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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

county and the East Texas area generally during the second half
of the nineteenth century. FRED RATHJEN
West Texas State College
Twenty-four Years a Cowboy and Ranchman in Southern Texas
and Old Mexico. By William Hale. Norman (University of
Oklahoma Press), 1959. $2.00.
Twenty-four Years a Cowboy and Ranchman in Southern Texas
and Old Mexico is the title of Will Hale's lusty, extravagant tale
of adventures in an area extending from New York and St. Louis
to Brownsville, Matamoros, and Lincoln County, New Mexico.
Rarely has a Western*book been blessed with a more scholarly
introduction than the one which A. M. Gibson wrote for Will
Hale's narrative. His quest for information included "well over
three hundred inquiries" addressed to western historians and
persons interested in Texas history. Gibson, who believes William
Hale Stone received the memoir "from someone else, whom he
designated as Will Hale," will convince one that Will Hale was
a genuine character, probably using an assumed name, and that
the book although written as an autobiography is plainly a biog-
raphy. The names of real Border characters are dropped and
fictitious names given, although some are thinly disguised; for
example, "Juan Mortina" must be Juan Cortina. The reader will,
however, easily forgive Will Hale or Will Hale Stone all this
confusion; for here, if ever, is a tale coming from the saddle and
the wild free range, whose idiom is right from the heart of cow-
boys and whose exploits the generation of Sam Bass and Charley
Siringo would applaud. Indeed, Will Hale was a hybrid product
of the Border: a cowboy, an outlaw, a trail driver, and a creator
of tall tales. Certainly he was guilty of wild exaggeration of his
own life and of the lives of others but never of the trite expres-
sions or of the platitudes which encumber the memoirs of rich
cattlemen.
Out of the confusion of real events with exaggerated incidents
which mingle in this account of the Texas Border in the 187o's,
emerge true characters, half-outlaw, half-citizen. These were the
products of the wildest age of South Texas, the post Civil War
era. Bad-men from Texas or Mexico crossed the Border, going

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed July 31, 2014.