The true story of an immigrant boy born in Scotland who sails to North America with his parents when he was a year and a half old to live first in Canada and then New York City. How he came to Texas at twenty-one and with nothing but a wooden box of carpentry tools built a large family and an even larger ranching operation in West Texas. It gives you an inside look at the epic struggle they had with Indians, outlaws, Mexicans, droughts, floods, pestilence and a thousand other things to build this beautiful but hard-fought life for his family.

It was only after receiving copies of his great-grandparents’ obituaries from an elderly family member that Winston Menzies discovered the need to document his family’s history before it was lost to future generations. It wasn’t until he realized that if he didn’t do it, no one else probably would, that Winston began the information gathering process in earnest. And even then, he never imagined a book like The Spirit of Texas would be the end result.

“I had no idea what I was getting into,” he admitted. “I thought it would be maybe fifteen or twenty pages of interesting facts about the family, but I just kept uncovering more and more information. It ended up taking me four years to write the book. It was a real joy and labor of love. Still I never dreamed The Spirit of Texas would be what it has turned out to be.”

Asked what he’d like his readers to take away from the book, Winston said he hoped they’ll be inspired. “I would like for them to recognize that God created them for a reason and that they have the genius to do something important with their lives. That’s what I hope for. That they realize they can be independent and work for something meaningful in life against great odds just as my great-grandparents and all the men and women who settled Texas did. It’s still possible today.

“I would like for them to recognize that God created them for a reason and that they have the genius to do something important with their lives.”


“The Spirit of Texas” is a historical family insight of one state’s reflection of “American Exceptionalism.” Raw, rugged men and women of noble character building a nation from grit, courage and compassion. A free, industrious people, unyielding to defeat and seeing their cut of cloth as identical to our Framers who were independent, self-reliant and God-fearing. The “Texas Spirit” is still alive today and that Lone Star still carries the weight of 50 not bowing to perverse ideology but acknowledging the laws of nature and nature’s Creator. That spirit still stands today as a “beacon of light” in our schools, churches, centers of commerce and government for a whole nation to draw upon.

John Sauers, Tea Party Founder Loganville, Georgia

Bravo! The Spirit of Texas tells the truth about the real Texas and the people who first settled it. Being raised in this ranching territory as a descendant of ranching families, I can testify that this is a genuine story of a West Texas pioneer family that managed to succeed in spite of many hardships. Through these difficulties and their love for the Lord they became stronger. The spirit of Texas is still alive and well today in this great state because of our ancestors’ true grit and independent spirit. God bless Texas!

Lee Weddell Puckitt Immediate Past President Texas Sheep and Goat raisers Assn.

The Spirit of Texas is the story of one family’s heritage, the building of their ranches as well as their participation in the construction of the great state of Texas around them. It is a wonderful personal story that will engage and delight many Texans young and old and would be a perfect supplement to Texas History for students and adults alike. It is not one of those histories that has been “sanitized” to remove any reference to our ancestors’ Christian faith but faithfully presents life as the pioneer Texans lived, worked, struggled and died for it.”

Tim Lambert, President Texas Home School Coalition

Among the sons of Scotland are famous explorers and botanists who visited faraway lands including one who was the first European to ascend Hawaii’s mighty Mauna Loa and another was first to the North Pole. They discovered new plants and animals and performed grand experiments. William Menzies, the subject of his biography, called The Spirit of Texas was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and as a baby immigrated to Canada with his family in 1856. He settled in West Texas, where he met and married Letha Ann Chastain in 1888.
The Spirit of Texas, written by his great-grandson Winston Menzies, records how his great-grandparents survived against all manner of trials, prospered and raised eight children on a remote Texas ranch by the San Saba River. They succeeded by their faith in God, hard work and dedication to family and to one another. The Menzies story is an intriguing, adventuresome reminder of the pioneering spirit that made rural Texas so unique. It is also an admonition of how we have abandoned so much of what made this nation possible. As the author observes in his epilogue, “If we lose the history of where we came from, we certainly won’t know where we are going. God help us to at least leave it the way we found it and, hopefully, by His grace, make it even a little better.”

Forrest M. Mims III, "The Country Scientist" Writer for Scientific Journals and the San Antonio Express-News Named one of the "50 Best Scientists" by Discover Magazine