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Early Historians of the Lone Star State
Bluebonnets and tumbleweeds, gunslingers and cattle barons all form part of the romanticized lore of the state of Texas. It has an image as a larger-than-life land of opportunity, represented by oil derricks pumping black gold from arid land and cattle grazing seemingly endless plains. In this historiography of eighteenth– and nineteenth–century chronologies of the state, Laura McLemore traces the roots of the enduring Texas myths and tries to understand both the purposes and the methods of early historians. Two central findings emerge: first, what is generally referred to as the Texas myth was a reality to earlier historians, and second, myth has always been an integral part of Texas history. Myth provided the impetus for some of the earliest European interest in the land that became Texas. Beyond these two important conclusions, McLemore’s careful survey of early Texas historians reveals that they were by and large painstaking and discriminating researchers whose legacy includes documentary sources that can no longer be found elsewhere. McLemore shows that these historians wrote general works in the spirit of their times and had agendas that had little to do with simply explaining a society to itself in cultural terms. From Juan Agustin Morfi’s Historia through Henderson Yoakum’s History of Texas to the works of Dudley Wooten, George Pierce Garrison, and Lester Bugbee, the portrayal of Texas history forms a pattern. In tracing the development of this pattern, McLemore provides not only a historiography but also an intellectual history that gives insight into the changing culture of Texas and America itself. Early Texas historians came from all walks of life, from priests to bartenders, and this book reveals the unique contributions of each to the fabric of state history . A must–read for lovers of Texas history, Inventing Texas illuminates the intricate blend of nostalgia and narrative that created the state’s most enduring iconography.
Heritage and Carnival in San Antonio
Fiesta San Antonio began in 1891 and through the twentieth century expanded from a single parade to over two hundred events spanning a ten-day period. Laura Hernández-Ehrisman examines Fiesta's development as part of San Antonio's culture of power relations between men and women, Anglos and Mexicanos.
My Spirited Life in West Texas and Austin
On the southern portion of what was known as the Sibley’s Pezuna del Caballo (Horse’s Hoof) Ranch in West Texas’ Culberson County are two mountains that nearly meet, forming a gap that frames a salt flat where Indians and later, pioneers came to gather salt to preserve foodstuffs. According to the US Geological Survey, the gap that provides this breathtaking and historic view is named “Jane’s Window.”
In Jane’s Window: My Spirited Life in West Texas and Austin, Jane Dunn Sibley, the inimitable namesake of that mountain gap, gives readers a similarly enchanting view: she tells the story of a small-town West Texas girl coming into her own in Texas’ capital city, where her commitment to philanthropy and the arts and her flair for fashion—epitomized by her signature buzzard feather—have made her name a society staple.
Growing up during the Depression in Fort Stockton, Jane Sibley learned first-hand the value of hard work and determination. In what she describes as “a more innocent age,” she experienced the “pleasant life” of a rural community with good schools, friends and neighbors, and daily dips in the Comanche Springs swimming pool. She arrived as a student at the University of Texas only ninety days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and studied art under such luminaries as sculptor Charles Umlauf. Her enchanting stories of returning to Fort Stockton, working in the oil industry, marrying local doctor D. J. Sibley, and rearing a family evoke both her love for her origins and her clear-eyed aspirations.
The Sibleys never discussed the details of their good fortune, and, to their gratitude, no one ever asked. In Jane’s Window, Sibley narrates travel adventures, shares vignettes of famous visitors, and tells of her favorite causes, among which the Austin Symphony and the preservation of lower Pecos prehistoric rock art are especially prominent.
Peopled with vivid characters and told in Sibley’s uniquely down-to-earth and humorous manner, Jane’s Window paints a portrait of a life filled to the brim with events both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Building on his earlier work, A History of the Jews in New Mexico, Henry Tobias incorporates new material and sources in this updated volume. He demonstrates how Jewish awareness in New Mexico following World War II gave rise to significant cultural and political influence, introducing writers, musicians, and such artists as Ira Moskowitz, Arthur Sussman, and Judy Chicago to the state's flourishing art scene.
Lawman and Rancher
“Texas, by God!” cried notorious killer John Wesley Hardin when he saw a Colt .45 pointed at him on a train in Florida. At the other end of the pistol stood Texas Ranger John B. Armstrong. Hardin’s arrest assured Armstrong a place in history, but his story is larger, fuller, and even more important—and until now it has never been told. Serving in the Rangers’ famed Frontier Battalion from 1875 to 1878, Armstrong rode with Captain L. H. McNelly in the capture of King Fisher, was called to Round Rock when Sam Bass was cornered, and helped patrol the region caught in the Taylor-Sutton Feud. His more lasting legacy, though, was as founder of the Armstrong Ranch, an operation that remains active and important to this day. From this family base he helped change ranching techniques and was an important sponsor for bringing the railroads to South Texas. In the 1890s he joined a special Ranger division that supplemented the force’s efforts, especially in pursuit and apprehension of gunmen and cattle rustlers in the region. As Elmer Kelton notes in his afterword to this book, “Chuck Parsons’ biography is a long-delayed and much-justified tribute to Armstrong’s service to Texas.” Parsons fills in the missing details of a Ranger and rancher’s life, correcting some common misconceptions and adding to the record of a legendary group of lawmen and pioneers.
Find out more about this title here: http://johnhillfortexas.com/ During his distinguished career, John L. Hill Jr. served as secretary of state, attorney general, and chief justice of the state supreme court—the only person to hold all three state offices. Hill's office played a significant role in vastly expanding Texas consumer protections, waging war against wholesale rate increases by AT&T/Southwestern Bell; and resolving the disposition of Howard Hughes's fabled estate to bring tens of millions of dollars into Texas coffers. Before Hill's death in July 2007, Ernie Stromberger, journalist and Hill's longtime friend, worked with him to craft this first-person narrative.
His Life and Times from the Hoo Doo War to Tombstone, Second Edition
Few names in the lore of western gunmen are as recognizable. Few lives of the most notorious are as little known. Romanticized and made legendary, John Ringo fought and killed for what he believed was right. As a teenager, Ringo was rushed into sudden adulthood when his father was killed tragically in the midst of the family's overland trek to California. As a young man he became embroiled in the blood feud turbulence of post-Reconstruction Texas. The Mason County “Hoo Doo” War in Texas began as a war over range rights, but it swiftly deteriorated into blood vengeance and spiraled out of control as the body count rose. In this charnel house Ringo gained a reputation as a dangerous gunfighter and man killer. He was proclaimed throughout the state as a daring leader, a desperate man, and a champion of the feud. Following incarceration for his role in the feud, Ringo was elected as a lawman in Mason County, the epicenter of the feud’s origin. The reputation he earned in Texas, further inflated by his willingness to shoot it out with Victorio’s raiders during a deadly confrontation in New Mexico, preceded him to Tombstone in territorial Arizona. Ringo became immersed in the area’s partisan politics and factionalized violence. A champion of the largely Democratic ranchers, Ringo would become known as a leader of one of these elements, the Cowboys. He ran at bloody, tragic odds with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, finally being part of the posse that hounded these fugitives from Arizona. In the end, Ringo died mysteriously in the Arizona desert, his death welcomed by some, mourned by others, wrongly claimed by a few. Initially published in 1996, John Ringo has been updated to a second edition with much new information researched and uncovered by David Johnson and other Ringo researchers.
Romeo and Juliet, West Texas Style
In the early 1900s, two families in Scurry and Kent counties in West Texas united in a marriage of fourteen-year-old Gladys Johnson to twenty-one-year-old Ed Sims. Billy Johnson, the father, set up Gladys and Ed on a ranch, and the young couple had two daughters. But Gladys was headstrong and willful, and Ed drank too much, and both sought affection outside their marriage. A nasty divorce ensued, and Gladys moved with her girls to her father’s luxurious ranch house, where she soon fell in love with famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. When Ed tried to take his daughters for a prearranged Christmas visit in 1916, Gladys and her brother Sid shot him dead on the Snyder square teeming with shoppers. One of the best lawyers in West Texas, Judge Cullen Higgins (son of the old feudist Pink Higgins) managed to win acquittal for both Gladys and Sid. In the tradition of Texas feudists since the 1840s, the Sims family sought revenge. Sims’ son-in-law, Gee McMeans, led an attack in Sweetwater and shot Billy Johnson’s bodyguard, Frank Hamer, twice, while Gladys—by now Mrs. Hamer—fired at another assassin. Hamer shot back, killed McMeans, and was no-billed on the spot by a grand jury watching the shootout through a window. An attempt against Billy Johnson failed, but a three-man team shotgunned the widely respected Cullen Higgins. Texas Rangers and other lawmen caught one of the assassins, extracted a confession, and then prompted his “suicide” in a Sweetwater jail cell.
Soldier and Frontiersman of the Spanish Southwest, 1627–1693
Studies of seventeenth-century New Mexico have largely overlooked the soldiers and frontier settlers who formed the backbone of the colony and laid the foundations of European society in a distant outpost of Spain’s North American empire. This book, the final volume in the Coronado Historical Series, recognizes the career of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza, a soldier-colonist who was as instrumental as any governor or friar in shaping Hispano-Indian society in New Mexico. Domínguez de Mendoza served in New Mexico from age thirteen to fifty-eight as a stalwart defender of Spain’s interests during the troubled decades before the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Because of his successful career, the archives of Mexico and Spain provide extensive information on his activities. The documents translated in this volume reveal more cooperative relations between Spaniards and Pueblo Indians than previously understood.
From the King Ranch to the White House
On September 20, 1988, Lauro Cavazos became the first Hispanic in the history of the United States to be appointed to the Cabinet, when thenvice president George H. W. Bush swore him in as secretary of education. Cavazos, born on the legendary King Ranch in South Texas and educated in a two-room ranch schoolhouse, served until December 1990, after which he returned to his career in medical education and academic administration. In this engaging memoir, he recounts not only his years in Washington but also the childhood influences and life experiences that informed his policies in office. The ranch, he says, taught him how to live. These pages are full of glimpses into life on the famous ranch. Cavazos tells of Christmas parties, cattle work, and schooling. In his home, he was introduced to a natural bilingualism: he and his siblings were encouraged to speak only English with their father and only Spanish with their mother. Cavazos describes the high educational expectations his parents held. After service in World War II, Cavazos went to college and earned a doctorate from Iowa State University, launching him on a career in medical education. In 1980 he returned to his alma mater, Texas Tech University, as its tenth presidentthe first Hispanic and the first graduate of the university to serve in that post. As secretary of education, Cavazos stressed a commitment to reading. Indeed, he once told a group of educators that the curriculum for the first three years of school should be “reading, reading, and more reading.” His career is as interesting as it is inspiring, and Cavazos’ memoir joins the ranks of emerging success stories by Mexican Americans that will provide models for aspiring young people today.