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Captain W. W. Withenbury's 1838–1842 "Red River Reminiscences"

Edited and Annotated by Jacques D. Bagur

W. W. Withenbury was a famous river boat captain during the mid-1800s. In retirement, he wrote a series of letters for the Cincinnati Commercial, under the title "Red River Reminiscences." Jacques Bagur has selected and annotated 39 letters describing three steamboat voyages on the upper Red River from 1838 to 1842. Withenbury was a master of character and incident, and his profiles of persons, including three signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, reflect years of acquaintance. The beauty of his writing ranks this among the best of the reminiscences that were written as the steamboat era was declining.

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Capture These Indians for the Lord

Indians, Methodists, and Oklahomans, 1844-1939

Tash Smith

In 1844, on the heels of the final wave of the forced removal of thousands of Indians from the southern United States to what is now Oklahoma, the Southern Methodist Church created a separate organization known as the Indian Mission Conference to oversee its missionary efforts among the Native communities of Indian Territory. Initially, the Church conducted missions as part of the era’s push toward assimilation. But what the primarily white missionaries quickly encountered was a population who exerted more autonomy than they expected and who used Christianity to protect their culture, both of which frustrated those eager to bring Indian Territory into what they felt was mainstream American society.

In Capture These Indians for the Lord, Tash Smith traces the trajectory of the Southern Methodist Church in Oklahoma when it was at the frontlines of the relentless push toward western expansion. Although many Native people accepted the missionaries’ religious practices, Smith shows how individuals found ways to reconcile the Methodist force with their traditional cultural practices. When the white population of Indian Territory increased and Native sovereignty came under siege during the allotment era of the 1890s, white communities marginalized Indians within the Church and exploited elements of mission work for their own benefit.

Later, with white indifference toward Indian missions peaking in the early twentieth century, Smith explains that as the remnants of the Methodist power weakened, Indian membership regained control and used the Church to regenerate their culture. Throughout, Smith explores the complex relationships between white and Indian community members and how these phenomena shaped Methodist churches in the twentieth century.

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Celebrating 100 Years of the Texas Folklore Society, 1909-2009

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor

The Texas Folklore Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious organizations in the state. Its secret for longevity lies in those things that make it unique, such as its annual meeting that seems more like a social event or family reunion than a formal academic gathering. This book examines the Society’s members and their substantial contributions to the field of folklore over the last century. Some articles focus on the research that was done in the past, while others offer studies that continue today. For example, L. Patrick Hughes explores historical folk music, while Meredith Abarca focuses on Mexican American folk healers and the potential direction of research on them today. Other articles are more personal reflections about why our members have been drawn to the TFS for fellowship and fun. This book does more than present a history of the Texas Folklore Society: it explains why the TFS has lasted so long, and why it will continue.

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Chasing Dichos through Chimayó

Don J. Usner

The poetic proverbs known to nuevomexicanos as dichos are particular to their places of origin. In these reflections on the dichos of the Chimayó Valley in northern New Mexico native son Don J. Usner has written a memoir that is also a valuable source of information on the rich language and culture of the region. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs that Usner, who is also known for his photographic work, took of the people and places that he writes about, this book is a one-of-a-kind introduction to the real New Mexico.

Usner has known Chimayó since he was a boy visiting his grandmother and the other village elders, who taught him genealogies going back to family origins in Spain. The Spanish he learned there was embedded in dichos and cuentos. This book is the result of Usner’s research into these memorable sayings, and it preserves a language and a culture on the verge on dissolution. It is a gateway into a uniquely New Mexican way of life.

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Chasing the Santa Fe Ring

Power and Privilege in Territorial New Mexico

David L. Caffey

Anyone who has even a casual acquaintance with the history of New Mexico in the nineteenth century has heard of the Santa Fe Ring—seekers of power and wealth in the post–Civil War period famous for public corruption and for dispossessing land holders. Surprisingly, however, scholars have alluded to the Ring but never really described this shadowy entity, which to this day remains a kind of black hole in New Mexico’s territorial history. David Caffey looks beyond myth and symbol to explore its history. Who were its supposed members, and what did they do to deserve their unsavory reputation? Were their actions illegal or unethical? What were the roles of leading figures like Stephen B. Elkins and Thomas B. Catron? What was their influence on New Mexico’s struggle for statehood?

Caffey’s book tells the story of the rise and fall of this remarkably durable alliance.

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The Chosen Folks

Jews on the Frontiers of Texas

By Bryan Edward Stone

Texas has one of the largest Jewish populations in the South and West, comprising an often-overlooked vestige of the Diaspora. The Chosen Folks brings this rich aspect of the past to light, going beyond single biographies and photographic histories to explore the full evolution of the Jewish experience in Texas. Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials and synthesizing earlier research, Bryan Edward Stone begins with the crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in the late sixteenth century and then discusses the unique Texas-Jewish communities that flourished far from the acknowledged centers of Jewish history and culture. The effects of this peripheral identity are explored in depth, from the days when geographic distance created physical divides to the redefinitions of “frontier” that marked the twentieth century. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement are covered as well, raising provocative questions about the attributes that enabled Texas Jews to forge a distinctive identity on the national and world stage. Brimming with memorable narratives, The Chosen Folks brings to life a cast of vibrant pioneers. Jewish History, Life, and Culture Michael Neiditch, Series Editor

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Circuit Riders for Mental Health

The Hogg Foundation in Twentieth-Century Texas

William S. Bush

Circuit Riders for Mental Health explores for the first time the transformation of popular understandings of mental health, the reform of scandal-ridden hospitals and institutions, the emergence of community mental health services, and the extension of mental health services to minority populations around the state of Texas. Author William S. Bush focuses especially on the years between 1940 and 1980 to demonstrate the dramatic, though sometimes halting and conflicted, progress made in Texas to provide mental health services to its people over the second half of the twentieth century. At the story’s center is the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, a private-public philanthropic organization housed at the University of Texas.

For the first three decades of its existence, the Hogg Foundation was the state’s leading source of public information, policy reform, and professional education in mental health. Its staff and allies throughout the state described themselves as “circuit riders” as they traveled around Texas to introduce urban and rural audiences to the concept of mental health, provide consultation for all manner of social services, and sometimes intervene in thorny issues surrounding race, ethnicity, gender, class, region, and social and cultural change.

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Civil War General and Indian Fighter James M. Williams

Leader of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and the 8th U.S. Cavalry

Robert W. Lull

The military career of General James Monroe Williams spanned both the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the West, yet no biography has been published to date on his important accomplishments, until now. From his birth on the northern frontier, westward movement in the Great Migration, rush into the violence of antebellum Kansas Territory, Civil War commands in the Trans-Mississippi, and as a cavalry officer in the Indian Wars, Williams was involved in key moments of American history. Like many who make a difference, Williams was a leader of strong convictions, sometimes impatient with heavy-handed and sluggish authority. Building upon his political opinions and experience as a Jayhawker, Williams raised and commanded the ground-breaking 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862. His new regiment of black soldiers was the first such organization to engage Confederate troops, and the first to win. He enjoyed victories in Missouri, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), and Arkansas, but also fought in the abortive Red River Campaign and endured defeat and the massacre of his captured black troops at Poison Spring. In 1865, as a brigadier general, Williams led his troops in consolidating control of northern Arkansas. Williams played a key role in taking Indian Territory from Confederate forces, which denied routes of advance into Kansas and east into Arkansas. His 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment helped turn the tide of Southern successes in the Trans-Mississippi, establishing credibility of black soldiers in the heat of battle. Following the Civil War, Williams secured a commission in the Regular Army’s 8th Cavalry Regiment, serving in Arizona and New Mexico. His victories over Indians in Arizona won accolades for having “settled the Indian question in that part of Arizona.” He finally left the military in 1873, debilitated from five wounds received at the hands of Confederates and hostile Indians.

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A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia

Jerry D. Thompson

The Civil War in New Mexico began in 1861 with the Confederate invasion and occupation of the Mesilla Valley. At the same time, small villages and towns in New Mexico Territory faced raids from Navajos and Apaches. In response the commander of the Department of New Mexico Colonel Edward Canby and Governor Henry Connelly recruited what became the First and Second New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. In this book leading Civil War historian Jerry Thompson tells their story for the first time, along with the history of a third regiment of Mounted Infantry and several companies in a fourth regiment.

Thompson’s focus is on the Confederate invasion of 1861–1862 and its effects, especially the bloody Battle of Valverde. The emphasis is on how the volunteer companies were raised; who led them; how they were organized, armed, and equipped; what they endured off the battlefield; how they adapted to military life; and their interactions with New Mexico citizens and various hostile Indian groups, including raiding by deserters and outlaws. Thompson draws on service records and numerous other archival sources that few earlier scholars have seen. His thorough accounting will be a gold mine for historians and genealogists, especially the appendix, which lists the names of all volunteers and militia men.

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Civil War Texas

Ralph A. Wooster

Written by one of the deans of Texas history, Civil War Texas provides an authoritative, comprehensive description of Texas during the Civil War as well as a guide for those who wish to visit sites in Texas associated with the war. In one compact volume, the reader or tourist is led on an exciting historical journey through Civil War Texas.

Because most of the great battles of the Civil War were fought east of the Mississippi River, it is often forgotten that Texas made major contributions to the war effort in terms of men and supplies. Over 70,000 Texans served in the Confederate army during the war and fought in almost every major battle. Ordnance works, shops, and depots were established for the manufacture and repair of weapons of war, and Texas cotton shipped through Mexico was exchanged for weapons and ammunition.

The state itself was the target of the Union army and navy. Galveston, the principal seaport, was occupied by Federal forces for three months and blockaded by the Union navy for four years. Brownsville, Port Lavaca, and Indianola were captured, and Sabine Pass, Corpus Christi, and Laredo were all under enemy attack. A major Federal attempt to invade East Texas by way of Louisiana was stopped only a few miles from the Texas border.

The Civil War had significant impact upon life within the state. The naval blockade created shortages requiring Texans to find substitutes for various commodities such as coffee, salt, ink, pins, and needles. The war affected Texas women, many of whom were now required to operate farms and plantations in the absence of their soldier husbands. As the author points out in the narrative, not all Texans supported the Confederacy. Many Texans, especially in the Hill Country and North Texas, opposed secession and attempted either to remain neutral or work for a Union victory. Over two thousand Texans, led by future governor Edmund J. Davis, joined the Union army.

In this carefully researched work, Ralph A. Wooster describes Texas's role in the war. He also notes the location of historical markers, statues, monuments, battle sites, buildings, and museums in Texas which may be visited by those interested in learning more about the war. Photographs, maps, chronology, end notes, and bibliography provide additional information on Civil War Texas.

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