The Death of President John F. Kennedy

Dealey Plaza Historical Marker
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It happened in Dallas, Texas, a fact that has haunted, saddened, and unfairly shamed Dallas as the media began repeatedly calling it "the city of hate" and "the place where Camelot died."

In the immediate aftermath of that horrible Friday, it was easy to forget that thousands of Dallas residents snuck out from work and skipped school to line the motorcade route to see and cheer the president and the First Lady. One national magazine called it "the most enthusiastic reception accorded President Kennedy in his three years in office." Nearing the end of the route, Nellie, the wife of Texas Governor John Connally who was riding in the front seat of the limo turned to the president and said the last words ever spoken to him, "Mr. President, you certainly can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.” Those words still haunt Dallas because all of the southern hospitality, all of the welcome shown on that day, was forever destroyed in the next 3 seconds, the time it took for a disturbed madman to fire 3 shots from his $19.95 rifle.

The view of the end of the motorcade route
where President Kennedy was shot
It's been over 50 years, and many younger Americans don't know Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Many have no idea who Oswald was. It may not be ancient history yet, but it is finally just another historical fact to most. Of course, to those of us who were born and raised in Dallas, to those of us who looked upon President Kennedy as our hero and the leader of our generation, to those of us who were there that day, it's not really history yet. It still saddens us. We haven't forgotten.

Looking back on the route toward the School Book
Depository building where Oswald fired the
fatal shots.
The "X" in the street marks the place where the
limousine was when the president was shot.

View from the "grassy knoll" with the School Book
building in the background on the left

School Book Depository Building. Oswald shot
from the 6th floor, 2nd window from the right.

Historical marker on the School
Book Depository Building. A
museum is now on the 6th floor.
The Dealey Plaza overlook parking lot. On the left
behind this fence is where the rumored "
2nd gunman" also fired shots.


Cowboy Cemetery

The two men worked for W. G. S. Hughes and his wife, Sarah. They were riding to fix a broken section of fence on the remote central Texas ranch when they found him. When they found his body anyway. Nobody knew his name or where he came from. He had no wallet, no papers, nothing to tell who he was. He had been shot once in the chest and now he lay dead under a large oak tree, his un-branded horse quietly grazing just a few feet away. The men buried him where he lay, a flat rock placed at the head of the shallow grave. It would be the only mark of his passing. If he had friends or family they would never know what happened to him, but this lonesome, wandering cowboy would have a cemetery named in his remembrance.

Later, in 1882, W.G.S. and Sarah's 4-year-old son, William, died and they donated 2 acres of their ranch at the cowboy's burial spot, 1 acre for a cemetery and 1 acre for a school. They named the burial ground Cowboy Cemetery after the unknown cowboy buried there, and the school became  the Cowboy School. Within a few years the population on the surrounding ranches had grown enough that dances were being held in the school building and a post office was opened. The building and cemetery became the focal point of the area and unofficially became known as Cowboy Town.

In 1930, with the need for a larger building and more teachers, the Cowboy School merged with the Rochelle school and the post office was eliminated. In 1932, Sarah took back the 1 acre where the school building had been and in turn donated another 33.5 acres around the cemetery which had run out of space for additional burials. A committee, called the Cowboy Cemetery Association, was formed to oversee the maintenance and operation of the cemetery.

Today, Cowboy Cemetery contains the graves of Mr. & Mrs. Hughes, their four children and numerous family members as well as many of the original settlers of the area and their descendants. The large number of graves for babies and young children indicate just how hard life was on this Texas prairie in the 1800's. Also buried here is Texas Border Patrol Agent Jefferson Barr who was killed by drug smugglers on the Texas border in 1996.

Cowboy Cemetery is one of the most pleasant, well-maintained cemeteries in all of rural Texas. Inside the rock fence enclosure is a small chapel and a working windmill which furnishes water for the many lantana bushes and trees. Of the 375 graves, 347 are identified. One of the unidentified is that lonesome cowboy whose name was never known and whose grave is now lost as well.

Postcard From Dead Horse Point

Yes, that is droppings from an obviously live horse at the
entrance to Dead Horse Point Park. Sometimes you find
the picture and sometimes the picture finds you.
32 miles outside of Moab, Utah is Dead Horse Point State Park. The park is 5,362 acres of isolated high desert with breathtaking views overlooking Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River. The view from Dead Horse Point is one of the most photographed in the world and was used in the movie Thelma and Louis as the spot where they drove over the edge of the Grand Canyon instead of filming the actual Grand Canyon as the view was more spectacular.

From the lookout point at the end of a narrow neck of land, you can see layers of ground representing 300 million years of earth's history. Look down the vertical walls of rock to the valley floor over 2,000 feet down. From the same spot you can look out and see the snow topped La Sal Mountains rising 12,000 feet.

In the 1800's, cowboys used this narrow finger of land sticking out over the valley for capturing wild horses. Fanning out in a u-shape, they would chase the animals onto the point and then block off any escape by piling up brush & dead tree's across the narrow neck of the plateau which is only 30 yards wide. This formed a 40-acre natural corral and the cowboys could then cull out the best horses for breaking and eventual ranch use. The old, young and small-in-stature mustangs (called "broomtails") would be left behind to find their way back into the wild.

The Colorado River 2,000 feet below the point

In the late 1800's, a large herd of wild horses were driven to the point and the "gate" of brush and dead tree's was put in place. For some unknown reason, several hundred horses were trapped on the point and kept circling and circling until they died of thirst. They could see the Colorado River with its life-sustaining water, but it was 2,000 feet straight down. Nobody seems to know the reason the horses were trapped - some say a sudden storm came up causing the cowboys to leave with the intention of coming back but for some reason never did; some say the cowboys got lazy, left only a narrow path through the "gate" when they departed and the remaining horses became confused and couldn't find the small opening. Whatever the reason, the name "Dead Horse Point" came about when several riders found hundreds of horse skeletons on the waterless point of the plateau, scattered in and about a large circle of hardened ground where they kept on the move looking for a way to get to the water until, one by one, they fell exhausted and died.