bill oneal2
Dr. Bill O'Neal

Bob Harness

Bill O’Neal is the award-winning author of 54 books and more than 300 articles and book reviews.

Bill came to Carthage in 1970 as a faculty member at Panola College where he conducted 40 Traveling Texas History classes across the Lone Star State and twice, in 1988 and 2014, he was named Panola County Citizen of the Year.

Bill’s Institutional histories have included a centennial account of East Texas Baptist University, 50th and 75th anniversary books about Panola College, anniversary accounts of the First State Bank and Trust Company and of Central Baptist Church in Carthage, and a biography of industrialist Cassity Jones,

A member of the advisory board of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, Bill wrote a biography of Tex Ritter, and he teamed with Tommie Ritter Smith to write the 25th anniversary story of the Hall of Fame.

Bill has appeared on TV documentaries on TBS, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, CMT, A&E, and the American Heroes Channel. He was presented the A.C. Greene Literary Award at the 2015 West Texas Book Festival in Abilene and in 2012 Bill received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Wild West History Association, and in 2007 he was named True West Magazine's Best Living Non-Fiction Writer.

In 2012 Bill was sworn in by Gov. Rick Perry as State Historian of Texas and he is a past president and fellow of both the East Texas Historical Association and the West Texas Historical Association.

Bob Harness, in addition to being an artist, has been an Art instructor specializing in drawing and painting, an Executive Art Director, designed over 100 porcelain decanters which sold over one million units worldwide, including the popular Elvis series.

Bob and his wife Martha moved to Carthage in 1995 after retiring, he started sculpting as a hobby which launched his second career as a sculptor of large bronze pieces, many of which are in Carthage including Tex Ritter and White Flash, the Panola Pony, Mildred Jefferson, Marjorie Neal, and the bronze award plaques for the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.

Bob’s greatest achievement is the tallest bronze statue of Jesus in the United States, standing 14 ½ feet tall located in Carthage. God gave Bob a vision to do the Footprints in the Sand-inspired bronze and the entire Carthage community helped turn that vision into a reality.