The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972

Book Notes

Book Notes
Dolores, Revilla, and Laredo: Three Sister Settlements. By Rogelia O.
Garcia. (Waco: Texian Press, 1970. Pp. viii+51. Illustrations, bibli-
ography, notes.)
This book is described by the author in her preface as "the outgrowth
of several years of research," much of it in the civil archives of Laredo,
the records of San Agustin de Laredo parish, and the Mirabeau B.
Lamar papers. One can only wish that Miss Garcia had spent more time
at her task. While her affection for the people of the three communities
(of which only Laredo still exists) is amply evident, her account of their
history is disappointingly sketchy, imbalanced, and riddled with factual
errors and technical flaws.
Miss Garcia devotes only a brief introductory chapter to the work of
Jos6 de Escandon, the able frontier governor whose occupation of
Nuevo Santander led to the foundation of the "three sister settlements"
between 1750 and 1755 (King Ferdinand VI of Spain authorized the con-
quest, not Charles III, as indicated in the book). Succeeding chapters
fail to relate the three towns either to Escandon's work or to the general
history of the lower Rio Grande Valley. Instead, the book becomes
largely a dreary recitation of facts, with little or no effort at interpreta-
tion. Chapter three, for example, which concerns the founding of Revilla,
is given over almost entirely to a list of pioneer settlers, their dependents,
and livestock. Historiography of this sort may be meat for the local an-
tiquarian or civic booster, but for the rest of us it is the deadliest literary
poison.
In fairness, I must add that the final chapter, which consists of loving
word portraits of the valley and some of its people, is well and imagi-
natively written. It is the only part of the book in which Miss Garcia,
rather than her source materials, has gained the upper hand.
Springfield, Missouri DAVID B. ADAMS
Fifty-Nine for Freedom: The Texas Signers. By Willena Casey Adams.
(Austin. Graphic Ideas, Inc., 1970. Pp. 127. Illustrations, notes, refer-
ences. $5.50.)
The author of this book writes that "there seemed to be a real need
for a small book of brief biographies of the 59 men who made dramatic
history in Texas in March 1836." In satisfying the need the author used
little pieces of the "painstaking research" done by others over the years.
I agree that something like this has been needed for a long time; but
this is not it. This book will be of scant use to historians, to teachers, or,
in most cases, to students. It is a questionable volume for all but the
most casual of history buffs. Had its concept been broader, it could have
told more than a handful of naked biographical facts. It could have,
for example, led weekend travelers to hundreds of actual sites which in

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/. Accessed July 24, 2014.