Founded in a pine forest on the East Texas frontier, Carthage assumed the name of one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Although Carthage, Texas, did not become a bustling metropolis, the community has enjoyed a long history as the type of stable town that forms the backbone of America. For more than a century and a half, residents have played roles--at times prominently--in the historical and cultural life of Texas and the nation. Carthage has produced decorated war heroes, internationally famous country music stars, a noted American historian, and a groundbreaking political figure. As the home of Tex Ritter, Gentleman Jim Reeves, Linda Davis, and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, the community has become a country music mainstay. Beyond its celebrities, however, Carthage has most importantly produced generation after generation of patriotic and hard-working men and women.
Bill O'Neal has taught history at Panola College in Carthage since 1970. He is the author of more than 30 books, and in 2007 was selected as True West Magazine's best living nonfiction writer.