- A Day’s Ride from Here
Clifford R. Caldwell, a Texas Hill Country history aficionado, desired to write a local history book series based on areas one person could ride on horseback from Mountain Home and Noxville, Texas. The result, A Day’s Ride from Here, is a two volume series filled with interesting stories of the life and times of gunmen, Texas Rangers, and early pioneer settlements in the fascinating locale of the Texas Hill Country. His purpose was to allow readers to understand how heroes and happenings of the past helped create the foundation for the communities still in existence today. Kerr County, Texas, towns such as Mountain Home and Noxville have long histories of human inhabitants, and the period after the Civil War was particularly fraught with rough and rowdy characters. These individuals, such as John Wesley Hardin and Frank Eastwood, encompass a large portion of Caldwell’s work. Outlaws, cowboys, and Indians are not the only important figures in this collection; however, the towns themselves are equally represented as Caldwell sheds light on the enthralling and uniquely Texas background of Kerr County.
Caldwell drew on a plethora of secondary sources about Texas history, including a scattering of newspapers, but the stories would have benefitted from a more thorough gathering of primary source material. Many of the individuals and locales mentioned throughout the books are only given a cursory attention, but perhaps this was due to a limitation of overall book length rather than simply an oversight by the author. The chapters are laid out clearly by topic with photos that add significantly to the reader’s enjoyment of the material. Overall, Caldwell has written a very successful local history that will capture the interest of readers of Texas history longing for more examples of the wild and wooly Texas frontier days. A Day’s Ride from Here should be included in the libraries of all those seeking to know more of the many outlaws and ruffians who made their home in Kerr County, Texas, in the years following the Civil War. Caldwell’s books may be about a specific place on the Texas frontier, but the stories are representative of the legendary happenings occurring in towns across the state, and should please readers of all ages and historical backgrounds.