The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

such treatment: the fabulous King Ranch, great in its own
right, but greater even because it survived the invasion of the
cotton patch, beautifully told by Tom Lea; and the Pierce spread,
interestingly important because of its vast operation, and made
colorful by Chris Emmett, who. held himself in restraint to tell
the truth, but not the whole truth about Shanghai Pierce.
Now comes the third report on a Coastal Bend empire. It is
hoped there will be others to, complete the great roundup of ranch
histories to reveal the full impact this section had on the early-
day cattle industry and the development of Texas.
The Taft Ranch, originally written as a Ph.D. dissertation by
Dr. A. Ray Stephens, a full length history of a South Texas ranch,
adds to a treasury of knowledge we have of the cattle empire of
Texas between 188o and 193o-a period in which Cattle Kings
roamed the range. This is a story of how the Coleman-Fulton
Pasture Company, popularly known after 1908 as the Taft Ranch,
faced the three greatest hazards to ranching: drought, mar-
kets, and bankers. The records of this company form the main
structure of this book. A significant event on the national scene
was the visit of President William Howard Taft to La Quinta,
the palacial ranch headquarters of the Taft Ranch in 19o9, as
guest of his brother, Charles P. Taft of Ohio, the principal owner.
Significantly, the Taft Ranch, finally conquered by its bankers,
survived the other two hazards and played a most active role in
the development of the South Texas coastal plains in the early
years of the twentieth century. Property that was carried on the
ledger in 188o at $2.34 per acre was finally sold in the 1920's
for $8o to $ioo an acre for improved farms, and $35 an acre for
undeveloped pastures, making the bankers live happily there-
after. More important is the fact that this book will insure for
the Taft Ranch its deservedly prominent position in Texas history.
JAMES T. PADGITT
San Antonio, Texas
Across the Tracks. By Arthur J. Rubel. Austin (University
of Texas Press), 1966. Pp. xxvii+266. Illustrations, appen-
dices, bibliography, index. $6.50.
Among the underprivileged of Texas are the Mexican-Amer-
icans. A majority of them, approximately 15 per cent of the state's

340

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed July 14, 2014.