Allen native Ken Byler shares Diamond Bill’s story, one of the most treasured tales in Texas folklore, and the history of Texas anthems at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 31, at the Allen Public Library. Among the songs Ken will tell the stories of include “Texas, Our Texas” and “Will You Come to the Bower?” Ken will be accompanied by a quartet that will include a fiddle, harmonica and vocals.
Compiled by the late Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie, Diamond Bill is the story of a man’s pet rattlesnake. Where else but Texas would a person carry their pet rattlesnake in their satchel? But this was no ordinary rattlesnake! The late J. Frank Dobie taught at the University of Teas and penned over two dozen books, including Coronado’s Children and A Vaquero of the Brush Country.
Ken’s great-grandparents were siblings of J. Frank Dobie’s grandparents. Dobie’s father was on a cattle trail drive when he was murdered by bandits. Those killers failed to consider that they were killing a member of the Byler clan. The bandits were never arrested and indicted; however, the law west of the Trinity prevailed when the Bylers pursued the murderers of their kinfolk. The bandits were never heard from again.
Born where Vaughan Elementary School now stands and educated in Allen schools, Ken is one of a rare few who can also boast that ancestors of both his parents lived in Allen. A storyteller and writer, Ken recounts the enchanting tale of Diamond Bill like no other.
The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. Call 214-509-4911 for more information.