Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly
Webb was not a hypocrite, that he was not afraid to speak his mind at
the risk of insulting others, and that he was not bound for hell in a
hemlock coffin because of what he had said at the lecture.
Another of my close Ozona friends at the time was Houston Smith, a
graduate of the University of Texas Law School and county judge. He
and I were among the three or four people in the entire county who
subscribed to Time Magazine and therefore were the local authorities on
the world at large. Most everyone else depended upon the Ozona Stock-
man and Reader's Digest for their intellectual fodder. As Houston and I
walked out of the Methodist Church that Sunday, he turned to me and
chuckled: "Well, Gene, it looks as if your professor sure played hell in
this town, didn't he?"
Walter Prescott Webb Reminiscence
My first knowledge of Dr. Walter Webb came hundreds of miles from
Austin at The Women's College of the University of North Carolina in
Greensboro, where I had taken a job after being demobilized from the
U.S. Navy at the end of World War II. Having decided to study history
to try to understand what had caused that terrible conflict, I enrolled in
a course taught by Vera Largent, who had known Dr. Webb at the Uni-
versity of Chicago. Her recommendation, plus my desire to return
home, led me to the University of Texas, where I enrolled in Webb's
famous course on the Great Plains. That experience was a wonderful
and exciting introduction to history that was not only meaningful to me
within my own experience but dealt with a vast area of the West close to
Austin and Central Texas.
After completing the course, I was walking down the crowded cor-
ridor of Garrison Hall en route to class one day when Dr. Webb rushed
out of his office, approached me and said, "Would you read for me
next semester?" Not quite sure what that meant but pleased to be asked,
I agreed on the spot.
Thus began a long and wonderful association with one of the kindest
men I have known and one of the most honest and perceptive minds. It
was my privilege to grade for him the entire time that I was at the Uni-
*Emmie Craddock is a former professor of history at Southwest Texas State Umniversity and
former mayor ot San Marcos, Texas.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed May 25, 2015.