In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

446Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril audiors' point diat Natchitoches remained a predominandy French and African creĆ³le community where the few outsiders allowed inside became culturally "Gallic" in a slave society that resembled the Eastern Seaboard, if not the Caribbean, more than the backcountry at the turn of the nineteenth century. OurLady ofthe Lake UniversityFrancis X. Galan They Slept upon Their Rifles. By Marshall E. Kuykendall. (Austin: Nortex Press, 2005. Pp. 416. Illustrations, notes, index. ISBN 9781571689931, $50.00 clotii.) Marshall Kuykendall, a self-described amateur writer and historian, offers a well-documented look at the trek of his ancestors across the North American continent that began in 1645. In addition to his own research, the author has compiled an impressive amount of data from genealogists and family historians around die nation. He begins with a discussion of the family surname, which researchers have concluded was manufactured by an American ancestor around 1 700 and has no provable Old World ties. He then provides a broad overview of the various paths taken by different ancestors. Next, he explores his own paternal lineage. His ancestors left die original Dutch colony of New Amsterdam and traveled southwest ; following long-established American Indian trails along the Appalachian Mountains into eastern Pennsylvania, eastern West Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee. From there, they followed the trails through the Cumberland Gap and Tennessee, into Kentucky. Robert H. Kuykendall, the author's great-great-great-great grandfather, left Kentucky to join Stephen F. Austin's first group of three hundred Anglos to settle in the Mexican state of Texas y Coahuila. The next (and most detailed) section is a collection of biographies, beginning with diat of Robert Kuykendall and concluding with the author's autobiography. The narratives are drawn from official records, personal letters, and family anecdotes passed down through the generations, and records and stories concerning the family's involvement in the colonization, revolution, and statehood of Texas predominate. One of the most intriguing anecdotes alleges a conspiracy between then-Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson and San Marcos city officials in the late 1930s to condemn privately held property in Hays County for use as a massive military base. The audior's involvement in the 1990s property rights movement known as "Take Back Texas" is also of interest. There are an additional ten biographies of the author's non-linear ancestors, several of whom were also Old Three Hundred members. The entire book is peppered with images of drawings, maps, photos, and letters, along with transcriptions of official land tides, military service records, letters, and family vital statistics. The final section includes family deadi records in Texas for die twentieth century and a record of all family members from Texas who served in the Civil War. The audior's stated goal was to gather a vast array of family records into an 20ogBook Reviews447 accessible format and place diem in the public domain for easy access by future generations whom he believes should not be forced to search for those records "under the bed of some old lady." The author's desire to impart unbiased and uncensored family history is evidenced in his lamentation of the deliberate destruction of presumably "embarrassing" family records by a deceased aunt and the machinations of anodier relative who purposefully changed the names ofvarious family members recorded in an old diary, presumably to protect their reputations . In addition, Kuykendall does not shy away from sharing his ancestor's personal foibles and peccadilloes. On die contrary, he embraces dieir character flaws and failings as essential to understanding his family's history. His enthusiasm for genealogical and historical research is evident throughout, most notably in the almost ubiquitous parenthetical asides expressing personal reactions or commentary. They Slept upon Their Rifles is a compelling genealogical tale of the Kuykendall family, which historian William Goetzmann compares to Louis Lamour's fictional Sackett family. Goetzmann's endorsement, along with that of Ron Tyler, Al Lowman, and Mike Cox, confirm this as a worthwhile read for Texas history enthusiasts. Academic historians will also find great value in the footnotes which point to substantial amounts of primary source material, much of which is to be found in the Center...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 446-447
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.