The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

He does find evidence of attacks against the military based upon prin-
ciple, especially among newspaper editors. He does not, however, ad-
dress evidence supporting alternative conclusions, and, inexplicably, he
overlooks the arguments of recent works that suggest a number of ig-
noble reasons why people may have opposed the army-reasons in-
cluding racism, sectional rivalries, and class hostilities. In fact, the inter-
nal evidence of this book provides numerous examples of violence
against blacks and whites that appear to have no ideological motives.
The military obviously played an important role in Texas Recon-
struction. At this point in the development of Reconstruction histo-
riography a study addressing that role must be sensitive to the prob-
lems associated with the traditional evidence.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock CARL H. MONEYHON
Murder on the Santa Fe Trail: An International Incident, 1843. By Marc
Simmons. (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1987. Pp. xviii+92. Pref-
ace, introduction, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $15.)
This is the story of the murder of Antonio Jose Chavez, one of three
brothers of a prominent New Mexico family engaged in trade between
Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Independence, Missouri, and points east;
of the search for, arrest, trial, and conviction of the murders and their
accomplices, except five minor ones who escaped capture, in the United
States Circuit Court for the District of Missouri at St. Louis; and of the
execution of Captain John McDaniel, the ringleader, and Joseph Brown.
Much information is given about the various members of the Chavez
family before and after the execution of the accused murderers, but
one will find very little information, and most of it of doubtful accu-
racy, about the background of the so-called fifteen desperadoes, except
Dr. Joseph R. Prefontaine, who was one of the more honorable of Cap-
tain McDaniel's associates.
With many conjectures, speculations, assumptions, and very little
sound factual historical information, Marc Simmons attempts to tell the
story of John McDaniel and his associates in murder. A careful search
of basic source materials would have revealed much about McDaniel's
place of birth, education, business experiences, and military activities
while on the Texas frontier for several years. Simmons merely states
that John McDaniel "was said to have spent time in Texas where, after
serving in the militia, he had turned to outlawry and reputedly com-
mitted several killings" (p. 18), but gives no details.
On page 8 the reader is told that "it is easy to imagine that Mariano,
Jose, and Antonio Jose [the three Chavez brothers] held council at Los

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed August 28, 2014.