Museum Notes 7-4-2019

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MUSEUM NOTES: July 4, 2019


Currently showing until July 31st is the Humanities Texas temporary exhibit, "Rural Texas Women at Work, 1930-1960." The pictorial exhibit pays tribute to the rural housewives and working women during the Great Depression, World War II, and on into the 1960s. One of the Canadian ladies I chose to display with this exhibit is Maxine Cockrell Wilson Johnson.

Maxine was one of 15 children born to sharecroppers George and Native American Lula Cockrell. In 1935, H.E. Hoover, owner of the ranch the Cockrell’s lived on, pulled strings to get Maxine a job at the Harvey House in Canadian when she was 16 years old. She worked and lived at the Sante Fe Reading Room while employed at the Harvey House. Employee rules stated that only the manager and cook were allowed to be married and all other employees were not allowed to date. However, Maxine and a local cowboy, Harold Wilson, fell in love and secretly courted. He would ride in from Ben Mathers Ranch and they would meet at the County Courthouse lawn. They soon married, but wanted to keep it secret so she could continue to work. However, after only three months, they publically announced their marriage. They had one son, Elven “Speck” Wilson.

In 1955, Maxine moved to Amarillo and later worked as a Licensed Vocational Nurse for more than 10 years at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo. This brief history of Maxine was gathered from a letter Speck Wilson wrote and a questionnaire Maxine filled out herself about her time as a Harvey Girl. Both of these documents were located on the Portal to Texas History.

To learn more about other Canadian women at work, come visit before July 31st. Admission to the museum is FREE, donations are always welcomed.



Save the date: Saturday, July 20th, 4pm-5pm. Former Canadian resident and author, Ruth Rogers Beasley, will be discussing her latest edition, Memory Cups of the Texas Panhandle. This is a second edition of Millie Jones Porter’s 1945 book, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers. That Saturday is also Cruise Night. This event is free to the public, so no excuse not to be here! Memory Cups of the Texas Panhandle and The Jones Girls of Wheeler County are on sale at the museum gift shop now.


We have new items and books in our gift shop; each and every item relates directly to Hemphill County. Need a birthday gift for a child? We have plushy Wildcats, Longhorns, Armadillos, Foxes, and Wolves. We even have a musical galloping horse. We also have insulated tumblers for keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. We have a several prints and many history books ready for purchase. So, don’t forget about the museum gift shop the next time you’re looking for that “just right” gift.  


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