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Edited by SAM WOOLFORD
THE DIARY OF BURR G. DUVAL, herewith condensed to essen-
tial entries, has three remarkable facets to reflect its place
in Texas' past.' For one thing, it is a human and detailed
account of the search for gold, silver and valuable minerals in
West Texas, spurred by the railroads which were acquiring vast
acreages in the Trans-Pecos region as state bounty granted for
extending their "iron-horse" tracks farther across Texas.
Furthermore, in 1879, when the party launched into the Indian
country, they saw so much contemporary history that the first-hand
account in this diary adds to the image of the real West, as the
careful reader will discover.
But most of all this diary is a literary nugget, lost these many
years and now eroded to the surface like one of those beautiful
arrowheads one finds after a rain, washed out and sitting on its
little sandy pedestal, inviting the finder to lift it from its long
Burr G. Duval was a nephew of John C. Duval, author of
Early Times in Texas and The Adventures of Big Foot Wallace.
It was this writer who attracted the attention of William Corner,
who said of him that one day his writings would become classics.
"Uncle John," who influenced the thinking, writing and style of
his nephew, produced a worthy literary protege in the man who
sensed, almost from the beginning of his trip, that the fantastic
tales of mineral wealth in West Texas and the Big Bend should
be taken Cum Grano-or, as he says, with the frankness of Uncle
'Mrs. Henry S. Pitts, 279 George Street, Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter
of Burr G. and Ella Duval, gave the original diary to her niece, Mrs. E. S. (Ruth
West) Emerson of San Antonio, daughter of Judge Duval "Buddy" West, the boy
hunter of the expedition.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed May 18, 2013.