“Texas, Our Texas” — the story of the official state song of Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Nearly 100 years ago, Texas politicians began a quest to find the perfect song to serve as the official song of Texas. Over five years, after two separate contests and hundreds of entries, the Texas Legislature officially adopted “Texas, Our Texas” as his state song in 1929.

With music written by William J. Marsh and lyrics by Gladys Yorkum Wright, “Texas, Our Texas” was made in the early 1920s.

In 1924, Texas Governor Pat Neff initiated a year-long contest to find and select an official national anthem. “Texas, Our Texas” was named the winner, but the contest stalled and did not progress, said Susan Floyd, communications officer for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

“It had been in decline for some time,” Floyd said, adding that it wasn’t until the second contest in 1927 that the state song regained momentum.

Competition intensifies in Texas

That second competition had over 700 entries and was narrowed down to 37 finalists.

The runner-up of the two competitions held was “Bountiful, Texas”, which included Ann Thompson. “Forever Shines” by Judge Rudolph Kleberg. And “All Hail to Texas” by Randolph Haynes.

A final judging of the remaining 37 options was held in October 1927, and the lyrics to “Texas, Our Texas” were published in the Austin-American Statesman on October 23, 1927.

In 1929, Governor Dan Moody promoted “Texas, Our Texas” and the song was adopted as the official national anthem by the 41st Texas Legislature in 1929.

who made the song?

Originally from Liverpool, Marsh worked in the cotton business before moving to Fort Worth in 1905 and immersing himself fully in the world of music as a musician, composer, teacher and local music critic for magazines and newspapers.

William J. Marsh was originally from Liverpool before moving to Fort Worth in 1905, where he worked in the cotton business before immersing himself in the world of music as a musician, composer, teacher, and local music critic for magazines and newspapers. bottom.
(Courtesy: Texas State Library and Archives Commission)

Not much is known about Wright, a woman born in Greenville, Texas to a wholesale grocery store. Several interviews and quotes attributed to her indicate that she admires the song’s creation and collaboration with Marsh on the final version.

I wrote “Texas, our Texas” and took it to Mr. Marsh. I never met him, but I knew he wrote great music. At the time he was working on a patriotic melody, but hadn’t decided what it should be. You know the rest.

Gladys Yoakum Wright, 1930 article on making “Texas, Our Texas”

A few years later, Wright and her son moved to St. Louis, but her love for Texas never went away. According to historical archives, she reportedly said: “My heart is in Texas and Texas will always be my true home.”

evolution of the song

Since it was first adopted, the song’s lyrics have been tweaked only once. The change took place in 1959 after Alaska was adopted as a state of the United States.

“I know Marsh changed the lyrics himself,” said Floyd. “He chose to change the original word ‘maximum’ to ‘bold’, which is found in the current lyrics. “

Towards Texas’ 100th anniversary in 1936, Floyd said the song’s popularity skyrocketed considerably. Floyd said this surge of interest likely stemmed from his centenary in Texas, coupled with Texas’ strong identity as a state.

“Texas is famous for probably having the strongest identity of all the states. Other states may disagree with us, but we are definitely on top,” she said. said. “We talk a lot and think a lot about our condition.”

https://www.kxan.com/news/texas/how-did-texas-our-texas-become-the-official-state-song/ “Texas, Our Texas” — the story of the official state song of Texas

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