The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

If the authors and the presses that publish books on artists such as
H. W. Caylor would recognize that they are honoring a part of Texana
rather than rediscovering an important western artist, these books
would be taken more seriously and valued for what they are rather
than criticized for what they pretend to be.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art CAROL CLARK
McLennan County-Before 1980. By W. R. Poage. (Waco, Tex., Tex-
ian Press, 1981. Pp. xi+295. Dedication, thanks, foreword, illus-
trations, index. $12.50.)
William Robert ("Bob") Poage has written an informative, inter-
esting history of McLennan County. Born in Waco on December 28,
1899, and a graduate of Baylor University, the author served as the rep-
resentative of the Eleventh Congressional District from 1936 until his
retirement in 1979.
Poage presents the reader with a broad political and economic over-
view of McLennan County, but, with the exception of churches and
education, mentions little of the day-to-day social and cultural life of
the county residents. The chapters on the cattle industry and King Cot-
ton are well done, and his somewhat nostalgic treatment of railroads
makes pleasant reading.
The most unusual and interesting of the chapters, however, is enti-
tled "Violence." Poage allows that, although very few Indian depreda-
tions were recorded and Reconstruction era turbulence was minimal,
several significant isolated acts of violence occurred in McLennan
County, including the last legal hanging in Texas. A very brief sum-
mation of Ku Klux Klan activities in the county is also included in
this chapter.
Waco's urban development is adequately described, but the author
generally neglects the influence and impact of blacks and Chicanos. The
last two chapters contain histories of the "small" towns in McLennan
County, e.g., Axtell, Leroy, Tours, Lorena, and the "smaller" towns,
e.g., Elk, Battle, Rosenthal, and Tokio. Throughout the book Poage
gives the reader short biographical sketches of important McLennan
County residents, such as George B. Erath, the "father of Waco"; Neil
McLennan, the pioneer for whom the county is named; and Pat Neff,
Sul Ross, and Richard Coke, county residents who became governors
of Texas. Political figures not generally associated with McLennan
County but who are mentioned at some length include W. Lee O'Dan-
iel, James E. Ferguson, and Lyndon B. Johnson. The author's strong

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/. Accessed August 20, 2014.