Archive for November, 2011

 

Over at Lulu Press, they’re having a “Cyber Monday” sale. Shoppers will receive a 30% discount by entering the coupon code CYBERMONDAY, from now until 11:59 (Pacific time) tomorrow night. This is good for Howard fans. Besides the items shown above, a search for Howard-related titles at Lulu revealed the following (most in both paper and hard back editions):

The Robert E. Howard Reader by “Albert Schweitzer”
The Robert E. Howard Reader Volume One is a collection of some of Robert E. Howard’s greatest adventures. None of the stories appearing in The Robert E. Howard Reader are found in the two Del Rey “best of” collections, making it a wonderful companion piece to those volumes. This is the one and only ORIGINAL Robert E. Howard Reader, first published in 2007. It consists of content by ROBERT E. HOWARD.

Robert E. Howard: World’s Greatest Pulpster by Dennis McHaney
This book details the writing career of Robert E. Howard, the author who created Conan the Barbarian. It is a unique look at the pulp magazines that gave him his creative playground, told in letters from the readers of those magazines, and in letters and remembrances from his closest friends. The book is lavishly illustrated with color cover reproductions of many of the magazines in which his stories originally appeared. Winner of the 2006 Cimmerian Award, which is currently the highest achievement in Robert E. Howard studies.

Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems
A large and representative selection of the poetic work of Robert E. Howard, with a general introductory essay, 30 chapter introductions, and commentary by Prof. Frank Coffman, one of the foremost authorities on Howard’s verse and “ways with words.” Three indexes add to the value of this ample selection: by title, by first lines, and a “Form Finder” index to allow quick access to Howard’s work with the ballad, the sonnet, blank verse, free verse and other forms and techniques. Well over half of Howard’s more than 700 poems are included in this text, set in a text size and format for presentation that enhances readability and enjoyment. For those who are familiar with Howard’s prose fictional works, but who remain uninitiated in the many qualities and nuances of Howard’s verse, this compilation and commentary will offer insights into the complexity, quality and breadth of his work. For those who believe they know Howard’s poetic work, some new perspectives will broaden their appreciation.

A Gent from Bear Creek by Robert E. Howard
Saddle up, pards, and ride the range with one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest characters, Breckinridge Elkins. This is the novel version of A GENT FROM BEAR CREEK, first published in 1937 in London, and the rarest and most valuable Howard book ever published. It was reprinted in facsimile form by Donald M. Grant in the sixties, but every reprinting of it since then has been edited. This version restores the original Jenkins text. The original dust jacket is reproduced on this edition. There are only a handful of original dust jackets in existence, most of them in libraries in England.

And a whole lot more, including all of the Foundation’s Lulu books. A 30% discount is even bigger than our members receive.

 

All of my Roehm’s Room Press books are available, too, including Howard’s Haunts and the brand new Lone Scout of Letters:

Herbert C. Klatt was a primary figure of the Lone Scouts of America movement in Texas. Not only did he contribute to Lone Scout, the organization’s official organ, he also wrote articles for a plethora of “tribe papers” and edited Lone Scout columns for regional and community newspapers. Despite all this, Klatt is probably best known as a friend and correspondent of Texas author Robert E. Howard. Klatt’s importance in Howard’s biography has not been fully explored, but he was instrumental in the introduction of his more famous friend to the group of writers that eventually produced The Junto, including Harold Preece and Booth Mooney. Upon his death in 1928, Klatt’s friends attempted to garner support for a memorial collection of his writings. Plans were made and printers contacted, but the attempt was never realized—-until today. This anthology collects Klatt’s letters to Tevis Clyde Smith and a sampling of his Lone Scout material. It also includes material by Robert E. Howard, Truett Vinson, and Smith.

Plus a pile of other items. Happy shopping.

Born and raised in the farm communities of Texas, Herbert C. Klatt became a primary figure of the Lone Scouts of America movement in Texas. Not only did he contribute to Lone Scout, the organization’s official organ, he also wrote articles for a plethora of “tribe papers” and edited Lone Scout columns for regional and community newspapers. Despite all this, Klatt is probably best known as a friend and correspondent of Texas author Robert E. Howard. Klatt’s importance in Howard’s biography has not been fully explored, but he was instrumental in the introduction of his more famous friend to the group of writers that eventually produced The Junto, including Harold Preece and Booth Mooney. Upon his death in 1928, Klatt’s friends attempted to garner support for a memorial collection of his writings. Plans were made and printers contacted, but the attempt was never realized—until today.

Now available from Roehm’s Room Press, Lone Scout of Letters collects all of the known surviving letters written by Klatt to Tevis Clyde Smith (12) and Robert E. Howard (1). It also includes a sampling of Klatt’s work from various tribe and farm papers, letters outlining the planned memorial collection, and an extensive appendix containing all of the known material written by Truett Vinson, including Lone Scout items, letters, and articles from The Junto.

The material is presented in chronological order, with articles from various publications interspersed between Klatt’s letters and excerpts from other correspondents, including Robert E. Howard and Truett Vinson. The complete text of Howard’s single surviving letter to Klatt is included, as is his letter to Smith eulogizing Klatt, the section from Post Oaks and Sand Roughs that describes Klatt’s visit to Brownwood, and other excerpts from his novel and correspondence.

The collection also features all of the known surviving photographs of Klatt (9 of them), a recently found article by Tevis Clyde Smith from The Junto that mentions Howard, and title and subject indexes, all with introduction and notes by yours truly.

While primarily a collection of material by and about Herbert C. Klatt, Lone Scout of Letters also serves as a resource for the Howard fan and scholar. Besides Klatt’s mentions of Howard in his letters to Smith, the volume provides information about The Junto and its members, as well as the Lone Scouts of America, an organization whose members had an influence on Howard.

This anthology is available in two editions via lulu.com: hardcover for $25 and paperback for $16. See the preview on the Lulu page for a list of contents.

In Part I we got a flavor of what the outlaw life was all about as we followed Bill Doolin as he progressed from small crimes to major crimes, meeting a violent end and crossing paths several times with legendary lawman Bill Tilghman in the process.

The life of William Matthew “Bill” Tilghman began in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he was born on July 4, 1854. By the age of 15 he had left home and was hunting buffalo on the southern plains with his older brother Richard. The two of them killed numerous buffalo and sold their hides in Dodge City, Kansas. Soon the buffalo business petered out as overkill drove the beautiful animals to near extinction and the brothers moved on to other endeavors.

The Tilghmans relocated to Dodge City in the spring of 1877 where Bill Tilghman and a business partner, Henry Garris became owners and operators of the Crystal Palace saloon. A year after the move, someone accused Tilghman of being involved in a train robbery in a neighboring county. He was not. However, few months later Tilghman was arrested by Ford County Sheriff Bat Masterson for horse stealing. The case against Tilghman was eventually dismissed.

Despite these troubles, Tilghman and Garris continued to operate the Crystal Palace saloon and at some point, Tilghman became a Ford County Deputy Sheriff at Dodge City. It was his first job as a peace officer. Tilghman and his partner sold the Crystal Palace saloon in the spring of 1878. Tilghman bought another saloon, the Oasis, for his brother Frank to run.

In 1877 he married Flora Kendall, a widow, and started up a small ranch on a homestead near Dodge City. Tilghman was soon appointed city marshal, faithfully serving the famous cattle town for two years. The following year Tilghman was hired by one of the factions in the Gray County Seat War. The War involved the bitter struggle between the high plains boomtowns of Cimarron and Ingalls, Kansas over which would be the county seat for Gray County. During the conflict, Tilghman killed Ed Prather on the Fourth of July in a saloon fight.

Tilghman participated in the Great Oklahoma Territory Land Run of 1889, staking a land claim near Guthrie. In 1893 he worked as a peace officer in the wild boomtown of Perry where he killed a troublemaker named Crescent Sam on September 17, 1893. During this period Tilghman moved his wife and four children to a stud farm near Chandler. Flora Tilghman contracted tuberculosis and, in 1897 returned to her mother’s Dodge City home and filed for divorce. Flora died in 1900. Tilghman wed a second time in 1903, at the age of 49, he married 22-year old Zoe Agnes Stratton.

During the mid-1890s Tilghman was a deputy U.S. Marshal and honed his skills as a man hunter, collecting significant amounts of reward money. Working with Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen, the trio was known as “Three Guardsmen.” Among Tilghman’s greatest success were the capture of fugitive “Little Dick” Raidler and the arrest of notorious gang leader Bill Doolin.

In 1900, Tilghman was elected sheriff of Lincoln County, Oklahoma and served several years there. While serving as sheriff, Tilghman mastered another important factor of being a lawman, he learned the art of politicking. The new century marked a change in the previous style of getting votes. A modern politician of the day had to rely on more efficient and sophisticated ways of getting the vote out to a growing population. Views had to be transmitted through the expanding print media to reach the electorate. A 1907 letter to the editor of the Lincoln Broadsides newspaper identifies Tilghman’s impressive record and publicizes his campaign:

I desire to call to the attention of the voters to the good work done by Wm. Tilghman during his tenure in office as Lincoln County Sheriff. During the first thirty days of Mr. Tilghman’s administration he received warrants for nine persons charged with horse stealing. He caught eight of the thieves, recovered the horse in the ninth case and afterwards caught the thief and sent him to the penitentiary, a record for thirty days never made by any sheriff before or since that time. During the ten years prior to his election there have been convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary thirty-nine persons charged with various crimes. During his term of office eighty-four persons were convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary, being more than has ever been sent to the penitentiary before or since his terms as sheriff. A large portion of these were the hardest criminals Lincoln County ever had to contend with, a good many of them being horse thieves, bank robbers, and murderers. This record was accomplished by hard work. No sheriff in Lincoln County ever worked harder or more faithful than Wm. Tilghman did. When a crime was committed the night was never too strong or too dark for him to go after criminals. He went and kept going until he captured them and landed them in jail and kept them until they were indicted and convicted. He then transported them to the penitentiary and delivered them to the warden of the institution. Mr. Tilghman inaugurated a system of collecting personal taxes that saved the farmers of Lincoln County hundreds of dollars. Lincoln County never elected an officer that worked harder or more faithful than Bill Tilghman during his terms in office. Do you want Lincoln County over-run with horse thieves? Do you want to guard your pastures to protect your stock at night? Do you want Lincoln County to continue to be a banner county in Oklahoma for bank robbers? Do you want Lincoln County murders to escape and go unpunished? Do you want your homes burglarized? If not vote for Wm. Tilghman on June 8th.

Yours Very Truly,
R.P. Martin

When President Teddy Roosevelt visited the Big Pasture area in Oklahoma Territory for a well-publicized wolf hunt in 1905, he asked the intrepid marshal how he had eluded death with the many quick-drawing outlaws he had confronted. The mild-mannered Tilghman replied that he had many times beaten his adversaries by only the sixteenth of a second. He also expounded that the man who knows he is right always has the edge over a man that knows he is in the wrong.

President Roosevelt was quite taken with the lawman and admired his skills, so he offered Tilghman a monumental task – go deep into Mexico and bring back a railroad embezzler who had eluded the U.S. Government for some time. The year 1905 was an especially turbulent time in Old Mexico. Mexican government rurales (federal troops) were trying to keep revolutionaries from controlling remote regions of the country – the land was hot, barren and full of murderous bushwhackers. Traveling south of the border, Tilghman, soon met with Roosevelt’s Mexican counterpart, President Porfirio Diaz, who was impressed with the letter Tilghman presented to him from President Roosevelt. Diaz offered him any number of rurales he wanted. After all, Tilghman was headed to Aguascalientes, a corrupt and violent city inhabited by the worst of criminals – both Mexican and American. However, Tilghman respectfully declined Diaz’s offer, reasoning he didn’t want to cause a commotion that might offer the quarry an opportunity for escape.

Tilghman rode into the dusty, dingy village alone. Soon he was riding back out of town with his rifle across his saddle covered by a duster. The man the U.S. Government hadn’t been able to capture sat the saddle on the horse in front of him. He was delivered north of the border – alive.

In 1908, he became fed up with the way Hollywood was glamorizing the outlaws of the day. So he and real life historical figures Quanah Parker and Heck Thomas made a short film called A Bank Robbery. Then, in 1915, Tilghman and his friends U.S. Marshal E.D. Nix and Chris Madsen wrote the script for and starred as themselves in the full length feature film, Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws to show how things really were back in the heyday of the Wild West. They even managed to get an old outlaw nemesis, Arkansas Tom, released from prison to be a consultant and act in the film.

Read the rest of this entry »

This entry filed under H. P. Lovecraft.

Robert E. Howard’s interests ranged widely, but strong among them was his fascination with the ancient world and the different branches of the human race. That antique people of northern Italy, the Etruscans or Tuscans, caught his attention, but little was really known about them in his lifetime. Even the words Etruscan and Etruria are Roman in origin. Their name for themselves was Rasenna. The Greeks called them Tyrrhenians, and the Tyrrhene Sea between Tuscany and Provence still carries that name. The Adriatic on the other side of the Italian peninsula derives its name from Etruscan influence too. They were famous sailors. They could have given Ulysses a run for his money.

No-one could read their language in REH’s day. It wasn’t Indo-European, as most of Europe’s ancient languages, from the Celtic lands across to Persia, were. The Etruscans and the Basques were among the few remnants of an older time, speaking tongues unrelated to the others. Part of the fascination for Howard may have been that very mystery. In September of 1930, He wrote the following to H.P. Lovecraft:

I agree with you that the Tuscans influenced Roman physiognomy and character greatly. And that brings up another question – who were the Tuscans and from where did they come? I would certainly like to see your views on the subject.

Lovecraft must have responded, because in a return letter REH said:

Your remarks on the Etruscans interested me very much. I am sure you are right in believing them to be of a very composite type of Semite and Aryan. It’s a pity no more is known about them; doubtless their full history was a spectacular pageant of wars, intrigues and culture development. Where did they have their beginning? What unknown tribes went into their making? Was it conquest, friendship or pressure from some common foe which brought together and mingled these alien race-stocks into one people? Was this mingling accomplished in three or four generations or did it require the passing of a thousand years? In what secluded valley did these people slowly and peacefully climb the ladder of evolution, or over what wastelands were they harried by what nameless enemies? Did they spring into being in Italy, or did they come from some far land? And if the latter, what drove them from their original homeland and what chance flung them on the Italian coasts? These are questions whose answers we doubtless shall never know, and after all, may be asked of almost any race.

Not much later, in October of the same year, Howard wrote:

I am much taken with your suggestion for tying up the Etruscans with an Elder World civilization and mean to have a fling at it some day, though my notions about them now are so hazy that it will require a great deal of study of their ways and customs before I would be able to write intelligently about them.

Other people seemed to think so too. I remember reading only two historical novels about the Etruscans. They were pretty widely separated as to quality. One was The Etruscan  (1956), by Mika Waltari, who had written the very fine The Egyptian as well. Lars Turms, the Etruscan, is a superstitious and deeply religious man, like all his people. He travels widely, seeking the secret of his identity, a difficult task as he’s lost his memory. And the other – going from the sublime to the ridiculous – was Lord of the Etruscans, a slim paperback in a cheap 1960s series of pseudo-historicals that were basically lightweight soft porn. Banquet orgies and fine Roman girls captured by lustful Etruscan pirates. I can’t remember anything about it except the title.

That has always struck me as fairly odd. The Etruscans, even from the little that’s known about them, were a fascinating people. REH could have written a rip-roaring adventure story with Etruscan characters, either as villains or heroes, since at their height they contested for control of the western Mediterranean in a three-cornered struggle with the Greeks and Carthaginians. They were skilled seamen, notorious pirates and superb metal-workers. Their religious ideas were quite dark and emphasized the horrors of an afterlife in hell. Their demons were pretty frightening. They invented gladiatorial contests to honor their great men at their funeral games. Rome copied the practice and made it a public sport for bloody entertainment a good deal later. The Etruscans dominated Roman political life in Rome’s early days and provided several of its kings – most famously, “the great house of Tarquin.” By the early days I mean before the Republic.

Howard’s interest in “tying up the Etruscans with an Elder World civilization” and meaning “to have a fling at it some day” could mean that he liked the idea of ascribing (fictionally) the Etruscans’ origin to the former ages of Conan and – perhaps – of Kull. The Etruscans were an ancient race, Mediterranean, and dark in complexion. They had that much in common with REH’s fictional Picts. I forget which Bran Mak Morn story it comes from, but at one point a captive legionary (I think) taken before Bran, asks who he is and receives the reply, “A Mediterranean.” The captive says skeptically, “Of Caledonia?” and Bran tells him, “Of the world.” As to the physical difference between Bran and his gnarled, stunted subjects in the heather, the king says, “I am as the race was.”

The story “The Lost Race” also features Picts, but they are not like Bran Mak Morn or his subjects. This is a branch of the Pictish race that inhabits Cornwall, and has been driven from the daylight by the invading Celts, living in caves and ravines and becoming on average scarcely four feet tall – the “little people”, the “dark elves” of legend. But they still call themselves Picts. Cororuc, the Briton of the story, finds that unlikely. In REH’s words:

I have fought Picts in Caledonia,” the Briton protested; “they are short but massive and misshapen; not at all like you!

They are not true Picts,” came the stern retort. “Look about you, Briton,” with a wave of an arm, “you see the remnants of a vanishing race; a race that once ruled Britain from sea to sea.

The speaker, the priest of the little people, says the difference exists because the northern Picts bred with “ … the red-haired giants we drove out so long ago, and became a race of monstrous dwarfs … ” He also declares that his people, originally and long ago, had come “ … from the south. Over the islands, over the Inland Sea.”

Read the rest of this entry »

This entry filed under H. P. Lovecraft, Howard's Fiction.

Yesterday, a group of Glenn’s family and friends gathered at the Monument Inn in La Porte, Texas. The restaurant faces the Houston Ship Channel and is adjacent to the historic San Jacinto Battlefield where Sam Houston and his men defeated Santa Anna and won independence for Texas.

Of course, Glenn and his bride Lou Ann were there, as were his two children and a number of his grandchildren. Besides me, Barbara Barrett, Rusty Burke, Paul Herman, Dennis McHaney, Todd Woods and Dave Hardy, along with his wife and daughter, made up the Howard fandom contingent. Altogether 18 people were in attendance and enjoyed a fine meal, topped off with birthday cake and an ear-splitting rendition of the Happy Birthday Song. Needless to say, everyone had a fine time honoring the World’s Number One Howard Fan on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Also, Paul Herman announced the next book coming from the REH Foundation Press will be a collection of all of Howard’s Science Fiction stories with a color cover by Mark Schultz and an introduction by former REHupan and author Mike Stackpole.

This entry filed under Glenn Lord, Howard Fandom, News, Rusty Burke.

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been looking into the lives of Robert E. Howard’s contemporaries lately. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with all the factoids I’ve uncovered but, on this last day of work before a week-long Thanksgiving break, I thought I’d share a few regarding Honey Lenore Preece.

Born on January 17, 1912, Lenore was the youngest sister of Harold Preece, who should be familiar to most fans. In 1929, Lenore took over the editorship of The Junto from Booth Mooney, managing the issues until their end in 1930.

Following the demise of The Junto, Preece and Mooney backed a plan to publish a book collecting material by the Juntites to be entitled Virgin Towers. This plan didn’t go too far, and when it fell through Clyde Smith and Bob Howard planned a collection of their own. They brought fellow poet Lenore into the plan. The three submitted their manuscript, Images Out of the Sky, to the Christopher Publishing House, but when asked to help with costs, they declined (see the current REH Foundation Newsletter for more details). Of course, this wasn’t the only writing Preece was doing.

The 1930 University of Texas yearbook, The Cactus, reports that Preece won a cash prize during the first semester for something published in The Longhorn-Ranger, a campus publication. This is her only mention in the 1930 yearbook.

She’s back with a vengeance in the 1934 Cactus. Preece contributed to and was on the staff of The Longhorn; she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa; she was a regular contributor to The Texas Ranger, the campus’s humor magazine. Beside her student photo are listed her accomplishments to date:

Anthropology. PBK, Publications, Student Forum Club, S.W.G.S., Scribblers, Longhorn-Ranger Poetry Prize, 1930; Texas Ranger Poetry Prize, 1934; D.A. Frank Award, 1930, Second Place, 1934.

On the Drama Club’s page, under “Masks for the Campus Drama,” Preece is listed with the following:

The Poet: Lenore, High Preece in the Temple of Verse; the Perip’s Pie-Eyed Piper of sesquipedalian sonnets; Phi Beta Kappa with curly pate and iambic feet; has been known to devote entire summer session to the scribbling of sugary sagas of rustling leaves, bashful young loves, and ivy infested nooks bathed in the cooling balm of panting twilights; loves to quote, and will if you aren’t careful, the works of her adored masters—Shelley, Keats, Poe, Bishop; a study in freckles and free verse; fire-breathing champion of the “Ring Out, Sweet Ranger” movement: / Raving, Raving, Raving for lost Lenore, / Croak the critics, “Nevermore!”

The 1935 and ’36 yearbooks have her as a regular contributor to The Texas Ranger, the campus humor magazine. From there, the trail goes cold for a while.

Following the publication of Always Comes Evening in 1957, Preece got into contact with Glenn Lord. She and her brother shared information, letters, and items from The Junto, much of which appeared in The Howard Collector.

The Social Security Death Index has Honey L. Preece of Austin, Texas, dying on December 7, 1998.

While waiting for proof copies of the forthcoming Lone Scout of Letters to arrive, I’ve been adding notes here and there where appropriate. While doing this, I came upon the following, from Herbert Klatt’s March 9, 1926 letter to Clyde Smith:

I read all the Collegian except some of the news proper—athletics—so I have not missed anything by Robert Arselle and Kerry Maynell. Of material in the Collegian, I like “White Haired Shadows” best, though that is not poetry proper. “Reincarnation” is not so bad. I can imagine Bob reciting it.

That sparked my interest, so I went looking through the Smith-edited issues of the Daniel Baker Collegian (copies acquired from the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University). I found what I was looking for in the February 12, 1926 issue:

Re-Incarnation
By Robert Arselle

I have drank from the cup
And seen the flares of dawn;
I have lived in hell
And known the devil’s spawn.
Down through the ages long,
I have danced on the brinks of death;
Fate has had its fling
With the scars of the mammon breath.
From out of the distant past,
When time and God began,
I have crawled in the muck of the devil’s deeds
And felt the evil hand
That leads us on to a reckless end
And guards the lonely tombs of men.
If you will come with me to delve
Far back in the hidden past,
I will show you life since Time began
To play with the sands of chance.
For I have known a million kings
Who have lived with greed and lust,
And billions of others who have clutched
At vile perdition’s dust.
Since the age, when years ago,
I called the trees my home,
Down through the years when progress loomed
And we lashed the ocean’s foam.
Far happier in the primitive
Than in the years ahead,
When life changed to nothing
Else but the devil’s tread.
Numb we were in a modern sense,
And life and love were strange,
But down to the depths of our brutish hearts
Until the years of change
We had gained the heights of Paradise;
And we knew more of God
Than in the bloody years when chance
Forced us to rule the sod.
Since those mad years when first we groped
In a land else than our birth,
We have ever known the evil hiss
That has rocked the world in mirth.
Laughter harsh as the sibilant wind
That slashes the frozen waste
And carries us down to the pits of death
That we may know the taste
That follows on the sharpened tart
Bitterness brings to the human heart.
So for years I have fought and died
Only to live again.
I have seen the blades of blood mad hordes
Crash in the battle din.
I have known all the fields of carnage
From Troy and Ancient Gaul;
Concord, Waterloo, St. Michael,
I have seen through the blazing maul.
Here with broadsword and armor,
Hacking my way through the fight,
There on a foaming charger,
Riding like hell through the night.
Thus I have wooed destruction,
And insidious havoc wrought;
I have gazed on the beds of slaughter
That the crowns of kings have brought.
I have dared the golden harems
Of the ancient Persian line,
I have known the suns of Carthage
And I’ve drank the Aztec wine.
I have lived with keen enjoyment
In the company of sheiks,
And I’ve scaled with dissoluteness
Debauchery’s highest peak.
I’ve known the whole world in my time,
Its sordidness and shame;
In the years that I have lived,
I’ve snatched my lot of fame.
Under the banners of Tamerlane
I’ve met defeat and death,
So life will always be for me
Until the final breath
Dies in the throat of father time,
Who, with glazing eyes,
Cast up to crimson heavens,
Gasps, struggles, and dies.

I’ll have to agree with Klatt.

Some time in the summer of 1929, probably around the time his friend Clyde Smith graduated from college, Robert E. Howard moved to Brownwood. According to Smith’s “Adventurer in Pulp,” Howard spent “several months” in the town while “he worked at his writing.” Since you don’t need to write letters to someone who lives in the same town, there are no letters from Howard to Smith from late-July until late-December 1929, when Howard wrote that he was back “doing business at the old stand” in Cross Plains.

During this period there are a few items from the Cross Plains Review that help to pinpoint the time that Howard lived in Brownwood. An August 9th report states that “Lindsey Tyson visited with Robert Howard, at Brownwood, the past week-end,” and another on November 1, “Robert Howard returned to Brownwood Monday after spending several days with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. I. M. Howard, here.”

While there are no letters to Smith from this period, at least one letter, to Thrills of the Jungle Magazine, survives. The letter is addressed “816 Melwood Ave., Brownwood, Texas.” The same address appears at the top of the typescript for “The Voice of the Mob”; clearly this is where Howard roomed in 1929.

As with the other Howard locations in Brownwood, nothing of the Melwood address remains. In 2010, the back portion of the Quality Body Works shop (top) occupied the location of Howard’s former rooming house. In Howard’s time, Austin Avenue did not go through; it terminated one block east at Booker Street. When Austin was widened and converted into a major thoroughfare, the home was destroyed. While doing some research on one of Clyde Smith’s former girlfriends, Gladys Brannan, I discovered that she had spent some time in the boarding house at 816 Melwood Avenue in 1923. This sparked my curiosity. What follows is more than anyone needs to know about 816 Melwood Avenue.

The Prism (Howard Payne’s student newspaper before Yellow Jacket): December 1, 1916

Brownwood Bulletin: March 8, 1918
I SHALL BE in Brownwood several days during which I must sell my new strictly modern 2-story residence, 816 Melwood Ave. To induce a quick sale I will take $600 less for the property than the price for which I have heretofore been offering it. Phone R-884.—A. E. Baten.

Brownwood Bulletin: March 27, 1918
B.Y.P.U. Social
Saturday the B.Y.P.U. of the First Baptist church enjoyed a social evening at the home of Mrs. D. L. McDurmitt, 816 Melwood Avenue.
The affair was in the nature of a welcome to the new members and a “get together” of the old members. A few visitors were welcomed guests. Pleasant indoor as well as outdoor games were planned for entertainment and the entire evening was one of pleasure. A short business session was held, as is the custom at the monthly meetings. Ice cream and cake gave refreshment to about fifty.

Brownwood Bulletin: May 23, 1918
FOR RENT—Nicely furnished, cool comfortable bed rooms; references. Apply 816 Melwood Avenue. Phone R-998.

Brownwood Bulletin: March 5, 1919
MOVING DAY.
When somebody decides to move in Brown wood, something is usually started. Here is an illustration:
J. T. Allen has purchased the home at 816 Melwood Avenue, formerly occupied by Dr. R. L. Howell and family. When he got ready to move in Dr. Howell had to move out, and here is what happened: W. A. Robertson and family moved to the former Allen residence,
702 Coggin. Prof. T. H. Taylor and family moved into the house formerly occupied by Mr. Robertson at 1008 Fisk Avenue. That gave Dr. Howell his chance, and he moved to the home formerly occupied by Prof. Taylor, at 1419 Coggin Avenue.

Brownwood Bulletin: February 27, 1920
FOR RENT—one nicely furnished room, and two unfurnished rooms; all upstairs. 816 Melwood Avenue, phone J-623.

Brownwood Bulletin: February 25, 1921
FOR RENT—Three furnished bed rooms and sleeping porch with wide hall, front and back porch, all modern conveniences, upstairs. Can be used for light housekeeping. 816 Melwood Ave. Phone J-623.

1921 City Directory:
Latta, Ollie P, clk Adams Cash & Carry Grocery, rms 816 Melwood av
Patterson, Hellene Miss, student, h 816 Melwood av
Patterson, John P, student Howard Payne College, h 816 Melwood av
Patterson, John W (Fannie M), r 816 Melwood av

1923 City Directory
Pattersons still there, Helene at Howard Payne
Boatright, Roy W (Jessie) clk Adams Cash & Carry Grocery rms 816 Melwood av
Brannan, Gladys O student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av
Brannon, Joy Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Craven, Burnice Mrs student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av
Cravens, Henderson L (Burnice) student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av

Brownwood Bulletin: December 22, 1923
CHRISTMAS TREES—50 cents and 75 cts, come and get them.—816 Melwood Avenue. Phone J-623.

Brownwood Bulletin: August 25, 1924
FOR RENT—Three furnished apartments and one unfurnished apartment; each with glassed-in sleeping porch. Will consider renting my fourteen room house. Well located.
816 Melwood; Phone J-623.

1925 City Directory
Pattersons still there
Brown, Gladys Miss student r816 Melwood av
Burson, Chester clk Mallow’s Drug Store rms 816 Melwood
Harris, Hattie Miss sten J M Radford Grocery Co rms 816 Melwood av
McFadden, Henry C truck driver McCullough Gro Co rms 816 Melwood av
Parker, Mary S Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Severe, Ed (Nellie) rms 816 Melwood av
Smith, Mary Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Tanner, Leonard student rms 816 Melwood av
–Under “Boarding Houses” and “Furnished Rooms”: Patterson J W 816 Melwood av

Brownwood Bulletin: January 1, 1926
Personal Mention
Mr. and Mrs. Paul S. Byrom of Whitney are here on their wedding trip and are guests of Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Byrom, 816 Melwood Ave.

Brownwood Bulletin: September 14, 1926
WANTED—Roomers and boarders. Excellent meals. nicely furnished rooms.—816 Melwood Avenue. Phone 1022.

1928 City Directory
Alexander, Forrest student Howard Payne College r816 Melwood av
Allen, Eltie J lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Farmer, Roy C (Mary L) oil driller r816 Melwood av
Jaynes, Clyde T (Jettie L) reprmn Top Wheel & Body Wks r816 Melwood av
Linton, Arth G oil driller 816 Melwood av
Peters, Edith Mrs. furn rms 816 Melwood av r do
Rice, Walter H formn Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Schupp, Norman J lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Westbrook, Virgil lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
–Uder “Furnished Rooms”: Peters Edith Mrs. 816 Melwood av

1929-30 City Directory
Alton, Frank lino opr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Binnion, J Ernest printer Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Burton, Jesse B driller r816 Melwood av
Cox, Marvin A lino opr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Cross, C Patk r816 Melwood av
Haines, Jack granite clk Brownwood Marble & Granite Wks r816 Melwood av
Howlett, J Knox r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Bernard appr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Mertie E (wid John E) h816 Melwood av
Keeler, Norma Miss r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Wilma E Miss student r816 Melwood av
McIntire, Thos W driller r816 Melwood av
Russell, Roy eng r816 Melwood av

In a letter to H.P. Lovecraft, circa January 1934, Howard was educating the Gentleman from Providence on the ways of the west:

Of course, this rule works both ways. Men have been killed in the country in which they were born and raised, because they either could not or would not change their ways and adapt themselves to changing conditions. Sheriff Bill Tilghman met his death in that manner. He was the best law officer Oklahoma and Kansas ever had, to my mind. He killed only as a last resort. It was he who captured the famous Bill Doolin; and the outlaw admired him so much that he once prevented one of his men (Red Buck, or Weightman, a cold-blooded murderer) from shooting Tilghman in the back, when they had the drop on him. In 1924, when Tilghman was an old man, he accepted the job of marshal in an oil-boom town in Oklahoma, though warned by his friends that he was up against a brand of criminal he did not understand — the modern gangster rat. There was a Federal prohibition enforcement agent drunk and raising hell up and down the streets, and Tilghman, after urging him to go away quietly, arrested him bare-handed; and then, after disarming him, made the mistake of turning his back on him; the Federal officer, having gotten his training in civilization, drew another gun he had concealed, and shot Tilghman in the back. I often think of that contrast: Doolin, the outlaw, the bandit, robber, and killer, striking down Red Buck’s rifle, and exclaiming: “Would you shoot a brave man in the back?” And the civilized officer, himself sworn to uphold the law, shooting down an old man from behind with no more warning than a copperhead.

Howard’s Texas was populated with good men, bad men and some that were a bit of both. Two-Gun Bob was spot on with his account of the old time criminal versus the modern day bad man, but he somewhat embellished the death of Tilghman to make his point. But he did get the incident with Doolin right.

William Doolin was Arkansas-born; sometime in 1858 (the exact date is unknown). He was born on a homestead near the Big Piney River approximately thirty-five miles northeast of Clarksville.

Doolin’s father, Michael “Mack” Doolin was a sharecropper, raising three daughters and one son after death of his first wife in 1850. He soon married thirty-six-year-old Artemina Beller, and son William was born in 1858, followed by a daughter named Tennessee in 1859. William stayed near the family homestead until he turned 23 when he left to seek his fortune.

Looking for work, he went west in 1881 to Oklahoma and was hired as a cowhand by Oscar D. Halsell to work on his huge ranch. Halsell took a liking to the young man, taught him to write and do simple arithmetic and eventually made him an informal foreman on the ranch. Doolin worked for several other ranchers in the next decade and he was widely considered trustworthy and capable.

Doolin’s first run-in with the law came in the summer of 1891 while working as a cowpuncher on the Bar X Bar Ranch. Several of the cowhands, including Doolin, thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the 4th of July holiday by riding into Coffeyville, Kansas and throwing a party. The group was enjoying a keg of beer when the law showed up. Kansas was a dry state. When the lawmen tried to confiscate the beer, there was a shoot-out, resulting in two officers being wounded. From that day on Doolin was a wanted man. During this period, Doolin and his friends rode with the Dalton Gang from time to time. Doolin also held something of a Robin Hood image. He was well liked by many, and he and his gang received considerable aid in eluding the law.

Doolin went on to form “The Wild Bunch,” which was also known as the “Doolin–Dalton Gang” or the “Oklahombres.” In addition to Doolin, other members of the gang included George “Bittercreek” Newcomb (aka “Slaughter Kid”), Charley Pierce, Oliver “Ol” Yantis, William Marion “Bill” Dalton, William “Tulsa Jack” Blake, Dan “Dynamite Dick” Clifton, Roy Daugherty (a.k.a. “Arkansas Tom Jones”), George “Red Buck” Waightman, Richard “Little Dick” West, and William F. “Little Bill” Raidler.

The origin of Doolin’s gang came about after a botched train robbery carried out by the Dalton Gang in Adair, Oklahoma Territory. The crime occurred on July 15, 1892, resulting in the death of two guards and the wounding of two townspeople. One of the townspeople died the following day. Bob Dalton decided to split the gang before going on the run, telling Doolin, Newcomb, and Pierce to return to their hideout in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory. It was a lucky break for the trio because on October 5, 1892, the Dalton Gang would be wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas.

On that fateful October morning, five members of the Dalton Gang (Grat Dalton, Emmett Dalton, Bob Dalton, Bill Power and Dick Broadwell) rode into the small town of Coffeyville. The Daltons had a bold objective in mind – to rob two banks simultaneously

But problems plagued the outlaws from the outset of their plan for financial security. A hitching post where they intended to tie their horses had been removed due to road repairs. The gang was forced to hitch their horses in a nearby alley — a fateful decision. Also, since Coffeyville was the Dalton’s hometown, two of the Daltons wore false beards and wigs. Of course, the locals quickly saw through the disguises — the gang was recognized as they crossed the town’s wide plaza, split up and entered the two banks.

Read the rest of this entry »

This entry filed under H. P. Lovecraft, Howard's Texas.