The Texan of 186o
ing in the past, and were now glad of a lawful opportunity to be a
Amelia Barr was an Englishwoman who lived in Austin from
1856 to 1866. Less sympathetic than her depiction of Texans in
186o is that of an Ohio school teacher named George Adams
Fisher, who lived in Collin and Denton counties, where more
recent settlers from the North expressed considerable Union sen-
timent. Fisher identified four classes of Texans: (i) the slave-
holding aristocracy, gentlemanly in manner and honorable in
dealings but "unscrupulous champions of human bondage"; (2)
a non-slaveholding class of respectable citizens-mostly Northern
men of "energy, enterprise, and intelligence"; (3) poor whites
from the Southern States, "an ignorant and degraded herd," few
of whom could read or write and all the slaves of prejudice; and
(4) scoundrels and blacklegs, "sharpers-men without principle
and morality." Classes (1) and (4), he said, were the ones who
exercised "a controlling influence over the ignorant white, who,
for a dram of whiskey, would vote for the devil."31 Fisher attrib-
uted mortality in the Confederate army to the delicacy of young
men unused to labor, even though he described Texans in the
cavalry as among the best horsemen in the world.
Olmstead's Journey through Texas and other travel books left
the impression that the mass of Southerners were "poor whites"
and that the planters were often equally crude and ignorant.
Raines's opinion that "no better book yet written of travels in
Texas; and by an intelligent student of our industrial system" is
in contrast with an article called "Texas" in De Bow's Review of
August, 1857, which was a caustic review of Olmstead, who, ac-
cording to the reviewer, found the opportunity "too tempting to
be resisted to revile and abuse the men and the society whose
open hospitality he undoubtedly enjoyed." What of the opinion
of other travelers? En route to California in 1857, John C. Reid
wrote of San Antonians:
I had no other opportunity of judging of the people than that
afforded during the few hours of the middle of that day-hence in
sOBarr, All the Days of My Life, 218-219.
s1George Adams Fisher, The Yankee Conscript: or Eighteen Months in Dixie
(Philadelphia, 1864), 61.
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 May 19, 2013.