As Metz recognizes, Hardin was a complex man and is seen by many as a hero
instead of a monster. The El Pasoans lose the moral high ground by declaring
that Hardin got what he deserved and by turning his death in that city-after only
a few months' residence-into a morbid sideshow for gawkers, performed on a
regular basis. While it could be argued that Wes's ghost is getting a kick out of all
those tourists tramping out in the hot sun to see his grave (vanity being one of his
failings), many folks in South Texas think otherwise. Cemeteries there are consid-
ered resting places, not thoroughfares, and a man like John Wesley Hardin needs
a peaceful spot blessed with a lot of wildflowers for his spirit to roam.
Even with these controversies, which are intrinsic to a subject like Hardin, Metz
has written a thought-provoking book (flaws of interpretation notwithstanding)
and his publisher has put it in an attractive form (with the exception of a garish,
poorly conceived and executed dust jacket). It will remain the standard work on
Hardin for years to come and belongs on every Southwestern bookshelf.
Austin JACK JACKSON
Wild Rose: A Folk History of a Cross Timbers Settlement, Keller, Texas. By Joyce Gibson
Roach. Introduction by James Ward Lee. (Virginia Beach, Virginia: The
Donning Company, 1996. Pp. 144. Introduction, illustrations, bibliography,
index, acknowledgments. ISBN o-89865-972-8. cloth.)
Joyce Roach's study of a small northcentral Texas town, Keller, is an excellent
example of folk history at its best. At the beginning of the book, she symbolically
links the absorption of small Texas towns into the various metroplexes with the
disappearance of the wildflowers along Texas highways, in this particular case
the wild white rose, also called the Cherokee rose and the Macartney rose.
She begins her study with a definition of the Cross Timbers region and de-
scribes the plants and animals one finds native to the area. She follows with a
brief history of the various Native American inhabitants, especially the several
Caddoan groups. She then traces the arrival of the French, the Spanish, and fi-
nally the immigrants from the United States. The rest of the book studies the
folk aspects-oral, customary, and material-of the town of Keller.
One really nice feature of her book is the way that Roach has interspersed
family narratives among the various folk topics. For example, in her chapter on
the arrival of the railroad, she has inserted the stories of those families who
came to Keller because of the railroad. In her chapter on folk buildings (whose
scope encompasses such diverse structures as single-pen cabins, outhouses, New
England saltbox houses, churces, and schools), Roach includes the story of the
people who constructed the buildings.
The book is of high quality, printed on slick paper, and signatures are sewn in-
to the binding, quality one does not often find nowadays. It is filled with pho-
tographs and copies of items such as old newspaper stories, deeds, recipes,
music, and fine drawings.
I would certainly recommend that Royce's study be used as a model of how lo-
cal history should be done. It would be excellent for students taking an introduc-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed March 12, 2014.