Written by Stephen Dueboay, the Impulsive Texan
I spent a few days wondering just what the heck I was going to write about Thanksgiving. I mean, there have been ump-teen (Texas word for many, numerous, lots…) stories on Turkey and Dressing, the Pilgrims, Pumpkin Pie and all sorts of other stories that give homage to the holiday.
It suddenly came upon me that there may be “side stories” to some of the main characters of this, my most beloved holiday. The first one that came to mind of course was the turkey. And for what ever reason, the town of Turkey, Texas entered my mind.
And to answer your first question, yes, it is indeed a real town here in Texas. But what some may not know is that an icon of the music industry was from that Panhandle Hamlet.
It was originally called “Turkey Roost” for Turkey Creek and the roosting turkeys there when settlers began arriving in the 1890s. The name was shortened when the post office (the dug-out of Alfred P. Hall, postmaster) was granted in 1893.
The town plat was recorded in 1907 and in 1927, the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad arrived. The Turkey Volunteer Fire Department was organized in February of 1928 after two disastrous fires destroyed most of downtown Turkey. Major crops are cotton, watermelons, peanuts, and sweet potatoes.
Turkey is best known as the home of Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing. Wills was a barber in Turkey during the 1920s. In his biography Hubbin’ It, Wills said that the lotions and soft-work of barbering kept his fingers pliable for playing the fiddle. It was a trade that many musicians shared, since the day work of barbering never interfered with dances and holiday celebrations.
Wills formed the Texas Playboys band and their music introduced a new offshoot of county-western music known as “Western Swing.”
The former Turkey school buildings were purchased by The Bob Wills Foundation and city offices, the library, a senior citizens room, and the Bob Wills Museum are located in the former grade school building. The Foundation has built a Bob Wills monument and Bob Wills Park.
And now you know the story of Turkey, Texas. I have on my bucket list to visit there one day since I am a big time western swing fan. I can still see my mother scootin’ across the floor of our house singing along to “Rose of San Antone”…ah yes, the good old days.
I pray that all of you had a fantastic “Turkey” Day or Thanksgiving, ate lots of turkey and dressing and made sure you had the couch all ready for the afternoon nap.