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Enforcing Law on the Texas Frontier
Ira Aten (1862-1953) was the epitome of a frontier lawman. At age twenty he enrolled in Company D during the transition of the Rangers from Indian fighters to topnotch peace officers. This unit—and Aten—would have a lively time making their mark in nineteenth-century Texas. The preponderance of Texas Ranger treatments center on the outfit as an institution or spotlight the narratives of specific captains. Bob Alexander aptly demonstrated in Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901 that there is merit in probing the lives of everyday working Rangers. Aten is an ideal example. The years Ira spent as a Ranger are jam-packed with adventure, border troubles, shoot-outs, solving major crimes—a quadruple homicide—and manhunts. Aten’s role in these and epochal Texas events such as the racially insensitive Jaybird/Woodpecker Feud and the bloody Fence Cutting Wars earned Ira’s spot in the Ranger Hall of Fame. His law enforcing deeds transcend days with the Rangers. Ira served two counties as sheriff, terms spiked with excitement. Afterward, for ten years on the XIT, he was tasked with clearing the ranch’s Escarbada Division of cattle thieves. Aten’s story spins on an axis of spine-tingling Texas history. Moving to California, Ira was active in transforming the Imperial Valley from raw desert into an agricultural oasis. Unmistakably he was public spirited and committed to community betterment. Relying on primary source documents to build a platform for this meticulously researched and comprehensive biography with 1000 endnotes and 100 remarkable old-time photographs, Alexander gives us Ira Aten in the round—evenhandedly—the true story of a Ranger tough as rawhide.
A Naturalist's Odyssey along the Big Thicket's Snow River
When Geraldine Watson’s father was a teenager around the turn of the last century, he spent a summer floating down the Neches River, called Snow River by the Indians. Watson grew up hearing his tales of the steamboats, log rafts, and the flora and fauna of East Texas. So when she was sixty-three years old, she decided to repeat his odyssey in her own backwater boat. Reflections on the Neches is both the story of her journey retracing her father’s steps and a natural and social history of the Neches region of the Big Thicket. The Neches, one of the last “wild” rivers in Texas, is now being subjected to dams. Watson’s story captures the wildness of the river and imparts a detailed history of its people and wildlife. Profusely illustrated with drawings by the author and including maps of her journey, Reflections on the Neches will appeal to all those interested in the Big Thicket region and those indulging a feeling of wanderlust–and float trips–down the river.
Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry
This unique collection of narratives, essays, and poems includes an original interview with Maya Angelou and pieces by Naomi Shihab Nye, Pat Mora, Rosemary Catacalos, and many others. Each work relates how women have demonstrated courage by taking a risk that has changed their lives. The Introduction explores courage not as a battlefield quality, but as the result of thoughtful choices demonstrating integrity and self-awareness. Each section opens with a description of its organization and the significance of individual pieces. Themes include sustenance for living, faith in the unknown, the courage of choice, the seams of our lives, and crossing borders. The book begins with a conversation with Dr. Maya Angelou, the embodiment of a courageous woman. She urges readers to "Envision" and concludes the book with the wish "Good morning," inviting all to join her in a new day reflecting "The Power of One." Voices of racial and ethnic diversity speak throughout the work, underscoring both difference and unity in the female experience. Including role models for university audiences and powerful reflections of life experiences for older readers, this work serves many purposes: a textbook in Literature or Women's/Gender Studies classes, a focus for book study groups, and a source for providing perspective during quiet moments. All net proceeds from book sales will go to the WINGS nonprofit organization, recipient of Oprah's Angel Network award, providing uninsured women with free breast cancer surgery, radiation, counseling, and follow-up treatments such as chemotherapy. "I wish women could see themselves free. Just see and imagine what they could do if they were free of the national and international history of diminishment. Just imagine, if we could have a Madame Curie born in the nineteenth century, suppose that twenty other women had been liberated at the same time? That's what I wish for women: See it. Try to see yourself free. What would you do?"--from "Sources of Courage: An Interview with Dr. Maya Angelou"
The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War
The Road to Safwan is a complete history of the 1st Infantry Divisions cavalry unit fighting in Operation Desert Storm. Stephen A. Bourque and John W. Burdan III served in the 1st Infantry--Bourque in Division Headquarters, Burdan as the Operations Officer of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry. Based on extensive interviews and primary sources, Bourque and Burdan provide the most in-depth coverage to date of a battalion-level unit in the 1991 war, showing how the unit deployed, went into combat, and adapted to changing circumstances. The authors describe how the officers and men moved from the routine of cold war training to leading the Big Red One in battle through the Iraqi defenses and against the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry participated in the 1st Brigade attack on G-Day, the large tank battle for Objective Norfolk, the cutting of Basra Road, and the capture of Safwan Airfield, the site where General H. Norman Schwartzkopf conducted cease-fire negotiations with the Iraqis. The squadrons activities are placed squarely within the context of both division and corps activities, which illustrates the fog of war, the chain of command, and the uncertainty of information affecting command decisions. The Road to Safwan challenges the myth that technology won the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Contrary to popular view, it was a soldiers war not much different from previous conflicts in its general nature. What was different was the quality and intensity of the units training, which resulted, repeatedly, in successful engagements and objectives secured. It is the story of the people, not the machines, which ultimately led this squadron to the small town of Safwan. “The Road to Safwan is a magnificent story about one of the oldest and most decorated Cavalry Squadrons in the US Army. It is a most accurate description of the American soldier during the Desert Storm Operation of 1991. This work is about leadership and human emotions. One can feel the responsibility and pride of the leaders and their soldiers as the author walks you through their deployment and hard-fought battles in Iraq and Kuwait. The men of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry were asked to accomplish a lot; they never disappointed their superiors or themselves. This group of professional soldiers lived their motto Prepared and Loyal every day. This work is a must read for both military professionals and land warfare historians.”--LTG (ret) Thomas G. Rhame, Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division 1989-1991
A fifteen-year-old high school cheerleader is killed while driving on a dangerous curve one afternoon. By that night, her classmates have erected a roadside cross decorated with silk flowers, not as a grim warning, but as a loving memorial. In this study of roadside crosses, the first of its kind, Holly Everett presents the history of these unique commemoratives and their relationship to contemporary memorial culture. The meaning of these markers is presented in the words of grieving parents, high school students, public officials, and private individuals whom the author interviewed during her fieldwork in Texas. Everett documents over thirty-five memorial sites with twenty-five photographs representing the wide range of creativity. Examining the complex interplay of politics, culture, and belief, she emphasizes the importance of religious expression in everyday life and analyzes responses to death that this tradition. Roadside crosses are a meeting place for communication, remembrance, and reflection, embodying on-going relationships between the living and the dead. They are a bridge between personal and communal pain–and one of the oldest forms of memorial culture. Scholars in folklore, American studies, cultural geography, cultural/social history, and material culture studies will be especially interested in this study.
In Roseborough, Jane Roberts Wood returns with a keenly observed tale of bighearted people in small-town Texas. Three weeks after Mary Lou’s Gypsy husband dies, her fourteen-year-old daughter, Echo, runs away. Numbed by grief and grounded only by her job at the Dairy Queen, she impulsively signs up for Anne Hamilton’s single-parenting class at the nearby community college. Anne, complex and passionate, has avoided the risks that come with commitment. Knowing nothing of the stages of grief or the process of recovery, Mary Lou begins a sometimes comic, yet poignant, journey to find Echo. Compelled by Mary Lou’s story and her strange daughter, Anne begins her own journey that can ultimately set her free.
Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II
With the outbreak of World War II, British Royal Air Force (RAF) officials sought to train aircrews outside of England, safe from enemy attack and poor weather. In the United States six civilian flight schools dedicated themselves to instructing RAF pilots; the first, No. 1 British Flying Training School (BFTS), was located in Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas. Tom Killebrew explores the history of the Terrell Aviation School and its program with RAF pilots. Most of the early British students had never been in an airplane or even driven an automobile before arriving in Texas to learn to fly. The cadets trained in the air on aerobatics, instrument flight, and night flying, while on the ground they studied navigation, meteorology, engines, and armaments–even spending time in early flight simulators. By the end of the war, more than two thousand RAF cadets had trained at Terrell, cementing relations between Great Britain and the United States and forming lasting bonds with the citizens of Terrell.
Rangers, Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas
This first volume of the Savage Frontier series is a comprehensive account of the formative years of the legendary Texas Rangers, focusing on the three-year period between 1835 and 1837, when Texas was struggling to gain its independence from Mexico and assert itself as a new nation. Stephen L. Moore vividly portrays another struggle of the settlers of Texas to tame a wilderness frontier and secure a safe place to build their homes and raise their families. Moore provides fresh detail about each ranging unit formed during the Texas Revolution and narrates their involvement in the pivotal battle of San Jacinto. New ranger battalions were created following the revolution, after Indian attacks against settlers increased. One notorious attack occurred against the settlers of Parker's Fort, which had served as a ranger station during the revolution. By 1837 President Sam Houston had allowed the army to dwindle, leaving only a handful of ranging units to cover the vast Republic. These frontiersmen endured horse rustling raids and ambushes, fighting valiantly even when greatly outnumbered in battles such as the Elm Creek Fight, Post Oak Springs Massacre, and the Stone Houses Fight. Through extensive use of primary military documents and first-person accounts, Moore documents the organization of the early ranger units and their activities. Of particular interest to the reader will be the various rosters of the companies, which are found throughout the book. Many of these muster rolls have been compiled from multiple sources and not published together previously. For the exacting historian or genealogist of early Texas, the Savage Frontier series will be an indispensable resource on early nineteenth-century Texas frontier warfare.
Rangers, Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas
This second volume of the Savage Frontier series focuses on two of the bloodiest years of fighting in the young Texas Republic, 1838 and 1839. By early 1838, the Texas Rangers were in danger of disappearing altogether. Stephen L. Moore shows how the major general of the new Texas Militia worked around legal constraints in order to keep mounted rangers in service. Expeditions against Indians during 1838 and 1839 were frequent, conducted by militiamen, rangers, cavalry, civilian volunteer groups and the new Frontier Regiment of the Texas Army. From the Surveyors' Fight to the Battle of Brushy Creek, each engagement is covered in new detail. The volume concludes with the Cherokee War of 1839, which saw the assembly of more Texas troops than had engaged the Mexican army at San Jacinto. Moore fully covers the failed peace negotiations, the role of the Texas Rangers in this campaign, and the last stand of heroic Chief Bowles. Through extensive use of primary military documents and first-person accounts, Moore provides a clear view of life as a frontier fighter in the Republic of Texas. The reader will find herein numerous and painstakingly recreated muster rolls, as well as a complete list of Texan casualties of the frontier Indian wars from 1835 through 1839. For the exacting historian or genealogist of early Texas, the Savage Frontier series will be an indispensable resource on early nineteenth-century Texas frontier violence.
Rangers, Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas
This third volume of the Savage Frontier series focuses on the evolution of the Texas Rangers and frontier warfare in Texas during the years 1840 and 1841. Comanche Indians were the leading rival to the pioneers during this period. Peace negotiations in San Antonio collapsed during the Council House Fight, prompting what would become known as the Great Comanche Raid in the summer of 1840. Stephen L. Moore covers the resulting Battle of Plum Creek and other engagements in new detail. Rangers, militiamen, and volunteers made offensive sweeps into West Texas and the Cross Timbers area of present Dallas-Fort Worth. During this time Texass Frontier Regiment built a great military road, roughly parallel to modern Interstate 35. Moore also shows how the Colt repeating pistol came into use by Texas Rangers. Finally, he sets the record straight on the battles of the legendary Captain Jack Hays. Through extensive use of primary military documents and first-person accounts, Moore provides a clear view of life as a frontier fighter in the Republic of Texas. The reader will find herein numerous and painstakingly recreated muster rolls, as well as casualty lists and a compilation of 1841 rangers and minutemen. For the exacting historian or genealogist of early Texas, the Savage Frontier series is an indispensable resource on early nineteenth-century Texas frontier warfare.