The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

religion and black women, by Cynthia Lynn Lyerly; slave clothing, by Patricia
Hunt; breastfeeding practices among slaves, by Marilyn Jenkins Schwartz; and
the ideology of elite women, by Marli Weiner.
Together, these essays vividly depict the variety of experiences of southern
women, black and white, under slavery. A synthetic work that acknowledges such
diversity has not yet appeared, but the essays in Discovering the Women an Slavery
will force future discussions to be carefully nuanced.
Red River Women. By Sherrie S. McLeRoy. (Plano: Republic of Texas Press, 1996.
Pp. xii+274. Introduction, acknowledgments, illustrations, bibliography, in-
dex. ISBN 1-55622-501-6. $12.95, paper.)
This volume brings together biographical sketches of eight women who lived
in the Red River area of Texas, primarily Sherman and Grayson County: Sophia
Suttonfield Aughingbaugh Coffee Butt Porter, the much-married "Confederate
Paul Revere"; newspaper publisher Lydia Hunter McPherson; Lucy Petway Hol-
combe Pickens, the international social belle once called the "fleur-de-lis of
Texas"; Indian captive Olive Oatman Fairchild; educators Lucy Kidd-Key and Ela
Hockaday; Edna Kahley Gladney, the "mother" of modern adoption practices;
and bootmaker Enid Justin. The sketches are lively and interesting reading, and
McLeRoy's research is thorough. Extensive notes provide both documentation
and commentary, especially when legend and folklore take over where historical
accuracy is impossible. The bibliography is extensive and useful.
These women were born during the Victorian era-the earliest is Sophia
Porter, born in 1837; the most recent, Enid Justin, born in 1894. Their lives
span a period when women were expected to be frail and dependent; instead
these are eight energetic and adventuresome women who made great accom-
plishments in arenas usually reserved for men.
One would like to say that the frontier forged the strength that made their
achievements possible-North Central Texas was after all a prime target for In-
dian depredations in the Civil War and subject to other hardships as well-but
the book develops no such thread. It might be that frontier life toughened
Sophia Porter but the same can hardly be said of Olive Oatman Fairchild, who
lived in Sherman many years after her captivity by Yavapai and Mohave Indians.
And Edna Gladney didn't arrive until 1912 or 1913, long past the time when life
on the frontier was a shaping experience. Even if the Red River's claim on them
is almost coincidental, these are fascinating women, what one scholar calls "sec-
ond-tier Texans": they are not among the state's well-known heroes, but their
contributions are essential to the fabric of Texas history. Their stories should
give rise to several significant biographies and, as the author says, at least one
"rip-roaring novel."



Fort Worth


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 30, 2015.