Forrest from Texas - 7th Generation Texan & History Enthusiast

Forrest from Texas - 7th Generation Texan & History Enthusiast

Forrest is a 7th Generation Texan who is enthusiastic about Texas history. She provide insight on rare stories from the history of Texas on her social media platforms.


Troy: Good afternoon, Austin. Hope everyone is having a good start to their Monday. hopefully everyone is staying relatively cool since we're going to have crazy weather this week as well. today I am joined by forest, who I is someone I connected with found out through Tik TOK actually, and saw some really kind of cool entrance, interesting things she was doing. And so we wanted to have around the podcast and, get a chance to kinda talk to her. And so I really appreciate you taking the time to jump on and chat today.

Forrest: Yeah. Thanks Troy. I'm happy to be here.

Troy: Nice. Well, so one of the first things that I noticed, so it was a realtor and someone who's now lived in Texas for about 18 years. I know that a lot of places, a lot of times when I go hang out with people, I'm kind of a 10 year Texan having lived here for 18 years. But, you, in your profile and stuff mentioned that you're a seventh generation Texan, which is pretty, I, as someone who also likes history, I find really cool that someone has that kind of history and lineage, in one place. So, how, like, I mean for you, it's just normal life, but what, what do people say when they find out that you've, that you and your family have lived in Texas for that long.

Forrest: I actually, so yeah, my family came to Texas in 1854 from Poland. It's through my mom's side of the family. Actually my, my dad came to Texas when he was in like middle school. So he's not a native Texan either, but, yeah, people find it interesting, especially now, since I moved to Austin where there's so many transplants, if they, they find that out, they're like, whoa, like that's kind of crazy. but yeah, so my family, has been in, in bear county since the 1850s. so that's where our connection comes in.

Troy : Very cool. Yeah. So for those of us again, who have been here for even a decade or so we can see like, oh wow, look at all the changes, your family, your mom, grandma, grandparents, and stuff are like, no, we can really see all the changes that have gone on over the last, 20, 50 plus years that way.

Forrest: Yeah, definitely. And I think in Austin, it's funny when talking to certain people, you can kind of tell how long they've been in Texas. Like one thing that I think is like an easy gauge is if someone calls it town lake or lady bird lake, you kind of know if they came recently. Cause they're like, oh, what's town lake. And like, oh, that's just what people have called it before it was legally changed.

Troy: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, even there I say town, like, I feel like it's only been the last six, seven years that it's really been a super official we're really, changing it that way. And so, yeah, like I say, those are, or people don't under the road system is also one of those things that you really can use it as somebody who's new because you have a strip of road, like a inter interstate, but highway 180 3, which at one point in time, you know, it was also considered research Boulevard and at blue Stein and all these other ones, all these other kind of pieces of road that had been re re eventually joined together to form us highway 180 3. And so the fact that there's so many different things around Austin that kind of have multiple names and is, is kind of an interesting component to it.

Forrest : Definitely also how people pronounce roads. Like Manshack like that that's always a hot topic here too,

Troy: Or, so like, elegant, academic sorta where I went to high school and college, we have a similar, town, same name, but it's called Elgin. Like the D is pronounced differently. And so they say there's definitely a lot of different local colloquialisms that you can kind of, we'll distinguish how long people have been somewhere and, and different things that way. So one of the ways that I originally connected with you, like you say, or, or found out about you was through some of your tip talks where you like to talk about Texas history. What have, obviously I'm assuming history and Texas history has been something that's always been kind of appealing to you kind of maybe what's some of the origin around when that first, became a topic that you were interested in.

Forrest: Yeah. So it's definitely been something that I've been interested in my whole life, I think partially, maybe because my family's been here for so long. so I have that family history, but also I just had really awesome teachers, in my school from, I think the first time we take Texas histories, sixth grade in Texas public schools. and it was always just so interesting to me. and I did, I studied art history in college. Actually. I was a double major in art history and communications at Syracuse though. So I left Texas for college. I went far up to upstate New York. but it's always, history has always been of interest to me. And then I guess I started making tiktoks, maybe like a, not a whole year ago, but I think the history videos kind of took off, maybe like six months ago, where they started getting views and tractions. And I think I had just done something like off, off wind, like randomly like a video of like some interesting historical fact that I knew and it took off. So I was like, oh, I'll stick with this because people like it. And I like making these videos. So that's how I kind of started doing that.

Troy: Nice. Yeah, no, it definitely helps in any kind of content creation, if you enjoy the topic that you're talking about, it makes it a lot easier to want to do videos about that. Going up to Syracuse, spin was kind of the, you, was there a certain period of history or location history that was kind of your focus that way Cause I'd imagine you'd get a lot of different, history topics from a university in upstate New York than you might from high school or university in Texas. Yeah.

Forrest : Well, so it's your keys It was all art history and because it was undergrad, it was kind of like a, a more broad range of things. but I think actually going to college out of state was a really great decision and kind of like broaden my horizons and I dunno, maybe more well-rounded, but the neighborhood I grew up in San Antonio was referred to as the bubble because it was kind of insular and like everyone stayed in that area and like, I don't know, we wouldn't leave. So it was good to, to be out of Texas for a few years.

Troy : No, I feel like, I mean, I feel like there's a lot of neighborhoods that are kind of like that in, you know, even in Austin to kind of one with how the city's made. Like it's kind of like you have all, all of your things you can want to do really within a certain bubble and even more so on the east coast. I think that's one of the cool things about Austin is so many people have moved here from other places, even if it's just San Antonio, but you know, California, Michigan, all these things where there used to be having been here knew at some point in time and just have that personality trait where they kind of enjoy meeting new people. And not that there's anything bad now that the people from the Northeast or other parts of the country don't, but because I think there's more, long-term generation families like yourself in places like New York that you just get used to what you do, right?

We get in our routine. It's not that people don't enjoy meeting new people, but when your routine is do go to work and hang out with the friends you hung out with for the last 20, 30 years, sometimes it's hard for new people to crack that, that friend group through no fault of their own that way, but again, in Austin, because so many people have been here for varying amounts of time. It seems to me that it's a little bit easier to get integrated and initiated into a lot of different groups of people.

Forrest : I absolutely agree. I think if you're, if you're a person looking to like move somewhere new and you want to go to a place where it's easy to plug in and make new friends, Austin is definitely a great city to do that. I happen to live in downtown in a high rise and there, I mean, there's not a lot of people from Texas in my building, but anyway, and you just see like how quickly people move here and instantly like find this big group of friends because everyone is new here and everyone's, you know, meeting new people and they don't know anyone here. So they stick together.

Troy: Not that I haven't lived in New York, but I've been spending up time like in New York city, where again, you, you don't talk to anybody really when you're there. Right. And so it's just kind of a completely different vibe in that regard is like you would ride an elevator up with someone in an apartment or in a condo there, and almost never say anything to them, whereas in Texas, like to be immediately, oh, before you on or what, you know, you know, where, how long have you been here in the building Those kinds of things just seem like they're.

Forrest : Yeah. Yeah. You're so right again. so after Syracuse, I moved to Manhattan for two years. So I moved back to Texas last may, but I think if I hadn't gone to Syracuse, I don't know if I would have made that many friends in New York, because as you were saying, like, people don't really like talk to each other and branch out. Like you would only know like the people you work with and maybe your roommates. But anyway, since I went to Syracuse, so many of my college friends moved to New York afterwards. So you definitely, probably have to be a lot more extroverted and try hard to make friends in New York than Austin,

Troy : Even roommates sometimes in New York are kind of like, oh, we just all do our own thing. I actually remember one time too, being on the subway in New York and seeing a lady with, a Longhorn, whether she, and she was when you were starting off, she had gone to university of Texas or just was from here or whatever. And I'm like, well, normally in a, again, a place where that's not that common, I would go say hi, but like, she's on the subway with her earbuds in like, you don't want her, I don't want her pepper spray me just because I went and said hi to her and said something like that again, it's, it's both cities have a lot of cool things about them, but it should definitely different personality vibe, between those two. For sure.

Forrest : Yeah. And that is one thing I do love about Texas is how friendly everyone is and how I think even people who are moving here from elsewhere, they quickly adapt to like having that friendly attitude and like, you know, they'll start waving to people when they're walking on the street and stuff like that. So that's always, that's always nice.

Troy : They have to, otherwise we're not gonna, you know, in great shape them into our groups and stuff. So yeah, it's, it's pretty awesome. so what kind of PR, I mean, so you had to, you liked history, obviously studied it that way. Do you use history or your art history major in your professional life as well too

Forrest : So when I lived in Manhattan and actually like all my internships during college, I worked at, blue chip art galleries in New York. So that's like a pretty high end level of art where since you're in real estate, like a lot of the art is cost just as much as houses. So it's kind of like a, it's a really interesting world. and so you use that knowledge when you're discussing the artists and stuff. but when I moved back to Texas, I, I started working in the real estate industry. So I actually worked for home builder and yeah, my family, a lot of my family's in the real estate business here in Texas. I got a lot of appraisers in my family. So you might have mixed feelings about them as it as a realtor, but yeah,

Troy :That's one of those where in most cases there, again, they just have their prey. It's kind of like loan officers and stuff too. I was actually loan officer. So like there, there's definitely instances where, you know, people butt heads a lot in a lot of cases, they're doing their parameters off of how the guidelines are supposed to be done. It's not like they're making up things out of thin air just to, make things difficult ever. So yeah, it's, it's, it's a, it's the last year or two has been a crazy time, especially for appraisers because of all the refinances and stuff like trying to get an appraiser to do anything was super challenging, that way. But again, it's just the nature of, what they're, what they're supposed to do. So no, definitely not, definitely very rarely any hard feelings, sorts of praises.

So then what, what prompted you to decide to make the tic-tac video and then with, in regards to history

Forrest : Yeah, I think it was probably, I can't remember like the first video that did well, but, I just started making videos like one I remember doing early on, I did the history of Clarksville. So like that neighborhood in Austin, which has, I feel like no one really knows the history about that neighborhood. It was a historic black neighborhood. It was kind of, they lost a third of the neighborhood when MoPac expressway was built and the residents who got pushed out weren't paid fairly. so I did a video about that. Some people like were commenting on it and I was like, okay, I'll keep doing it. And, you know, taxes us so much history. And there's so many things that like, even just like the street names like Lamar, that's named after the second president of Texas. there are so many things here. It's easy to find things to make videos about. a lot of people actually ask me where I get ideas. And so a lot of my ideas come from Texas state historical association. So their website is TSH, a And they've got a cool page on their website. That's Texas day by day. So they'll tell you, like, I don't know, like a hundred years ago today this happened. So if it's something that interests you, I think that's a fun like website to use, and go off of, but yeah, I dunno.

Troy: Nice. Yeah, no, I remember, I remember one of the, probably most profound, like single statements that I remember from college was in my history class when they talked about one of the, like your basic history class, you had to take, I'm talk about like history is written by the winners. Right. And so, so there's nowadays it kind of feels like we know all this history because there is a lot of things that we know, but in today's world, because you have all of these opposing point of views. And obviously right now in the last couple of years, that has not, that it's been a bad thing, but it's led to a lot of conflict, conflict and stuff. But in general, having that knowledge base is awesome compared to a hundred years ago, you know, 500 years ago, when in reality at that point, the people that won the battle or won the argument are generally the only people that really got to write. What, how are the only people that got to frame the story And nowadays you get, it's easier to find information that shows both sides of a historical event or, you know, the, or the, unfortunately, some of the poor things that have happened in history that a lot of times get whitewashed because,

Forrest : Yeah, I think with everything being put online, it's really easy to get all kinds of different perspectives on it. I do think there's still like a lack in some areas, especially with native Americans, because, you know, they weren't keeping diaries. Like white settlers were like writing every single day. What's happening. A lot of their history is oral history. So that's not something that I have access to since, you know, I'm not a part of that culture, but, yeah, I think as time goes on, like we always are learning new things, which is great.

Troy : Yeah, no, it's, yeah. Like I say, the way we record history has definitely changed, over the years too. And so now again, now with the advent of video online stuff, like there's a plethora of options for recent,

Forrest : It was probably too much

Troy : For sure things do. do you generally tend to, with most of your videos and stuff tend to stay within, say Austin, central, Texas, all Texas, or even branch out beyond that

Forrest : I try to stay in Texas. I think I do tend to kind of stay within areas I'm familiar with. So like the hill tree, San Antonio, I've done some reason Stefan like in south Texas towns. the only time I've really branched out because I did some stuff about Kentucky, which that's where my dad's side of the family is from. so yeah, it's usually rooted in a place that I'm somewhat familiar with,

Troy : At least have a connection to. Right. Cause the history more meaningful for you that way.

Forrest : Yeah. But I also been, I look at the comments now and some people suggest things and I look it up and I learn a lot actually by reading that stuff. and there's some interesting snippets in there. So I make videos about what people are commenting about to

Troy : Nice. Yeah, no like safe. for me as someone who grew up originally Michigan, like the Michigan state borders and a lot of those types of things are interesting and it's like Michigan, Ohio had a border war. we're just, you know, against stuff you wouldn't necessarily think of, but, Ohio state, Ohio won that and got the land. And, and because of that, Michigan got the upper peninsula, like up this whole huge swath of land, which actually ended up probably being a better when the other one that. Right. But there's just all these kind of interesting things there. have you done much, obviously probably one of the most well-known things in Texas history is kind of the changing of, changing hands of like who's owned it being, you know, obviously the independence, the United States, Mexico, Spain, all these kinds of things. Have you done much about that topic at all Or does that,

Forrest : Yeah, I've done a lot about the Texas revolution, obviously being in San Antonio, that's where the Alamo is. So that's just a big part of growing up in San Antonio. like we always go during like special events, like Fiesta in San Antonio. I don't know if you've been, it's like this two-week festival in April. Everyone goes and takes photos in front of the Alamo. It's like, you know, it's the Alamo city.

So anyway, I've done a lot about the Texas revolution and actually yesterday on May 15th, I did a video about Laredo because it was founded some odd years ago. Like I think like, I dunno in like 17, 19 or something. but Laredo is interesting because they actually formed their own Republic in 1840, which a lot of people don't know about. So the Republic of the Rio Grande, and so like six flags amusement parks are called six flags because there's been six nations that have ruled over Texas. But if you asked someone from Laredo, they would say there's seven flags because we've had a Republic for a year or less than a year. But yeah,

Troy: Interesting. That is, like I say, there's, there's always something that you're not going to know. Like it's, it's a cool history is a cool topic to me because there's always something that you're not going to be aware of that you can find out about.

Forrest : Yeah, definitely.

Troy : So with that one specifically, like what prompted them to have their own Republic and then what, how did that they just get obviously a bizarre,

Forrest : Yeah, I'm not so I didn't delve too much into it, but from my understanding is the, it was Laredo was actually ruled by Mexico at that point. And they were opposed to Santa Ana because he had a very unitary government at that point. and so they formed their own Republic and then eventually by Mexican force were brought back under control of Mexico. Yeah.

Troy : Interesting. Do you have any what's like maybe the most in the last year ish or so that you've been doing these, what is there besides that one potentially like the most interesting story that you found out about or got a chance to learn and study about

Forrest : Yeah. So I recently did a video that I didn't think would do that well, and it got like, I think it has like 300,000 views now. So sometimes take talks surprises me on which videos do well. Cause I didn't really spend that much time on making it, but it was about this Italian mob family that controlled Galveston for 20, some odd years, back like starting in the prohibition era, but they're actually the great uncles of the Houston rockets owners. Who's this Billy Texas billionaire. his last name is Tillman and he owns Landry's like the seafood chain. So it's just people that one I found was interesting because there's obviously a connection to now the rockets owner, you know, his family had kind of like mob origins, but yeah,

Troy : Yeah. Not that, not that he's necessarily mapped up, but that doesn't mean that again, there's the Kennedy's connections to prohibition, right. Like with, with that too. And so like there's a lot, you know, just because that, again, not that that necessarily makes them bad people, especially now that they're not doing illegal things, but it doesn't mean that there aren't, interesting tidbits in the histories as far as what, what was going on.

Forrest : Definitely.

Troy: Has there been, has there been something that you have gone out have found out that was, that maybe changed compared to what you had learned in grade school and high school as far as Texas history goes?

Forrest : I don't know if anything has changed. I definitely just know a lot more now. Cause I feel like in school it was just a much more general understanding of things. And so, I've gotten way more detailed with it. I get, I get a lot of, his Texas history books that I like to read up on. so I think my, my knowledge has just increased, not necessarily changed. but yeah, there's some, there's some good books. One, if you're looking to get into it for any of the listeners, there's a book called big wonderful thing. It's by, Steven Harrigan. I think it was actually published through UTS, in house publishing thing that they do at the university. but it's, it's a, it's a overview of Texas history and, and so then the name big wonderful thing comes from a quote from someone. I can't remember who, but they call Texas this big wonderful thing. So I think that's a nice whole title.

Troy: Nice. Okay. yeah, I think my, I mean, as like my Texas history claim to fame is I've gotten to meet and spend some time with HW brands who is, is a history professor at UT I think, well known because he's, he's been on like the history channel and done some things that way. I mean, obviously he's done a lot of additional things more than that, but he's probably one of the most, well, I would guess most well-known, historians here in Texas from that.

Forrest : Yeah, definitely. I have some of his books. I try to remember which one, I think he did the they're really famous in buyer, the summer moon book, which was about Kona Parker. It was like the last Comanche war chief. so that, that was like, that was a good book.

Troy : Yeah. Has there has delving into all of this, like, like kind of getting back into it, obviously, because it's not like you were necessarily dealing with this even in college and stuff, has it, what's been the best part about it for you

Forrest : I mean, I think it's always great to learn about the place you're, you're living and for me the place I'm from. but it's also cool with this Tech-Talk talk stuff I've gotten to, you know, kind of like meet people. Like I met you through social media. I've gotten to work with some like local Austin companies doing some videos for them, which is cool. I recently went out to, Trudy Oak distilling, which is in dripping Springs, and made a video for them and then kind of got a little history to them because the treaty Oak is like a historic tree in downtown Austin and they, the city actually gave them a sapling from that tree. And so it's on their property and dripping strangers is cool. but yeah, so I just like being, you know, connected in the city.

Troy : Yeah. That's so cool. What are so, for people that want to follow you and kind of get you, or obviously the night that's probably the Tik TOK is you can get a lot of quick bits about Texas history for those of us who have short attention spans and don't have don't, can't dive too, too deep into a border, kind of the best ways to follow you, to find out more on different topics that,

Forrest : Yeah. So my tech talk is, Forrest from Texas and I spell force with two RS. it's the same on Instagram, but I'm not really active on Instagram, so I don't really post any history stuff there. but yeah, Tik TOK is the best way and yeah, a lot of take talk as a, a time limit. So it, you know, I'm kind of forced to be creative with the stories and get them down to Lino under a minute or two minutes, which is good for keeping the attention. And yeah.

Troy : Now I think you can go longer. I don't know if it's like three minutes or 10 minutes, but yeah, that I haven't seen, I haven't seen anybody go that long and have a video perform well though.  I don't think people want to watch that long of a video on TikTok.

Forrest : Yeah, I've never seen a 10 minute video on there. They gave tTikTok, notify me that I can do a 10 minute video, but there's when I, I'm not going to cause that's way too long for me, but I don't even have the option on the app. So I dunno. Yeah.

Troy : Cool. Well, it was awesome. Getting a chance to, to chat. Like I say, I think the topics are really cool to hear things that, again, thrive. I would imagine most of us who didn't go to grade school and high school here in Texas, find it to be, new information. and I think, again, obviously there's a lot of people who enjoy history and there's just so much of it. So it's awesome that you get to share it, share that passion of yours and educate people as well.

Forrest : Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Troy :I appreciate it. Everyone have a wonderful day.


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