Heritage, 2011, Volume 3 Page: 21
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Cherry: My readers are primarily people
who live in Galveston, on the Gulf Coast,
and those who otherwise have a connection
with the island.
Herring: My blog attracts an interna-
tional audience; in its first year I've had
around 100,000 page views. The columns
in the Kerrville Daily Times attract a
local audience of Kerrville residents, many
of whom are retirees from other areas.
Craddock: The column's readers run the
gamut. Many are from other states but
enjoy learning about East Texas' colorful
history. Those from the Piney Woods say
they like to learn the local history that isn't
included in history books.
Gonzales: My readers are mostly
Houstonians. Some have moved away, and
others are new residents looking to learn
more about the city.
TH: What types of Texas history sto-
ries appeal to your readers? How do
you find topics to write about? What
topics do you like to write about?
Cherry: My stories, mainly, are about
those who lived in Galveston throughout its
history, and usually end with a lesson that
was learned as a result of their experiences.
Herring: I particularly like finding new
information about the Hill Country that
questions long-held beliefs about our area.
For instance, my research suggests James
Kerr, for whom Kerrville and Kerr County
are named, pronounced his name "Karr. "
If so, Kerrville should be pronounced
Craddock: My readers seem to enjoy the
columns about the personalities who devel-
oped this part of the state. As for research,
there's plenty of information online but so
much of it is questionable. I spend a lot of
time in the library or perusing old newspa-
pers and probably enjoy the research more
than actually putting the weekly column
Gonzales: I, too, like resurrecting news
stories that have long been forgotten. That
usually involves browsing the microfilm.
Lots of times I'll come across something that
will sidetrack me and give me a new sub-
ject to write about. Most readers like stories
that appeal to their childhood. Articles
about a mall, event, or local celebrity from
back then will usually get the comments
TH: How does your work differ from
that of academic historians?
Cherry: Most of the stories that I write are
ones I heard from a reliable source. I verify
what they remember by checking with oth-
ers who likely know or have family mem-
bers who can confirm the story. I also do my
best to check the information through
sources at the Galveston and Texas History
Collection at the Rosenberg Library. I rarely
cite sources, though.
Herring: I am not a trained historian. My
job is to educate and entertain. Also, with
an 800-word limit, I can only focus on one
tiny fragment of a story at a time.
Craddock: I'm no academician, that's for
sure. More properly Dn an amateur histo-
rian who enjoys digging up facts and shar-
ing them with readers. Dates are impor-
tant, but I want to make the subjects' per-
sonalities come alive. I'll publish legends if
it makes the column more interesting, but
Iin always honest with the readers, and let
them know that the story is a legend.
Gonzales: I like to say that Dn not a his-
torian, just someone who is enthusiastic
about history. I don't claim to know every-
thing about Houston...Academic historians
and the work that they do serve as a
resource to me.
TH: Talk about reader feedback. What
sort of questions do you get asked?
Cherry: I have always gotten an enormous
amount of positive feedback. Most readers
seem to find a way to personally relate to a
When I was a child, my par-
ents, grandparents, and old
timers told me stories. When
I got older, I realized that
most of these stories...were
not written down...I began
documenting these stories...
so that they would be in a
place where future historians
could find them.-Bill Cherry
story, and they want to talk about it. My
book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories,
sold thousands, and copies are in demand.
Herring: My blog attracts hundreds of
comments a month. My main job is run-
ning a print shop. About 5-10 readers a
week will stop by my business each week
with a particular question, or to give me
some Hill Country artifact. Their ques-
tions range from "How did Medina, Texas,
get its name?" to "Where was the Christian
Craddock: It's interesting. I'll write what
I consider to be a pretty good column and
maybe not hear a peep from readers. The
next week I may have more reaction.
I once wrote a column about Longview's
1919 race riot, a sad event that no one
talked about for decades. The day the col-
umn came out, I got a phone call from a
woman who thanked me. She said that as
a small child in 1919 her parents hid her
in their attic when gunfire broke out. She
never knew any details about the riot until
my column appeared many years later.
Hearing from people like her makes writ-
ing the column worthwhile.
Gonzales: Readers sometimes try to get me
to settle arguments about Houston's history.
They want to know the exact name of a
shopping center or when a certain event
occurred. They are appreciative of what I'm
doing and enjoy the chance to reminisce.
Volume 3 20 1 1 I TEXAS HERITAGE 21
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 3, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254222/m1/21/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.