OTIS A. SINGLETARY, Editor
Texas in 1837: An Anonymous Contemporary Narrative. Edited
by Andrew Forest Muir. Austin (University of Texas Press),
1958. Pp. xxii+232. $4.50.
This earliest written account of Texas as a Republic, entitled
"Notes on 'Texas," appeared originally in 1838 and 1839 in
Hesperian magazine, published in Columbus, Ohio. The author,
who must remain anonymous in spite of every effort of the editor
to track him down, had for obscure reasons journeyed from Ohio
to Galveston Island, where he arrived on March 22, 1837. Six
months of note-taking on Texas carried the author westward from
boisterous, newly-born Houston, then capital of Texas, to the
shrines and fandagoes of San Antonio de Bexar. The first week
in October found him aboard the outbound Phoenix, when the
Racer's hurricane inundated Galveston Island. The Phoenix rode
out the storm in Galveston Bay and within a few days probably
cleared for an eastern port.
In his westward trip the author went up Galveston Bay, San
Jacinto River, and Buffalo Bayou to Houston where he remained
for several weeks, noting that the land was poor, bread bad, and
butter, vegetables, and milk hard to find. Texas farmers, he
decided, had not yet found sufficient inducement to cause them
to produce more than needed for their own families. Texas beef,
however, was as good "as is to be found in any part of the world,
which may be had in the greatest abundance at from two to four
cents a pound." The anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto
brought forth a gala parade and ceremony at which President
Sam Houston, of course, was the principal figure if not the speaker.
A dance in the evening, with the President "dressed in a rich
silk velvet suit," moving "among the throng with a gallantry and
grace," brought a pleasant end to a satisfying day.
From Houston the narrator and a companion proceeded on
horseback across the prairie to San Antonio. Events and persons
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 January 29, 2015.