Nordyke, Lewis Thaddeus (1905–1960)

By: Lou Rodenberger

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: March 23, 2019

Lewis Thaddeus Nordyke, newspaperman and author, son of Charles Thaddeus and Nancy Narcissus (Coffey) Nordyke, was born on December 25, 1905, at Turkey Creek, five miles east of Cottonwood, Texas, in Callahan County. Nancy Nordyke was the daughter of one of the former Confederate soldiers from Georgia who had brought their families to settle on the Callahan Divide after the Civil War. Lewis, reared on a farm called Nubbin Ridge, was one of seven children. His oldest brother, Clarence, became a Texas Ranger.

Nordyke received his early education in a one-room school at Turkey Creek. He graduated from John Tarleton College Academy High School at Stephenville and then from John Tarleton Junior College (now Tarleton State University), where he subsequently taught for two years. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1933. After a year on the staff of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, he worked for the Associated Press in Dallas, Houston, and Amarillo. He became an Amarillo Globe-News staff member in 1937. In 1944 he was named associate editor of Country Gentleman, a farm periodical. After a year he returned to the Globe-News, where he worked until 1951. During his career as a journalist, Nordyke was also a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald. He served on the Texas Youth Council and the State Prison and Paroles board. He married Dorothy Beeman of Amarillo in 1935. They had two daughters.

Nordyke wrote five nonfiction books about Texas life: Cattle Empire: The Fabulous Story of the 3,000,000 Acre XIT (1949); Great Roundup: The Story of Texas and Southwestern Cowmen (1955); John Wesley Hardin: The Life of a Texas Outlaw (1957); The Truth About Texas (1957), informal essays about Texas regions; and Nubbin Ridge (1960), Nordyke's account of his early life on the farm, published after his death. He also published numerous articles in national periodicals, including Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, and Sports Afield. He died after a heart attack in Marfa on July 8, 1960, and was buried in the Llano Cemetery, Amarillo.

Saturday Evening Post, August 13, 1960.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters


  • Panhandle Region
  • Amarillo
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lou Rodenberger, “Nordyke, Lewis Thaddeus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 23, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: