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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

Book Reviews

These volumes constitute two of the nineteen in a series, the
plan of which was adopted by the American Historical Associa-
tion in 19o2, and known as "Original Narratives of Early Amer-
ican History." OHLAND MORTON
Pan American College
Letters From A Texas Sheep Ranch. Edited by Harry James
Brown. Urbana, Illinois (University of Illinois Press), 1959.
Pp. 156. Illustrations. $3.50.
Students of Texas history will immediately recognize the name
of George Wilkins Kendall, whose letters are contained in this
delightful little volume. Not only did New England-born Kendall
become "the greatest sheepman Texas ever produced," but he was
also well known as a traveler and journalist. Co-founder of the
New Orleans Picayune and author of the popular Narrative of
the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, in which he recounted his adven-
tures in this ill-fated scheme, Kendall had lived a full and colorful
life already, when in 1856 at the age of forty-six he moved his
family from New Orleans to a ranch north of New Braunfels.
Here he became recognized as an authority on sheep husbandry,
and through letters published in the Picayune he described the
opportunities that Texas afforded an industrious and energetic
individual. He recognized the difficulties in settling any frontier
area but believed the advantages far exceeded the obstacles and
any failure in Texas was that of the man, not the land. And for
those who were critical of the state, he reserved the contemptuous
title "croakers."
The present work, winner of the 1958 Agricultural History
Society prize, is a collection of letters written in 186o and 1867
(the majority written in 186o, only three letters of 1867 being
included) by Kendall to his old friend Henry Stephens Randall,
New York journalist who was regarded as the outstanding sheep
authority in the country at the time. As would be expected the
bulk of the letters deals directly with the problems of sheep hus-
bandry, such as obtaining adequate pasture and shelter, breeding
of the animals (the antics of the ram "Old Honest" causing
Kendall no small amount of concern), and purchasing new stock.
Considerable attention is paid to weather conditions by rancher


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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