Others includes Jane Kaczmarek, Billy Porter and Kathryn Erbe. $30 per person but $15 for those 30 years of age or younger.


A reader asked about how one can thriftily set up one’s computer to prevent hacks, trojans, worms, malware attacks or infestations of all kinds.

I am not a computer expert or geek but I do two things:

1. Since I’m using Microsoft Windows 7 operating system on my desktop and Windows 10 on my laptop, I use the free Microsoft Security Essentials software program and set it up to automatically scan daily at 2:00 am [I leave my desktop on overnight and the automatic scan begins on my laptop when I turn it on for the first use of the day] and I’ve set up both desktop and laptop to automatically receive, download and install updates to the software program. This is what is called “real time” protection because what gets put into the computer are the protections against the most current threats as soon as those updates are sent out by Microsoft.

2. In addition I annually purchase Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Home Premium software program from Cleverbridge Inc. for $32.45 that covers two computers, my desktop and my laptop, and set it up to automatically run a daily scan and repair function, and automatically receive, download and install updates to the program.

In tandem these two software programs perform a good service for me. The rest is up to me to be cautious and smart, e.g. not click on strange or unexpected attachments, not click on links to “my bank account because there’s some problem with a deposit” [the link would take one e.g. to a Bulgarian site where my actual bank account information would be gladly received for performing future thefts], etc.


Erica Richardson, Resident Teacher at Bodhichitta Kadampa Buddhist Center at 6701 Aberdeen Avenue Suite 4 Lubbock, moved back to Dallas and the Lubbock Center reverted to branch status It continues to offer meditation practices and instruction by lay instructors. On occasion in the future a monk or nun will visit Lubbock and offer a practice or instruction. A Buddhist temple is located in Arlington Texas



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