Don’t pick up that trashy beach novel just yet. Before you shift into shiftless mode for summer, one more mental activity awaits. Yes, it’s time to test your Lone Star literacy quotient as we return once again to those thrilling days of yester-Texas—specifically, the 74 years from early statehood all the way up through 1919, an era full of Yankees and rebels, cowboys and Indians, Sturm und Drang. At test’s— or wits’—end, give yourself four points for each correct answer, then refer to the scoring box to see how you rate on affairs of state.

1. If Texas had retained all the land it claimed before 1850, which of the following ski resorts would not be in the state today?

a. Taos
b. Telluride
c. Aspen
d. Angel Fire

2. Which of these statements about U.S. presidents is untrue?

a. Zachary Taylor commanded U.S. troops in Texas during the Mexican War.
b. Woodrow Wilson dined with Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa in El Paso.
c. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders trained in San Antonio.
d. Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison.

3. In 1859 Sam Houston was elected governor. Why didn’t he serve out his full term?

a. He became the vice president of the Confederacy.
b. He resigned in a fit of pique after being declared too old to fight in the Civil War.
c. He was kicked out for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy.
d. He choked to death on a mouthful of grits.

4. Today some 12 percent of Texans are African Americans. What was the percentage in 1860?

a. 2 percent
b. 12 percent
c. 20 percent
d. 30 percent

True or False:

5. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln’s name did not appear on the presidential ballot in Texas.
6. Neiman Marcus was founded in Waco in 1907.
7. Governor James Hogg named his only daughter Ima.
8. El Paso’s best-known bordello was called Fort Bliss.
9. The entire Texas A&M class of 1917 enlisted to fight in World War I.

10. Which of the following Texas tragedies is fictitious?

a. In 1862 Confederate soldiers killed 28 Germans who were Union sympathizers in the Battle of the Nueces.
b. In 1879 two English noblemen were fatally trampled by the buffalo they had set out to shoot.
c. In 1896 a train wreck staged as a publicity stunt went awry and killed three people.
d. In 1900 a hurricane destroyed most of Galveston and caused six thousand deaths.

11. What set Quanah Parker apart from other Comanche warriors?

a. His name meant “Coyote Droppings.”
b. His mother was a white woman.
c. He spoke French.
d. He didn’t eat meat.

Which came first:

12. a. the Houston Ship Channel b. the Galveston Seawall?
13. a. the King Ranch b. the XIT?
14. a. Wolf Brand Chili b. Shiner Beer?
15. a. Texas Ranger Sul Ross b. Texas Ranger Alex Rodriguez?

16. What did the U.S. Army import into Texas in the 1850’s for use as pack animals?

a. Elephants
b. Camels
c. Wombats
d. Water buffalo

17. What was the nickname of the Colt .45?

a. the Haymaker
b. the Widowmaker
c. the Peacemaker
d. the Meet-Your-Maker

18. Which of the following did not serve time in prison?

a. suffragist Minnie Fisher Cunningham
b. heavyweight champion Jack Johnson
c. short-story writer O. Henry
d. outlaw John Wesley Hardin

19. In 1883 the possession of what common item was liable to get you shot?

a. a Confederate battle flag
b. a comic book
c. nail clippers
d. wire cutters

Match the Texan with what he is best known for:

20. Bill Pickett a. ragtime music
21. Howard Hughes, Sr. b. unbranded cattle
22. Scott Joplin c. the rotary drill bit
23. Samuel Maverick d. being impeached
24. James E. Ferguson e. bulldogging

25. What was discovered in Corsicana in 1894?

a. oil
b. gold
c. a field of meteorites
d. fruitcake


1, b. 2, b. 3, c. 4, d. 5, T. 6, F. 7, T. 8, F. 9, T. 10, b. 11, b. 12, b. 13, a. 14, a. 15, a. 16, b. 17, c. 18, a. 19, d. 20, e. 21, c. 22, a. 23, b. 24, d. 25, a.

Lore Score

80-100: Native Texan or Long-term resident (LTR): You are a Texas sage (non-botanical variety). Transplant: To you, olden is golden. Your grasp of Texas history shows precious mettle.

60-76: Native or LTR: Real Texans don’t ace tests. Transplant: Thanks—we can use your contribution to the gene pool.

40-56: Native or LTR: You haven’t studied Texas history for years. And boy, can you let bygones be bygones! Transplant: You live in a daze of yore.

0-36: Native or LTR: Lie about your score, okay? Transplant: Remember that even Sam Houston was once the new kid on the block.