Notes and Documents
Remembering George Sessions Perry
TRUMAN MCMAHAN *
A WRITER FROM TEXAS, GEORGE SESSIONS PERRY WAS TASTING SUC-
cess in his chosen profession when I first met him and his wife
Claire in their Rockdale, Texas, home, but he gave no inkling that he
would try to add bronco-busting to his crafts.
Sales of his short stories and of his first two published novels, Walls
Rise Up (1939) and Hold Autumn in Your Hand (1941), allowed him to
buy a four-year-old, never-ridden horse that was to convince him to
stick to writing.
I had heard about plans for the horse and about the yearning for a
farm during my first visit in their two-story home earlier in 1941 and in
subsequent visits; and it was really no big surprise when I received a
letter from Claire on Scott and White Hospital stationery, Temple,
Texas: "He (George) stayed with it (the cayuse) seven jumps, but the
eighth got him. He's now in the hospital with a compound fracture of
the left upper arm and elbow."'
It wasn't that the six-foot-three-inch, 23o-pound George had never
ridden a horse before. In his preteens, he had gained notoriety in the
small Milam County town by riding a horse all over, like an Indian, that
is, half-naked, but he had never tried an unruly bronco before." The
mangled arm and elbow troubled him the rest of his life, even after an
arthritic back caused him greater pain that might have driven him into
mental instability late in his short life.;
* Truman McMahan is a retired newspaperman now living in Glidden, Texas, near
'Writers of letters mentioned are identified in the body of the article.
2Carmehta Sawyer to Truman McMahan, Apr, 1941, interview. Carmelita Sawyer, a news-
paperwoman, was a friend of Perry's since childhood.
3See Maxine Cousins Hairston's George Sessions Perry, Hz Life and Works (Austin. Jenkins Pub-
lishing Co., 1973), 58-61.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed May 6, 2016.