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Dr. Bill O’Neal was greeted by Stephen Lane at a recent Lions Club meeting.

The Marshall Lions Club recently received a bit of history as they heard from Dr. Bill O’Neal who was Texas State Historian for 6 years.

The club met Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston, for a luncheon of chicken and beef fajitas and all the fixin’s’ that was served by Jose Tequila’s Catering. President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions.

Lion Robert asked Lion Charles Gillis to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the US and Texas flags led by Lion Tim Young. ”My Bonnie” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Alan Grantham, and accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed all to the meeting. Guests included Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane; Kevin Neu; B. J. Fletcher, guest of Lion Chris Horsley and Eric Neal, guest of Lion Heath Parker. Lion Patrick had a fun fact to share with the Club – On this day in 1789; George Washington was elected the first President of the United States. The count for the day in the Den is 33. The Thought for the Day is: “Every good-bye makes the next hello closer!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines and told a couple of jokes, bringing laughter to the meeting! He read several statements to the Club – the last one was “Why do we drive on a parkway, but park on driveway?” He Lion Chris told Lions that Lions Arnola Zabokrtsky and Lion Jimmie Van Norden both celebrated their birthdays on January 3. Lion Heath Parker and his wife Angela are new grandparents to baby boy Parker Seaton. Lion Chris appointed Lion Stacy Bowen to lead the club in our “Happy Song” to them in the key of “P” for Parker!

President Wood reminded Lions that we have a deadline on Jan. 29 to turn in our ads to the newspaper, and told the club to get those sales in.

President Wood called on Program Chair for January, Lion Chris Horsley to introduce the program, O’Neal, who has traveled tens of thousands of miles across the Lone Star State as an ambassador for Texas history. He is the author of more than 40 books. One of the most popular is “War in East Texas, the Regulator-Moderator War” which is the subject of his talk today. Bill has appeared on TV’s History Channel, TBS, the Learning Channel, CMT, A&E and the American Heroes Channel.

O’Neal taught history at Panola College for four decades and in 2013, Panola’s new dormitory was named “Bill O’Neal Hall.” That same year he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from his alma mater, Texas A&M University- Commerce.

O’Neal reported that most people have a grisly fascination with the Hatfield/McCoy feud, but the Regulator-Moderator war was Hatfield/McCoy on steroids! The altercation took place in Harrison and Shelby Counties, between 1840 and 1850, and was a period of civil lawlessness in East Texas. He gave a good account of what went on, telling about who killed who, and who took revenge. This was a time before Texas became independent.

O’Neal said the most prominent person killed in the Regulator-Moderator War was Robert Potter, Secretary of the navy during the Texas Revolution and Senator in the Republic of Texas. He was shot in 1842, close to his home on Caddo Lake; Potter’s Point. Some of the casualties on both sides, include (1840) George W. Rembert and Isaac Hughes shot by Moderators; (1841) Sheriff John B. Campbell, Daniel Minor and D. Morriss were killed by Regulators. Joseph Goodbread was shot by Charles Jackson, who was then assassinated. Mr. Lour and Mr. Bledsoe were shot during the fight with Regulators. Bill McFadden and John McFadden were hanged by the mob.

Squire Humphries was hanged by a Regulator posse.

In 1942, the aforementioned Robert Potter was shot by Regulator John Scott. Mr. Boatright, Tiger Jim Strickland and Farrar Metcalf were shot and Henry Strickland was hit on the head and died. In 1843, Samuel N. Hall was shot by Stanfield, who was then lynched by Regulators. Peter Whetstone, who gave the land for the Courthouse Square in Marshall, was shot by Regulator William Boulware.

In 1844, Judge John Hansford was killed by a Regulator posse, Henry Runnells was murdered by Moderator assassins and William Wells Williams was hanged by Regulators. James Hall was assassinated by Regulators and John Bradley was shot by Watt Moorman and Bill Hansbury was killed at Beauchamp’s, Capt. George Davidson and Mr. Kane were killed at Church Hill. Vardeman Duncan was shot by Moderators in a street fight.

In 1847, in retribution, an entire wedding party was poisoned by Moderators and the last, Watt Moorman was shotgunned by Dr. Burns in 1850.

History just rolls off O’Neal’s tongue and he brought the little-known war alive for Lions.

President Robert Wood presented the Dr. O’Neal with a Lions writing pen and thanked him for a very entertaining and informative program and suggested that he could write a new book with it! President Wood accepted two applications for membership to Marshall Lions Club: Eric Neal and B. J. Fletcher. He then adjourned the meeting.