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Howard only makes a few mentions of his birthday in his correspondence, one such time is in a letter to Clyde Smith written late December 1929:
I don’t know when I’ll ever get over to Brownwood. It’ll likely be a good while. I’m expecting you birds, anyway. Wish you could be over here my birthday.
It seems Howard never made a big deal about the day and he would certainly be surprised that today his fans the world over pause to remember his birthdate. Of course, it is well known there was some discrepancy about his actual date of birth as discussed in two previous birthday posts, “Two Birthdays for ‘Two-Gun’ Bob” and “Happy Birthday REH.”
Recently, on one of his many annual trips to Texas, Rob came across what amounts to Howard’s birth announcement in the Weatherford newspaper in a column called “Peaster Pencilings.” The tiny town of Peaster may not be known for much these days, but it is the birthplace of one of the premier writers of fantasy and horror of the 20th century.
Several years back, Howard fan Russell Andrew suggested to me having a historical marker in Peaster, Howard’s birthplace would be a good idea. I thought it was a good idea and passed it on to several board members of the REH Foundation. Shortly afterward, at the behest of the Foundation, I started work on getting a historical marker placed in Peaster.
I spent some time on the not-so-user-friendly Texas Historical Commission website (recently, it was upgraded to 21st century standards), found the forms and information and became familiar with the process, part of which was coordinating with the Parker County Historical Commissioner inWearhterford. However, he seemed to know less about the process than I did. Still, I pushed forward, doing the research and completing the paperwork. The next step was a review by the County Historical Commissioner and again little help was forthcoming. So he referred me to the Texas Historical Commission, giving me an e-mail address and phone number.
I was able to get in touch with the contact person he gave me. While talking with this gentleman, I discovered something I did not know. The rules of the commission allow for one marker per historical individual and Howard has his at his gravesite. So that put a halt to the plan for a Texas Historical Commission marker in Peaster.
That being said, some sort of commemorative marker can be placed in Peaster, just not a state designated one. However, there is no city government in Howard’s birthplace. Of course a local landowner would have to give their consent or permission would have to be obtained from the county for a place to put it on county property.
While the state of Texas foots the bill for a sanctioned historical marker, Howard fans would have to pony up the funds for the Peaster marker. It is certainly a worthwhile project and one I plan on revisiting this year.
In the meantime, I plan on reading a few of my favorite Howard stories this evening while imbibing several adult beverages and remembering Howard on the 108th anniversary of his birth.