Rita Ownby Holcomb Author

Bringing my ancestors to life.

In honor of this books third birthday I am offering Justice Unbalanced for FREE on Kindle from 1:00 AM on September 3rd through midnight September 7th.

Grab your copy on Friday to enjoy over the long Labor Day Weekend.

Tice McCoy carries within him the heart of a true cowboy – vulnerable, devoted, and trusting to a fault. The ruggedly handsome Tice has lived a lifetime going from one broken relationship to another. After a string of failed marriages, he meets Sioux Sampsel, an intoxicating beauty, a woman Tice is certain shares his same vision of a happily ever after love.  When this relationship also fails, Tice finds himself alone once again. To offset his loneliness, he embarks on a spiral of unhealthy hookups that leave him lonelier than ever. Fate would take him away from this world of empty liaisons and lead him into the arms of beautiful Catherine “Cat” Brown, a feisty ranch owner, who shows Tice that true love really exists.

Get your kindle download here

Every once in a while past endeavors come back to haunt us. Usually they are things we choose not to remember. But occasionally the memories can be not only pleasant but absolutely joyous. Today’s email brought me that joy.

For all of the 80’s and early 90’s I made handcrafted artisan miniatures and travelled to several shows each year. I had to quit in the 90’s when my hands would no longer allow me to do the delicate work.

I’ve missed my friends and many customers but moved on to other pursuits. But this morning I received the following email which boosted my mood and literally made my week.

Hi, Rita,
I’ve been digging around for a path to contact you. If you are the miniature maker from years ago, I wanted to find out if you still had any interesting pieces around.
I must have purchased a piece that you made back in the 1980s or 1990s, and I just wanted to see if you still had some items available.
I stopped collecting a few years ago and sold off almost my entire collection. I kept one piece of yours, and I want to use it in a shadow box.
Please let me know if you still have some pieces to sell.
Thank you!

I responded with a thank you and regrets that I have sold all my stock and am no longer working. Her answer back almost made me cry with pride.

Your work was some of the most exquisite miniature work that I owned. It is impossible to find anything like it today, and I regret selling any of the other pieces I had. I think I might have had a bench and perhaps a chair, but my memory is gone and unless it’s in front of me, it’s so hard to remember.

This piece is unbelievable, with all moving drawers. I love the functionality and the color and its entire delicate nature.
I’m sorry you are no longer creating these incredible pieces. Your talent is truly a gift.
Thank you for bringing this joy into my life on a daily basis.


The Hendricks House, built in about 1863 on land given Jesse Elvis Hendricks by his father John, was built near the Shannon church northeast of Sherman. It originally was a one-room cabin with a loft, but Hendricks and his wife, Susan, added several rooms making it two stories in about 1870. The original cabin was moved to the village in 1978 and restored. However, only the downstairs rooms could be salvaged.

After serving five terms of enlistment in the Continental Army, Albert settled in Rockingham County. In 1845 John Hendrix, who had changed the spelling of the family name to Hendrix, the original Dutch form, headed for Texas partly due to the influence of his wife, Ruth’s cousins, James B. and Thomas Jefferson Shannon. John had married Ruth Strader and with their children and the seven other families, they arrived in Texas.

The wagon train with the Hendrix, Jennings and Collingsworth families were two days from Colbert’s Ferry when they heard the cannonading from Old Fort Washita celebrating Texas joining the United States.

On Jan. 3 the wagon train camped on a site four miles northeast of the present site of Sherman. Next morning, John discovered that one of his horses had thrown a shoe. The others moved on out and he stayed to shoe the horse. The Hendrix family never left the site. A large boulder in the family cemetery marks the site of that overnight camp.

According to the Hendrix Cemetery Historical Marker, Hendrix ran successful farming and nursery operations and became a prominent and influential citizen of Grayson County.

When the Texas legislature met in its intial session February 16-19, 1846, John Hendricks, John Shannon and James Vaden were appointed as the commissioners to lay off Grayson County – then still known as the Fannin district – and the city of Sherman, which was to be the county seat. The site was six miles west of the present city.

Courts were organized, and the first session of the county court was held under an old elm tree on the Hendricks farm.

Some time later, because of a scarcity of water, the county seat was moved to the area that is known as Sherman today.

John Hendricks also constructed the first jail in Grayson County. It was located where the Sherman Central fire station stands today. The bars were of poles that were placed a few inches apart.

When Hendricks died, he was believed to be the oldest citizen of Grayson County. He was 93.

His father served four years under George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and Mr. Stephens still has in his possession legal papers to a plot of ground in Kentucky that were drawn only a few years after the colonies declared their independence.

When John Hendricks died, he left a large acreage of fruit trees and other plants to his son, Jesse Elvis Hendricks.

Judge James Thompson was appointed the first Chief Justice of Grayson County and was the first Postmaster at Preston. His home was moved to the village in 1990.

Son of Jesse & Anna (McDonald) Thompson.

Before he was seven years old his family moved to Cherokee County on the Tennessee River in what is now Alabama. Thompson grew up among Cherokees, becoming affluent in their language and ways.

Married to:

1st. Margaret McNary (1818) A quarter blood Cherokee, of the Long Hair Clan. The Thompson family joined the Cherokee Migration to what is now known as Oklahoma. They opened a Trading Post on the Arkansas River. Margaret died in 1839.

2nd. Nancy Shuntally in 1843. Nancy died in childbirth 2 years later.

3rd. Martha Jane Gresham Caruthers (widow) in 1846.

He was a Cherokee Trader-Texian-Seccessionist.

He migrated Circa 1840 ,to Washita Bend, TX (Preston Bend, TX).

He owned a ranch with over 3,000 acres which provided horses for the Butterfield Stage Line whose route crossed his property. He also operated a ferry across the Red River.

The story of the house being saved from the flood waters of Lake Texoma is as interesting as the Judge’s life. Read about it for yourself!


Frontier Village is located in Grayson County Texas and contains some of the oldest buildings in the county.

Frontier Village – Stone Soup/History and Recipes is now available for direct purchase on Amazon.com.
Copies will be available at the museum April 20th. & Kindle will be available on April 12th.
All proceeds go to help us continue to preserve the history of Grayson County Texas. Celebrating our 50th year as a 501(c)3 non-profit.


Heaven’s Promise-The Final Twist…..excerpt page 130. May 15, 1896 Black Friday in Sherman, TX…..f5 tornado hits.

The steel girders of the bridge were twisted and thrown deep into the creek bed. Trees were stripped of their leaves and some were uprooted and lying every which way. Bodies, clothing, and household goods were scattered everywhere, all water-soaked and coated in mud.

Watt had not seen this type of devastation since he left the battlefield.

This scene was different. Instead of blue and gray clad soldiers, they saw brightly dressed women and children.

Ed spotted a bit of bright cloth high in a tree top. He sent Dave to climb and retrieve it, thinking it might be a little girl’s doll.

Dave descended the tree with tears in his eyes as he silently handed the bundle of fabric to his uncle, turned away, and vomited in the mud.

Ed looked at the wad of wet fabric in his arms and saw, not a doll, but a little girl. There was a pink ribbon tied in a neat bow around her bright blonde curls and one shoe was missing, but her stocking was intact. Her face had been obliterated by the wind and flying sand. Every bone in her tiny body had been shattered.

Watt stepped up to his brother, who seemed to be frozen in place, and gently took the child and laid her in the wagon alongside the other bodies.

“Tell me, big brother, how that meets God’s plans?” Ed said bitterly.

“I wish I could, Ed. But I don’t have an answer for you. Perhaps it is to remind us how fragile our bodies are and to remind us to value each other for the limited time we have in our earthly bodies.”

Camped atop a green mountain near Buffalo Springs on a cold Sunday morning in January, 1864, Watt took a few moments to read his bible. A particular passage seemed appropriate so he commenced to read aloud. A small group formed around him as he read Ephesians 6:10-16:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

A deep voice broke in: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of rightness;”

Startled, Watt looked up to see who was so eloquently quoting scripture and saw a cavalry lieutenant leaning against a tree. He nodded at the lieutenant and continued to read as the lieutenant recited the passage with him:

Watt rose and saluted smartly. The lieutenant returned the salute and held out his hand to shake. He said, “Lieutenant John Christopher, and who do I have the honor of addressing?”

Shaking the lieutenant’s hand, Watt laughed and said, “So you’re the infamous Lieutenant John my little sister keeps talking about.”

Photo of the valley below a hill near Buffalo Springs in eastern Tennessee. Taken in 2000.

William Morton Savage

William Morton Savage was born in 1891 and shows on no census. The only accountings we have of him are a few photos, newspaper clippings and his Tombstone.

I first heard Uncle Bill’s story as a very small girl. My grandmother Jessie Savage Ownby would tell me stories and her eyes would get teary as she talked. She would tell about how he was drowned aboard ship when it caught on fire and they flooded the room he was in to put the fire out. (His story can be read in Heaven’s Promise)

Long after she died I found the San Francisco Chronicle article detailing the incident. One thing struck me in the article. Bill’s shipmates thought he had recently married while on leave in San Diego. There was no record of it aboard ship and no one knew her name. I often think about her and hope she received word somehow that her new husband was a hero. He survived WWI then died tragically, in port during peacetime.

Frontier Village and Museum

Located at Loy Park in Denison, Texas (the birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhower,) it is in close proximity to Lake Texoma.

The Village has a self guided tour of the historic frontier homes of Grayson County and the Museum contains many local artifacts and changes continuously.

An extensive genealogy research center is available including Grayson County record book.

In 2021; Frontier Village is celebrating its 50th year with several planned events.

First is a book which is a combination of history of the structures in the village, and various recipes compiled through the centuries from Colonial times to yesterday.


Sam Rayburn House Museum

Step into the warm and welcoming world of one of Texas’ best known statesmen, Sam Rayburn. One of the most powerful and influential politicians in the 20th century, Rayburn served in the U.S. Congress for 48 years, holding the position of speaker for 17 years.

His 1916 home, now the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site, preserves his real stories with original furnishings, candid photographs, and personal belongings, remaining as they were when he lived here.

Visitors explore Rayburn’s personal life and political achievements and their impact on mid-20th-century history. The home is a National Historic Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.