Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
Posts tagged "LBJ Ranch"

Lyndon Baines Johnson is one of those few Presidents or political leaders who is instantly identifiable by his initials — “LBJ” — an exclusive club also populated by TR, FDR, and JFK but few others. Richard Nixon spent years and tons of energy working to become a member of that group, going as far as naming his autobiography RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. But LBJ’s initials became a recognizable brand long before he became President; he also had the added advantage of being able to monogram everything in his home with his initials since they were also shared by his wife (Lady Bird Johnson), his two daughters (Lynda Bird Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson), and even one of his dogs (“Little Beagle Johnson” — which wasn’t one of the dogs President Johnson was famously photographed picking up by their ears, those beagles were named “Him” and “Her”).

But where did the name “Lyndon” come from? LBJ’s middle name — “Baines” — was his mother’s maiden name, but “Lyndon” wasn’t a family name. In fact, LBJ didn’t have a name for the first three months of his life. The man who would one day become the 36th President of the United States spent the first three months of his life just being called “Baby”. Of course, he couldn’t spend the rest of his life with the name “Baby”, so LBJ’s parents, Sam Ealy Johnson and Rebekah Baines Johnson, finally came to an agreement on what he would be called. Since LBJ was a far better storyteller than I will ever be, I’ll let him explain, courtesy of the LBJ Library’s always-incredible Oral History Project, as well as LBJ Library Director Mark K. Updegrove’s awesome book, Indomitable Will: LBJ In The Presidency (BOOK | KINDLE).

According to LBJ:
"I was three months old when I was named. My father and mother couldn’t agree on a name. The people my father liked were heavy drinkers — pretty rough for a city girl. She didn’t want me named after any of them.

Finally, there was a criminal lawyer — a country lawyer — named W.C. Linden. He would go on a drunk for a week after every case. My father liked him and he wanted to name me after him. My mother didn’t care for the idea but she said finally that it was alright, she would go along with it if she could spell the name the way she wanted to. So that is what happened.

[Later] I was campaigning for Congress. An old man with a white carnation in his lapel came up and said, ‘That was a very good speech. I want to vote for you like I always have. The only thing I don’t like about you is the way you spell your name.’

He then identified himself…as W.C. Linden.”

January 22, 1973: Walter Cronkite breaks into programming to announce that former President Lyndon B. Johnson has died in Texas at the age of 64.

Cronkite reports the details of LBJ’s death as he receives them live on-the-air during a telephone call with LBJ aide Tom Johnson.

Here are the graves of Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson in the family cemetery at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City, Texas.  I believe these photos are from my first visit to the LBJ Ranch, which was in May 2010.

Pedernales River, LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas
There are famous photos of LBJ and Lady Bird driving over this road on the Pedernales River to their ranch house:

Pedernales River, LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

There are famous photos of LBJ and Lady Bird driving over this road on the Pedernales River to their ranch house:

image

Here are the graves of Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson in the family cemetery at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City, Texas.  I believe these photos are from my first visit to the LBJ Ranch, which was in May or June of 2010.

And just to bring it all together, here are buffalo grazing on the land surrounding the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City, Texas during my visit there on December 12, 2010.  Clearly, LBJ also knew what awesome animals buffalo are (I like calling them “buffalo” instead of “American bison”, so if I’m using that name incorrectly, write down your complaint and submit it through the proper channels.)

American bison grazing on land across the Pedernales River from the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall, Texas (December 2010)

I’m just organizing some of the folders on my computer and finding some LBJ-related photos that you guys might enjoy.  By the way, my experience in Texas might have been more pleasant had it been centered around the peace and beauty of the LBJ Ranch in the Hill Country with limited visits from time-to-time into Austin only to hang out at the LBJ Library.  And air-conditioning 24/7/365.

LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

A wagon fixture decorated for Christmas outside of the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas

Photo by Erica, Sweet Sunday Photography
(Erica’s Tumblr)

Pedernales River, LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

There are famous photos of LBJ and Lady Bird driving over this road on the Pedernales River to their ranch house:

Photo by Erica, Sweet Sunday Photography
(Erica’s Tumblr)

Pedernales River, LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

Sunset over the Pedernales River on the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas

Photo by Erica, Sweet Sunday Photography
(Erica’s Tumblr)

LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

Sunset from the rear of the one-room schoolhouse that Lyndon Johnson attended as a boy near the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas

Photo by Erica, Sweet Sunday Photography
(Erica’s Tumblr)

LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Texas

The one-room schoolhouse that Lyndon Johnson attended as a boy near the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, Texas

Photo by Erica, Sweet Sunday Photography
(Erica’s Tumblr)