The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

ogs Reveal rexas fulf Coast
story, 1866-1900
PHYLLIS COFFEE
FIVE OLD DIARIES, recording proof of the tragedies and trivi-
alities of those who lived in the Corpus Christi-Port
Aransas area from 1866 to the turn of the century, were
opened to the public eye in July, 1957.
Corpus Christi's La Retama Library has microfilm copies of
five of the six-or possibly seven-original diaries kept by Robert
A. Mercer, and later his sons, John G. and Edward T. Mercer,
pioneer pilots on the Port Aransas coast. Thorough daily records,
each beginning with the state of the wind and weather and ending
in the same manner, were kept only from 1866 through 1877 by
the chroniclers, but additions were made from time to time
until 1900oo.
Four of the weather-beaten books were loaned to La Retama
Library for microfilming purposes by R. L. Mercer of Aransas
Pass, grandson of the original log author, Robert A. Mercer. A
fifth diary was obtained from Mrs. L. B. Gentry of Corpus Christi,
also a grandchild of the first recorder. A sixth diary, written after
1881, was lost in the 1919 Corpus Christi hurricane when the
entire ground floor of one of the Mercer descendant's home was
destroyed. At the time, the other five logs, upstairs in the same
house, were left untouched by waters. Descendants believe that at
one time there was also a seventh log, since available records from
1870 through 1876 are not long enough to contain complete
information for these years.
The Mercer logs' existence as historical records was made known
to the public in July, 1957, when the Corpus Christi library se-
cured special microfilming permission from the family. The
Corpus Christi Caller-Times printed a series of four feature
articles concerning the logs and their contents from August 5
through August 8 that year.
Written in the curiously stilted language of old-time ship logs,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed July 31, 2014.