The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

was certainly true. Also, each suffered a personal tragedy that
profoundly affected the course of his life. These experiences sent
Travis and Crockett scurrying to Texas and sent Bowie in search
of any diversion that could absorb his mind and energies. He
found it in the Texas cause. It may be said that Crockett's defeat
for congressman in 1835 was only a humiliation, but to him it
must have been, at that particular time, a real tragedy. Certainly
its effect drove him from Tennessee to Texas.
To believe that such parallels in their lives led each of these
men straight to the Alamo is to ask considerable indulgence of
the reader. While Crockett may have followed a guiding star to
Texas, it must be remembered that Bowie was sent to San Antonio
by Sam Houston with orders for Colonel James C. Neill to destroy
the Alamo; and Lieutenant-Colonel Travis came haltingly, pro-
testing to Governor Henry Smith that his usefulness to the Texas
cause was in the recruiting service. He was not happy shepherding
a corporal's guard to the relief of the Alamo. All came to eternal
renown at the Alamo, their rendezvous there being with heroic
death.
The thirty-page sketch on Crockett is of little value as it is too
short to give more than a faint flavor of the man. It is summarized
from Crockett's so-called autobiographical books. Anyone inter-
ested in Crockett should read (as did Baugh) the Narrative of
the Life of David Crockett, Written by Himself. The book is
short, and the reward will be acquaintance with about the liveliest
piece of writing published during the first part of the nineteenth
century.
Baugh has done much better with Bowie. The biography is in
no sense definitive, and the author has not intended that it should
be so. As introductory to Bowie's career, however, it is quite good.
In one place Baugh has allowed his enthusiasm for Jean Lafitte
to lead him into making the extravagant statement that "most of
the men who became the giants of Texas history knew and re-
spected Lafitte and visited him at Barataria," and has made some
minor errors in names, but these do not destroy the value of the
book. There is a particularly informative chapter on the Bowie
knife. The land speculations have been treated sketchily.
As for the Travis biography, the author has brought his subject

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed August 21, 2014.