Saturday, July 21, I’ll have a book signing at the Books-A-Million in Sherman, Texas for my children’s book, Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House. Since that’s the first weekend for sales of the new Harry Potter book, traffic should be intense. Should be an author’s dream-signing. Yes, I know they’re coming for the Harry Potter book, but they’ll all see mine and since lines are likely to be long, I should be able to talk to many people. Channel 12 news has promised to have a photographer there to cover my signing. I’m very excited about this event. I’ll also get to see my parents where I’m staying. We’re all still having some difficulty in adjusting to our lives without my younger brother.
Sherman is the largest city in that part of the state. BAM is the largest bookstore in the area. I write a weekly column for a paper in the area called, TGIF Weekend Bandit, and my latest column concerns Sherman’s history, so I decided to post that short column today as well.
The cities of Bonham and Sherman Texas are such quiet towns these days that it’s hard to imagine their wild moments during the Civil War.
Ben McCulloch had made the area his headquarters. He supposedly set up his camp just outside of Bonham, close to one of Bonham’s cemeteries on the Sherman-Bonham highway.
Bonham’s and Sherman’s tranquility was radically disturbed when William Clarke Quantrill and his longhaired raiders set up their camp on Mineral Creek, fifteen northwest of Sherman. The destroyers of Lawrence, Kansas, there would hunt, pilfer, and drink whiskey. When those pastimes bored them, they would come to town to race horses, drink more whiskey, steal from shop owners, shoot up buildings and church steeples, and generally misbehave. The shocked folks of the town must have felt like the Devil had come to visit them.
One of his raiders was especially notorious: Bloody Bill Anderson. He married a young Sherman saloon girl who called herself, “Bush Smith.” I’ll have more on Bloody Bill in another column.
Quantrill and his men fell into disfavor with McCulloch. McCulloch called Quantrill into his room, declared him arrested and then invited him to supper. Quantrill declined the invitation. After McCulloch left, Quantrill captured his two guards and escaped. He joined his men waiting for him outside and they rode into Indian Territory.
I must do some research and see if I can find some of his campsites along Mineral Creek and in Indian Territory. If you want to learn more of Quantrill, a good book is The Devil Knows How to Ride by Edward E. Leslie.