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530Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril Historic Texas from the Air deserves a place on the bookshelves of teachers and students of Texas history, as well as those with a general interest in the subject . It is both a work of scholarship and art, and it offers a rare and important perspective. League City, TexasElizabeth Chapman New Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas. Compiled by Galen D. Greaser. (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 2009. Pp. 344. Illustrations, figures, glossary, bibliography, index. $15.00 paper.) Don't let die title mislead you. This New Guideis much more thanjust a revamping of the 1 988 index to the Spanish and Mexican land grants available from the Texas General Land Office. Based on Virginia H. Taylor's 1976 Index to Spanhh and Mexican Land Grants and on the 1 988 guide written by William Todd IV under the direction ofJesús F. de la Teja, this New Guide is written by Galen D. Greaser, a 25-year veteran of the General Land Office. In this work Greaser provides the best and most extensive overview of the history ofland grants in South Texas from 1740 to the twentieth century. The history, tided Once Upon a River" encompasses the first half of the book, more than 150 pages, and includes four appendices , while the second half provides a far more detailed and complete list of the land grant records. Galen Greaser's keen interest in the history of Hispanics in Texas has led him to research South Texas land grants. His scholarship is amply evident in the many footnotes and in the in-depth research into the materials available from the historic archives in Saltillo, Monterrey, Mexico City, and Seville. He begins by addressing the questions he is most frequently asked at the GLO relating to the sensitive issues of land loss and mineral rights raised by the descendants of early Tejano settlers. His history of the first settlements byJosé de Escandón is admirably complete and he covers in detail the foundation of the villas and the porciones grants made along the Rio Grande. He includes excellent maps of both the grants and the porcioneswith the names of the original owners. Greaser does a masterfuljob of explaining the many problems faced by landowners during the years of upheaval as Spanish control gave way to Mexican independence, the Texas Revolution, and finally annexation to the United States. As Greaser points out, the Spanish and Mexican land grants of South Texas have produced "prolonged controversy, confusion, mistrust, bitterness and litigation " (3) between the descendants of the original Spanish setders and the newer Anglo arrivals. Greaser addresses the conflicts with dispassion and objectivity, providing facts from the records to support his arguments. He concludes his historical essay with a look to the future, hoping that new arrivals from south of the Rio Grande "will find the historical bridges of opportunity Texas once offered the honest and industrious individual." (149) Particularly fascinating are Greaser's four appendices. These four studies provide the details of the arguments over individual land grants, the problems of accurate surveys, the difficulties associated with mineral rights, and the complexi- 2Oi o Book Reviews531 ties of Mexican land laws. Appendix II reveals that the original records from San Luis Potosí discovered by John G. Kenedy show a survey of the La Barreta tract which "differed materially from the location claimed by Kenedy and the other owners" (159). Kenedy did not reveal his discovery and acquired thousands of additional acres as a result of the subsequent court cases. This New Guide, with its carefully researched history and its fascinating appendices , is an essential source of information for anyone interested in early Texas. Galen Greaser has done an outstandingjob of providing us with a more detailed view of a complex subject. This inexpensive book should be part of every Texas historian's library. Sam Houston State UniversityCarolina Castillo Crimm Journey to Goliad. By Melodie A. Cuate. (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2009. Pp. 182. Illustrations, maps, list of characters, glossary, notes. ISBN 9780896726499, $17.95 cloth.) Yet again, Ms. Cuate has taken the reader on an action-packed field trip into the past with the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 530-531
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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