The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Blanton's poorly organized polemic, while a reminder of each historian's
responsibility to seek the truth, only partly succeeds in its limited aims. Its princi-
pal failing lies in the faulty assumption that readers are already familiar with the
details of John Larn's life. Those who are not will be at a distinct disadvantage in
following Blanton's arguments, however cogent.
National Cowboy Hall of Fame B. BYRON PRICE
Pasadena: The Early Years. By C. David Pomeroy Jr. (Pasadena, Tex.: Pomerosa
Press, 1993. Pp. x+484. Acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue, notes,
index. ISBN 0-94501-000-1. $22.95.)
David Pomeroy's study of early Pasadena, Texas, is an extensively researched
addition to the history of the area between Galveston and Houston. Pomeroy
traces the history of the Pasadena area from the early ranching era to the found-
ing of the town in the early 189os and the replacement of the ranching frontier
by a farm-based economy. He concludes with the replacement of farming by
industry in the years immediately prior to World War II, when the Champion
Paper Company joined three oil companies, Houston Lighting and Power, Lone
Star Cement, and the Houston Pipeline Company as the basis of the town's
economy.
Local history can easily become a mere listing of names without a broader his-
torical framework, but Pomeroy generally avoids this pitfall. Approximately two
hundred unpublished family histories and one hundred interviews form the
basis of this work. In the nineteenth century, Pomeroy focuses on the Allen fami-
ly ranch, founded in the 1840s, and uses the stories of other ranchers such as
William Vince, who received the first land grant in 1824; Francis Lubbock;
Andrew Briscoe; and Shanghai Pierce to add color and information to the histo-
ry of a changing industry and area. At times I chafed at reading the names of all
the children of family after family, especially in the 192os and 193os, but the
broad historical framework is most definitely present.
Pasadena, named after the California city, developed along the railroad that
served the older coastal town of La Porte, founded in the 188os. Farmers had
been operating in the area for some time, but the 1900oo hurricane that destroyed
so much of Galveston and wiped out crops over a wide area served to propel
Pasadena in a new direction. Clara Barton, in her last big project, was placed in
charge of the Red Cross assistance program following the hurricane. She had
one and a half million strawberry plants flown in because they grew quickly and
brought in a crop early in 1901 to save local farmers. Strawberries became a
major element in the economy through the 1930s.
A series of photographs tracing Pasadena history complements the text.
Although the reproduction process is not the best, the photos capture the tree-
less plains and the development of a city. Pomeroy also used sixty-six private col-
lections, the most intriguing of which was the Whoopee file, and includes a
forty-page index and forty-five pages of notes. I am sure this book was a labor of
love for Pomeroy, a lawyer and descendant of one of the early Pasadena families.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed July 12, 2014.