Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wandering back in time to the Appalachians.

It is no secret that I was born and raised in Pennsylvania even though I have lived in Texas for the last 32 years and also feel at home here as I do when I go back and visit in Pennsylvania.  That isn't the subject of this blog, but rather a creek in the Appalachian Mountains named Mix Run.  You see, that is where a family named Mix lived and branched out from there.  Some I know and some you have heard of.  No?  Now, I bet you all have heard of Tom Mix, the cowboy movie star.  My Grandmother's sister (who lived next door to my Grandma) married Jack Mix, a full cousin to Tom and they both came from the same area.

For those of you who are not old enough to of heard of Tom Mix, let me tell you a little bit about him.  He was born in 1880 and after growing up there, he left his mountain home to supposedly travel around the world where he ended up as a bartender in Oklahoma.  While working there he was noticed by a guy who owned a "wild west" show because Tom looked so much like a cowboy.  The show made him a cowboy and with a little more work he became a champion rider and a rodeo star.  While he was in that show, some Hollywood movie people checked it out for possible actors and Tom Mix was an obvious choice.  He made hundreds of movies but the first few hundred only lasted fifteen to thirty minutes and were not much to speak of but taught him his trade.  He also wrote and directed many of these short films himself.  Because he could (from the wild west show) his movies emphasized action and exciting horsemanship, which he did himself and never used a double.

Back in the mid 1920's, he was the King of Cowboys and earned $20,000 a week which he spent most as soon as he made it.  His mansion, his cars, his clothes and his parties were almost as well known as his movies.  There was also a Tom Mix Wild West Circus, a Tom Mix radio show, and Tom Mix children's clothes and toys.  He left this world in 1940 when he died in a car crash while he was still an idol of millions.

I got most of this information (other than family stuff) from Bellerophon Books' "Cowboys" A Bellerophon Coloring Book which I found at a second hand store yesterday.  I thought you would enjoy a little cowboy story this morning and since it is true and I have a far off connection to it, I decided on this one.  I hope you enjoyed it and please have a rip snorten, high fallooten, bull riding, calf roping day now, you hear.


  1. My dad loved the old Tom Mix cowboy movies. Had no idea of the PA connection. I'll have to mention it to dad next time I talk with him.

  2. I enjoyed that, don't forget "yippie-ki-yi-aaaa" although it was probably never used outside the movie studio. Some of the stunts they performed in the early cowboy pictures are amazing, can't be done today without computer asist. But I guess that prevents a lot of broken bones.

  3. Sixbears, now you got a story to tell your Dad. I knew Jack Mix when I was young while he was still alive. He wasn't a movie star but a railroader.

    Jimkabob, No, I never heard anyone yell that around here. Although they do yell other nasty stuff. And yes, those old movie cowboys had to be tough.

  4. Pretty interesting stuff there, buddy. I knew, of course, who he was, but didn't know the back story!

    That was a lot of money for the day! Thanks for the cool story!

  5. HJ, that is quite a compliment especially coming from you who always comes up with great stories.

  6. The Tom Mix Memorial is on AZ79 about 20 miles south of Florance, AZ.

    "Jan. 6, 1880-Oct. 12, 1940
    In Memory Of TOM MIX
    Whose spirit left his body on this spot, and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the Old West in the minds of living men."

  7. Everyone loves a good cowboy story, thanks. And for the record, I do my own stunts too!

  8. Ed, I have been to Arizona a couple of time but was never in Florance. I have been close, Apache Junction. So next time I need to go there.

    Jill, I love cowboy movies. Be careful doing your own stunts, that is what husbands are for (grin).