Happy Birthday REH! Essay

It was 105 years ago today that Hester Ervin Howard gave birth to a son, Robert Ervin Howard in the small town of Peaster, Texas.  Dr. Howard had moved Hester from the rural community of Dark Valley, located in nearby Palo Pinto County to the larger town to give birth. 

Located in Parker County, the community is situated nine miles northwest of the county seat of Weatherford. H. H. Peaster, the town’s namesake, moved from Georgia to Texas in the 1870s, bought land and promptly built a house. Originally called Freemont, the community underwent a change of name (to Peasterville) in the mid 1880s. Sometime later the “ville” suffix was dropped. The population reached 100 in the 1890s, growing to 300 residents in the mid 1920s. The Great Depression left Peaster with just a third of the 1920s population.

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Dr. J. A. Williams delivered Robert and completed his official birth record, making an error regarding the date. Dr. Williams entered the date as January 24, 1906 instead of January 22, 1906. I posted a detailed account on this discrepecy last January.

A group of die-hard Howard fans will trek to Cross Plains today to celebrate Howard’s birth. There will be cake and ice cream at the Howard House, and showings of the Solomon Kane movie and the “Pigeons from Hell” Thriller episode at the Cross Plains Public Library. While many of us won’t make it, we can nonetheless remember his birthday with a toast to his life and a reading of our favorite Howard yarn.

Happy Birthday, Two-Gun!

Update: James Reasoner, one of the attendees at yesterday’s soiree  in Cross Plains, posted a report on the event at his Rough Edges blog.

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