the devil in Texas

  • July 10, 2017 9:17 AM
    Message # 4959429
    Ken Untiedt (Administrator)

    Who knows anything about the topic, "the devil in Texas," specifically related to plants (featuring "the devil" in plant names, stories about devilish plants, etc.)?

  • July 10, 2017 12:33 PM
    Reply # 4961348 on 4959429

    I know this poem, "Hell in Texas," also a song said to have been collected by the proprietor of the Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio in 1909. It's in the Lomax's collection of Cowboy songs, first published in 1910. The humorous song presents all of the challenges of Texas life, which can help make us a tougher breed--intense heat, cactus, scorpions, and even spicy Mexican food that can cause the diner to lament, "I've got hell on the inside as well as the out." Would those red peppers be the plant that you are referring to?    

  • July 11, 2017 2:04 PM
    Reply # 4968696 on 4959429
    Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

    Hi, all! Ken graciously posted this inquiry on my behalf. I'm a freelance writer who's working on a magazine article on this topic. I've already done a lot of research (and found the poem "The Devil Made Texas," also called "Hell in Texas," sung by the late TFS member Hermes Nye) but need a few quotes from a credible source about how and/or why the "devil" came to be a part of names in Texas. My editor put it this way: "We want to establish that, even though this topic has humorous angle, there is some serious attention being paid and, the way plants, things and places are named exerts a significant impact on life, in some way."

    By way of introduction, I live in Blanco and am a journalist by training and a magazine writer by profession. One of your past members was my grandfather, Dudley R. Dobie Jr. of San Marcos.

    Thank you for any and all assistance you might give me!

    Best, sheryl rodgers, sherylsr at

    Last modified: July 11, 2017 4:25 PM | Ken Untiedt (Administrator)
  • July 16, 2017 9:29 PM
    Reply # 4979602 on 4959429
    David Lewis

    In West Texas there is the Devil's Claw, the dried seed pod of a desert flower. The flower is pretty, while the dried pod really does look evil.  Have no idea what the name of the flower is, but every kid knew what a Devil's Claw looked like.

    One can find more information at this link: or at this one

  • July 17, 2017 7:07 PM
    Reply # 4981531 on 4959429
    Ken Untiedt

    Here is another possible source to investigate: In our 2008 publication, Death Lore, we featured a "throwback article" by Hortense Warner Ward, "The Yellow Flower of Death" (the squash blossom). The article was originally published in a 1948 PTFS. 

  • July 20, 2017 10:14 AM
    Reply # 4986454 on 4959429
    Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

    Thank you! And if you think of someone I could visit with on the phone for comments about the use of the "devil" in names across Texas, that'd be awesome.

Copyright  2016 Texas Folklore Society

Texas Folklore Society | P.O. Box 13007 - SFASU | Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3007 | 936.468.4407

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software