Hello to All:
It has been a quiet week out here. The back of winter may be broken now.
We have all enjoyed a nice week of mild temperatures. Last Sunday, Judy and I took Mary Sykes on a little drive. We went by the cemetery on W 67. Mrs. Sykes family has a large section of family and extended family. We walked by Bill Sykes resting place. He was a pilot in WW II and flew the “Burma Hump” That was a small group that did a lot. In her house there is a display of several of his caps, medals, photos and other memorabilia. Then we passed by a tombstone with the name “David Wendell Guion”. We inquired who he was. He was Mary’s mothers sisters son, a first cousin. She mentioned that he was a musician and wrote the popular version of “Home on the Range”. That is impressive, so when I got home I did some research.
He was born in Ballinger on Dec 15, 1892. We share the Dec. 15th birthday. David learned to play the piano at an early age. He was sent by train each Saturday to San Angelo for piano lessons under Charles Finger. In the fall of 1907 he was a student at the Wipple Academy in Jacksonville, IL. Then he studied at Ft Worth Polytechnic College , now Texas Wesleyan University. He then went to Vienna where he studied as the Imperial Academy of Music with Leopold Godowsky. In 1914 David returned to Texas to teach piano at Daniel Baker College, now Howard Payne in Brownwood.
At the Roxy Theater in New York City David starred in the cowboy show, Prairie Echoes where he introduced his version of “Home on the Range” .
David had a long musical career and wrote many songs about the west and was very popular. His “My Cowboy Love-Song” was the theme of the Cavalcade of Texas that ran for six months as part of the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. David passed on while in Dallas on October 17, 1981.
So, a plain tombstone revealed a wonderful story about how a “local boy made good” He was a prolific writer and I will be looking up some of his other compositions. I am sorry that I didn’t learn of him until just now.
So it goes in our quiet little corner of Coleman County.