The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

Book Reviews

Charles Stillman, 1z8o-1875. New York (Privately printed), 1956.
Pp. xii+72. Illustrations, bibliography, index, errata sheet.
The materials for this short biography were assembled by H.
Minot Pitman and published for Chauncey Devereaux Stillman
of the third generation of Stillmans. There are two chapters, one
devoted to the life of Charles Stillman (pp. 3-35) and the other
to his children (pp. 35-41). There are three appendices: The
Ancestry of Charles Stillman and His Wife; The Descendants of
Charles Stillman; The Brothers and Sisters of Charles Stillman.
There is also a short commentary on sources and a very useful
index. The book is considerably enriched by eleven illustrations,
mostly photographs or reproductions of paintings of various mem-
bers of the family.
The book is short, but in spite of its brevity, Charles Stillman,
Don Carlos as he was known in Mexico, emerges from its few
pages in rather clear outline. For instance, he was a man who
conducted his affairs with intelligence and great honesty, as the
author said "according to the standards of the time,"-but did not
"balk" at bribing Mexican officials.
He became a millionaire partly through his activities in found-
ing the town of Brownsville, and partly through his shipping
interests. In these business affairs he kept his own counsel, con-
sulted no one. On one occasion he was accused of being influenced
in some business deal by the widow of his nephew. About this
Stillman wrote a quick and decisive answer that all the "women
between heaven and hell" could not influence him. "Was I ever
known to consult man, woman, or beast in my affairs?" he wrote.
The biographee is here pictured a hard-hitting individualistic
pioneer, interested in any activity-mining, ranching, real estate,
transportation-that would show a profit. He engaged in the
cotton business during the Civil War, but when one of "Lincoln's
sloops of war" appeared to break up the trade he became discour-
aged and wrote that "all is vanity except cows and mares, a
blockader cannot prevent them from having calfs [sic] and colts."
Stillman, described by his eldest son as a harsh man, had a
tender side and showed constant solicitude for his family and
those about him. He was unstinting in his generosity toward
Brownsville though he said little about it. That he had a human

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed May 24, 2015.