Patrick Dearen

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Patrick March Dearen

(Western author of fiction and history based in Midland, Texas; 2014 photo)

Patrick Dearen of TX.jpg

Born May 1, 1951
Sterling City, Texas
Political Party Republican[1]

Alma mater:
Sterling City High School
University of Texas at Austin

Spouse Mary Gilda Dearen

One son, Wesley Joseph Dearen

Patrick March Dearen (born May 1, 1951) is an author of twenty-five Western-themed books of fiction and history. His 2012 novel, To Hell or the Pecos, is set along a desolate 79-mile section of the John Butterfield Trail in the Pecos River country of West Texas.[2] To Hell or the Pecos is the 2014 winner of the Elmer Kelton Book Award from the West Texas Historical Association. It also received the Spur Award


Dearen was born and reared in Sterling City, Texas, between San Angelo and Big Spring. His father, Delbert Dearen (1912-1998), and his mother, the former Thyra Violet Sparkman (1918-1974), are interred at Montvale Cemetery in Sterling City.[3]

Dearen graduated in 1969 from Sterling City High School, at which one of his teachers had encouraged him in January 1966, while in his freshman year, to consider a career in writing. In 1974, he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. His mother, Thyra, died that same year at the age of fifty-six. At her encouragement, young Dearen read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes that also played a role in his interest in becoming a writer. He won nine national and state awards as a reporter for two daily newspapers, The San Angelo Standard-Times and the Midland Reporter-Telegram, of which his wife, Mary Gilda Dearen (born 1955), is the managing editor.[4] [5] The Dearens reside in Midland.

Writing career

Dearen is an authority on the Pecos and Devils rivers, which nearly meet at Lake Amistad, and on the tenets of old-time cowboy life in West Texas. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he conducted oral histories] of seventy-six men who had been cowboys prior to 1932. These interviews, along with decades of archival study, enrich his novels and nonfiction books. One of those novels, Perseverance,[6] is a story of hobos riding the railroad tracks of Texas during the Great Depression.[5] He is also known for his interest in folklore and writes to please both professional historians and general readers.

Other Dearen works include:


Starflight to Faroul (1980) ISBN 9780505516008
The Illegal Man (Leisure Books, 1981) ISBN 9780786212385


Portraits of the Pecos Frontier (Texas Tech University Press, 1993, revised 1999, with foreword by Elmer Kelton)
When Cowboys Die (1995) ISBN 078381514X; nominated for Spur Award from the Western Writers Association.
A Cowboy of the Pecos (1996) ISBN 978-1556225284
Crossing Rio Pecos (1996) (Chisholm Trail series) ISBN 0-87565-159-3, includes the story of Horsehead Crossing in Crane County
The Last of the Old-Time Cowboys (1998) ISBN 978-1-55622-613-7

2000 to 2004

Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier (2000) (Chisholm Trail series, with foreword by Elmer Kelton)[7]
Halff of Texas: Merchant Rancher of the Old West (Eakin Press, 2000) ISBN 9781571684363
Comanche Peace Pipe (Lone Star Heroes, Book I, 2001, Illustrated by Alan McCuller, ISBN 1556228317)
On the Pecos Trail (Lone Star Heroes, Book 2, 2001, illustrated by Alan McCuller)
The Hidden Treasure of the Chisos (2001) (Lone Star Heroes, Book 3, ISBN 978-1-55622-829-2)
When the Sky Rained Dust (Eakin Press, 2004) ISBN 978-1571688309, a novel of the depression Dust Bowl

The most recent

Saddling Up Anyway: The Dangerous Lives of Old-Time Cowboys (2006) ISBN 978-1-58979-223-4
Lone Star Lost: Buried Treasures in Texas (2009) ISBN 978-0875653921
Devils River: Treacherous Twin to the Pecos, 1535-1900 (2011) ISBN 978-0-87565-423-2
Starflight to Destiny, Part I (2013) ISBN 9781310894114
Starflight to Eternity, Part II (2013)[8] The Big Drift, 2015.[9]

Dearen was named the runner-up in 2013 for the Will Rogers Medallion from the Academy of Western Artists for his novel To Hell or the Pecos. He has also been honored for his work by the Western Writers of America, the San Antonio Conservation Society, and the Permian Historical Association. Dearen enjoys backpacking and playing ragtime on the piano. He is the father of son, Wesley Joseph Dearen (born 1990), the first reader of his father's books.[5]

In 2015, another Dearen novel, The Big Drift (2014), won the Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists.[10] He received his award on March 28 at ceremonies in Irving, Texas. The Big Drift also won the Spur Award in 2015.[5]


  1. Patrick Dearen. Retrieved on December 28, 2021.
  2. Patrick Dearen, To Hell or the Pecos', Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780875655055
  3. Thyra Violet Sparkman Dearen. Retrieved on December 28, 2021.
  4. Mary Dearen. Retrieved on December 28, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Patrick Dearen. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  6. Patrick Dearen, Perseverance (Eakin Press, 2006) ISBN 9781571682352.
  7. (2000) Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier. Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 978-0-87565-030-2. Retrieved on April 12, 2014. 
  8. Books by Patrick Dearen. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  9. Patrick Dearen. Retrieved on December 28, 2021.
  10. (2014) The Big Drift. Fort Worth, Texas: Texas Christian University Press, 192. ISBN 9780875655703. Retrieved on January 30, 2015.