Dalton Ray Phillips, HTCS (SW), U.S.Navy (retired)
I have travelled through time and
it has taken its toll.
I was born and
raised in Rotan, Fisher County, Texas. It is located on
the staked plains of west Texas, between Abilene and
Lubbock. It is now known as "The Big Country" - I
sometimes like to call it "the outback of Texas".
In Texas history, it was part of the Comancheria, a vast
empire inhabited almost entirely by Comanche Indians
until the late 1860's. A few whiles passed through there
back in the earlier times but the Comanche's were
fiercely protective and the whites had no desire to stay
there. The first actual white settlers established
several large cattle ranches and everything was centered
around them for many years. The railroads started coming
through that part of the country in the 1880's and
1890's, and new roads were established as the region
became more populated. Gradually, over time, the
big ranches were broken up and opened up for general
homesteading and the smaller farms and ranches that we
see there today were created, along with many small
towns, including Rotan. I can not claim that my
ancestors were among those early settlers. As a matter
of fact, we ended up there purely by chance. My father was
working as a laborer,
putting in new highways out there in the late 1930's and
early 1940's, as
part of President Roosevelt's program to create jobs and
keep men working so we could pull out of the Great
Depression . Dad made friends with several people in
Rotan, liked it and moved his family there around 1944.
I was born there in 1946.
admit that I couldn't wait to get away from there when I
was a boy. When I turned 18 in 1964, I joined the U.S.
I now have fond memories about growing up there.
I am now an old man. I
live in New Haven, Indiana with my wife and boss lady,
Linda Phillips 2017
Mountains near Rotan, Texas
ground to the Comanches - a home of the great Chief Quanah
Parker - written about by early Spanish Explorers - Double
Mountain Ranch was owned by the late great Sammy Baugh
- legendary Washington Redskins football quarterback.
It is very
rugged country but beautiful in its own way. When I
travel back there, one of the first things I
want to do is to go take a look at the old
mountains. I find a secluded place with a good
view, like the one in the photograph. I just
walk around, breathe in the fresh air, look around
at it all and enjoy being alive. I can see
why it was a special place for the Comanches.