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14.Hell, women and horses, part 2: In Dorothy Scarborough’s classic novel, The Wind, a young woman from the East is driven to violence by the isolation and relentless wind of her rural West Texas home. 15.Renowned Texas pianist Van Cliburn’s real first name is Harvey. 16.In the 19th century, the state of Texas set aside 2 million acres of unattractive land of questionable value in West Texas called the Permanent University Fund, or PUF, to support the University of Texas through leases or sales. Oil was discovered there in 1923, when the Santa Rita wellnamed for the patron saint of hopeless causesstruck black gold. The PUF, which has since been expanded to benefit other state universities and medical institutions, has generated billions of dollars and turned into one of the largest university endowments in the world. 17.When entertainer Wilbert Lee O’Daniel ran for governor in 1938, using the Ten Commandments as his platform, critics pointed to Pappy’s past failure to pay the $1.75 poll tax and vote. “No politician in Texas is worth $1.75,” O’Daniel replied. He won. 18.Forget William Barret Travis and Davy Crockett. Texas historian and novelist Stephen Harrigan says Launcelot Smithers is his favorite Alamo defender. Smithers, a messenger, left the Alamo before the siege and lived. 19.Nineteen towns are named “Midway” in the Lone Star State. 20.Equally true in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries: A British lieutenant colonel who came to Texas during the Civil War reported that it was almost impossible to find infantrymen for the Confederacy here. “No Texan walks a yard if he can help it,” the Brit wrote. 21.In the early 1850s, the federal government laid out a series of forts to protect the frontier and settlers. One was Fort Phantom Hill, located close to what is now Abilene. An Army lieutenant, writing to his wife, called the desolate countryside “a barren waste unfit for human habitation. After the Civil War began, the federal troops abandoned the fort, and it burned down. According to widespread rumors, retreating soldiers set it afire so they would never have to return. 22.In 1917, after the main building at the state School of Mines and Metallurgy \(now the University construction began on a new campus. The wife of the college’s president had been reading an article about the country of Bhutanwhich inspired the college to model its architecture after buildings in that small, faraway Himalayan kingdom. 23.Houston is named for Sam Houston, and Austin for Stephen F. Austin. Nobody is sure about Dallas. When John Neely Bryan founded the town, he said he named it after a friend named Dallas. Only problemhe had several friends named Dallas. 24.Hell, women and horses, part 3: Robert G. Carter, an Army officer, found no suitable housing for himself and his wife at Fort Richardson in 1871. Accordingly, he erected some tents for the two of them. Mrs. Carter gave birth there in 1872, as a norther blew in and soldiers struggled to hold down the ropes so her tent wouldn’t blow away. 25.Texas politics has always been a mess. Consider 1838, when Sam Houston’s supporters didn’t want Mirabeau B. Lamar to succeed him as president of the Republic of Texas. They endorsed Peter W. Grayson, who then committed suicide. Next, they settled on James Collinsworth. Collinsworth died that summer when he fell into Galveston Bay and drowned. Not surprisingly, Lamar won the election. At Lamar’s inauguration in December 1839, evidently to show he had no hard feelings, Houston “appeared in colonial costume and gave a three-hour `Farewell Address.”‘ Lamar failed to show, and his secretary read his inaugural remarks. Commentator and author Ruth Pennebaker lives in Austin and blogs at . She thanks these friends, writers and historiansStephen Harrigan, Elizabeth Crook, H.W. Brands, Sherry Smith and Helen Andersas well as the Handbook of Texas Online and the Texas Almanac. MARCH 20, 2009 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9