Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Anson in Jones County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Cowboys' Christmas Ball

 
 
Cowboys' Christmas Ball Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 8, 2014
1. Cowboys' Christmas Ball Marker
Inscription.  In 1885, M.G. Rhodes hosted a wedding party and dance at his Star Hotel in Anson. One guest was Larry Chittenden, a salesman and writer visiting his uncle in Jones County. He was so inspired by the dance held that night for the cowboys and ladies that he composed a poem commemorating the occasion, “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball.” The poem, first printed in Anson’s Texas Western newspaper in 1890, also appeared in Chittenden’s 1893 poetry collection Ranch Verses. Over the years the poem was remembered and anthologized many times in print and song.
     In 1934, Lenora Barrett and Hybernia Grace revived the historic ball and its folklore. Their group performed during the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas and at the National Folk Festival in Washington, D.C. in 1938, when they danced on the White House lawn. As annual interest increased, the group copyrighted the event and named a board of directors for the Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball Association. A new venue, Pioneer Hall, was built in 1938-40 with help from the Work Projects Administration. The dance has been a three-day event since 1940, and the following
Front Entrance of Pioneer Hall image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 8, 2014
2. Front Entrance of Pioneer Hall
year Jenne Magagan’s mural in the Anson Post Office depicted the historic “Cowboy Dance.” Chittenden’s poem records real people and ranches of 1880s Jones County, along with observations of dress and customs which influence some of the formal rules and decorum of the ball today. Ladies must wear dresses and gentlemen must check their hats, and some attendees dress in period clothing. The event draws national and international visitors, while some participants are direct descendants of those immortalized in the poem. With such 19th century dances as the Grand March, Waltz, Cotton-Eye Joe, Polka, Virginia Reel and Schottische, this Anson tradition helps perpetuate an important aspect of life in frontier Texas.
 
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16003.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects series list.
 
Location. 32° 44.747′ N, 99° 53.539′ W. Marker is in Anson, Texas, in Jones County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Avenue G and 23rd Street, on the right when traveling south. Marker is attached to the Pioneer Hall building next
Pioneer Hall image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 8, 2014
3. Pioneer Hall
Located at northwest corner of Avenue G and 23rd Street
to the front entrance. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2300 Avenue G, Anson TX 79501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Presbyterian Church Building (approx. 0.7 miles away); Fort Phantom Hill C.S.A. / Texas Civil War Frontier Defense (approx. ¾ mile away); Anson Jones (approx. ¾ mile away); Jones County (approx. ¾ mile away); Jones County Courthouse (approx. ¾ mile away); Omar Burleson (approx. 0.8 miles away); Anson Opera House (approx. 0.8 miles away); First United Methodist Church of Anson (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anson.
 
Also see . . .  Cowboys' Christmas Ball. From the Texas State Historical Association's "Handbook of Texas Online". (Submitted on November 14, 2014.) 
 
View to North Along Avenue G image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 8, 2014
4. View to North Along Avenue G
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 14, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 622 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 14, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
Paid Advertisement
Sep. 19, 2020