RUDOLPH L. BIESELE, Editor
Anson Jones: The Last President of Texas. By Herbert Gambrell.
Garden City, N. Y. (Doubleday & Company, Inc.), 1948.
Pp. viii+462. Map, end-papers, and frontispiece. $5.00.
With the possible exception of Ashbel Smith, Anson Jones
was the most eminent physician of early Texas. It is surprising
that a century must pass before the work of these two men should
be presented in biographical form. Dr. Gambrell has filled this
deficiency in the case of Dr. Jones. Miss Harriet Smither,
'archivist of the Texas State Library, long a serious student of
Ashbel Smith, will, it is to be hoped, soon give the reading
public the benefit of her studies.
With a firm grasp of his subject, Dr. Gambrell depicts the life
of Anson Jones from a childhood of poverty in Massachusetts to
his untimely death in far-off Texas in 1858, sixty years later. In
this interval of time are crowded the many important, serious
and tragic, events of his life from schoolteacher and medical
student to his eventual elevation to the presidency of the Repub-
lic of Texas.
The author recognizes and treats with sympathetic under-
standing the dominant characteristic of Anson Jones's life. This
is an emotional personality which runs like a thread from his
cradle to his grave. Here was a timid and sensitive youngster,
the thirteenth child of the family, born in poverty, who would
have been content to become a saddle maker, like his father and
brothers. But his father and older sisters forced him into the
practice of medicine, for which he had no desire and little apti-
tude and at which he failed more often than he succeeded. And
he was to fail in business as well. By nature he was ill-prepared
to withstand "the bludgeonings of chance." Failure in all ven-
tures and escape into the warm selfishness of mint juleps and the
safe impersonal battle of dice and cards were his lot until Texas
found him. Defeat and frustration pursued him to the very mo-
ment he reached Texas. And then success in full measure was his
for twelve years. Texas gave him financial security and self-con-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed August 30, 2014.