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Wilbarger County TX
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The Red River Valley Museum
Vernon, Texas

Jack Teagarden Momentos
&
Works of sculptress Electra Waggoner Biggs


4400 College Drive.
Hours: Tues - Sunday 1 to 5 P.M.
Vernon Tx - Red River Valley Museum
Red River Valley Museum
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Historical Marker

Red River Valley Museum

Features one of Texas' famed regional collections of Indian artifiacts, tracing history of early man along the Red River. Before Chisholm Trail days, when thousands of cattle crossed Red River at nearby Doan's Crossing, Vernon area was home to tribes of Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita. Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Ray of Vernon spent 30 years gathering artifacts, which they donated to Wilbarger County, Oct. 14, 1963.

Jack Teagarden

There are a few mementos of Jack Teagarden and his career. Born Weldon Leo in 1905 he entered a family of musicians. His father played cornet and his mother played both organ and piano.

He played piano at five and trombone at seven. While waiting for his arms to grow he occasionally played French horn.

He played duets with his mother at the local movie house to accompany the silent films.

A piano - trombone duet is a rare treat and their performances probably hastened the invention of "talkies."

In 1926 he went to New York and joined Doc Ross' Jazz Bandits. This isn't important, but we like the name Jazz Bandits. Jazz Bandits Jazz Bandits Jazz Bandits. His unique playing style and raspy vocals made him unique as a musician and bandleader which he later became. He died in New Orleans in 1964.

The museum has only a desk (a small secretary) that belonged to his family, a trombone that may or may not be his, and a trophy he was awarded by Esquire magazine in the 1940s.

Jazz enthusiasts, mostly from Europe, make a pilgrimage here, and are disappointed by how little Vernon has on "The Big T." His sister Norma died only a few years ago and was a jazz pianist who was playing in San Francisco as late as 1995.

A Canadian documentary-maker has recorded a one-hour video on Jack's life, which may be shown on PBS stations.


John Troesser

Vernon Texas Waggoner Ranch mural
A mural depicting life on the Waggoner Ranch
TE photo
Exhibits include Native American artifacts and an exhibit of the History of the Waggoner Ranch. There is a beautiful mural (photo above) depicting life on the Waggoner Ranch. A lot of space is given to a Taxidermy exhibit.

There is an impressive collection of busts by the famed sculptress Electra Waggoner Biggs. A biography of this fascinating woman is available at the museum gift shop.

Vernon, Texas
Vernon Hotels
Vernon Tx - Red River Valley Museum sculpture
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
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