Abilene Author Tells Scottish Stories of West Texas in New Book

As Texans of Scottish descent observe National Tartan Day, a celebration of Scottish history and culture, on April 6, a new book tells the stories of Scottish West Texans.

As Texans of Scottish descent observe National Tartan Day, a celebration of Scottish history and culture, on April 6, a new book tells the stories of Scottish West Texans.

In "The Line from Here to There: A Storyteller’s Scottish West Texas," author Rosanna Taylor Herndon has collected 18 stories that cover several generations of Scottish West Texans. The book, published by Texas Tech University Press, is scheduled for release this month.

"The early Scottish West Texans are the real reason for these stories," says Herndon, a national award-winning storyteller and performer. "I wanted others to know them. Their unpretentious lives marked a clear path for me and for generations to come."

National Tartan Day celebrates the creation of the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland declaration of independence from England, in 1320.

In the United States there are more than 30 million people who are Scottish descendants. According to the Texas Scottish Heritage Society webpage (www.TxScot.com), Scottish Americans have made a significant contribution to the State of Texas, with half of the counties in Texas named for persons of Scottish ancestry (Houston, Dallas, and Austin are all Scottish names). Some of the leaders who battled for Texas’ independence were of Scottish ancestry, including Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and James Bowie.

Herndon, who has been telling stories to audiences for more than a quarter of a century, had her first audiotapes released in the mid-1990s, at which time her daughter began urging her to write down her stories. Through her own family tales, Herndon began to study how such stories contribute to listeners’ concepts of self and family, what they reveal about communication patterns within families, and how they reflect who we are and who we wish to become.

Some are tales of Herndon’s own ancestors; others are of extended family and friends. They tell of life experiences that measured character and produced a distinctive toughness of spirit. Others are personal narratives of more recent history but also regional, reflecting a culture peculiar to the southwestern United States and specifically Herndon’s own West Texas.

A professor emeritus of communication at Hardin-Simmons University, Herndon also is a charter member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and founder of the Mesquite Storytellers of Abilene. She has been a featured storyteller and workshop presenter at festivals across the United States, including the National Storytelling Festival. She lives in Abilene, Texas.

For more information or a review copy of the book, contact Barbara Brannon, marketing manager, Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982 or via e-mail at barbara.brannon@ttu.edu. Details about the book are available online at http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/BookPages/9780896726307.html.