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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Book Reviews

Grinnell, comes out rather poorly, being pictured as a braggart and a
poor sport, perhaps even a liar. The photographs are unusually good,
some of them so realistic and appropriate to the book that they carry one
back to the West of the nineteenth century.
The footnotes are gathered at the back of the book in a way which
may have been pleasing to the printer but which causes some incon-
venience to the reader. A few of the explanatory notes are misleading
(for instance, the author describes a "dugout" as "a rough shelter
formed by digging out the face of a stream bank.") There are a number
of errors either in the editing or the printing of the Grinnell text.
Reiger did an excellent job of blending the words of Grinnell into the
explanatory text, making smooth and enjoyable reading. A full treat-
ment of Grinnell is projected for the future, and should fill a great need.
Texas A&M University VICTOR H. TREAT
The Empresario: Don Martin de Leon (The Richest Man in Texas). By
A. B. J. Hammett. (Victoria: Victoria Daily News Publishing Co.,
Inc., 1971. Pp. 1o5. $6.95.)
Don Martin de Le6n lived in Burgos, in the province of Nuevo San-
tander, now the modern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, and he began his
business career delivering supplies to the mines in Real de San Nicolis.
In 1796 he married Dofia Patricia de la Garza at Soto la Marina. Their
first son, Fernando, was born two years later. In 1805 Don Martin de
Le6n took his family to Texas, a sparsely settled country, covered with
multicolored wild flowers and tall, lush grasses. He settled first on the
east bank of the Aransas River, below the road to San Patricio, and
moved later to the east bank of the Nueces River, just below the present
site of that village.
In Texas, the De Le6ns experienced the hard life of all the early
pioneers, always exposed to innumerable dangers, especially Indian
raids. Nevertheless Don Martin managed to build substantial herds of
cattle, horses, and mules, and established an active trade with Louisiana.
His family and business prospered. Soon the De Le6ns had ten children,
who married members of prominent families from Texas and northern
Mexico. In 1824, just after Mexico became an independent country,
Don Martin obtained a colonization grant to settle on the east side of
the Guadalupe River, the present site of Victoria, and is considered the
founder of that important town.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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