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

Book Reviews

1996. Pp. [9]+218. Acknowledgments, introduction, prologue, epilogue,
endnotes, appendices, bibliography, index. $79.95, cloth, limited.)
Theophilus Bowman (1844-1883), who took the moniker Mason T. Bowman
(also referred to as Mason Timothy Bowman by two writers), was Kentucky born,
the son of a preacher. (Although some owned slaves, the family split its alle-
giance during the Civil War as did so many border state households.) A Confed-
erate participant, Bowman became involved in the Lee-Peacock feud in
northeastern Texas during Reconstruction, later befriended the famous Allison
brothers (Robert Clay and John), and then served as deputy and sheriff of Col-
fax County, New Mexico, among other law enforcement positions. Beyond this,
as the three authors state, "he participated in several gunfights, officiated at one
legal hanging, loved, was married, divorced, and married again" (p. 3).
Bowman's name is not well known in the annals of western history so the value
of this biography is important. In fact, more of these kinds of investigations are
necessary in order to provide a composite portrait of those who comprised the
"gunfighter set." These types of individuals have to be placed in the context of
the era along with the newer perceptions of the post-Civil War years. Although
pictures (even those published for the first time) are important to visualize a
character with the background presented, they can never adequately compen-
sate for a diligently researched, well-told narrative story. Too often, the focus up-
on western gunfighters and lawmen has neglected chronology as well as the
larger panorama.
There are five significant difficulties with the Bowman biography. First, Bow-
man disappears from the narrative for long stretches. Second, the view of Recon-
struction in Texas is grossly outdated. Third, new publications about Texas and
other states are pointedly ignored. For example, Richard B. McCaslin's superb
account of the Gainesville hanging (Tainted Breeze [1994]), was not consulted. As a
result, old shibboleths and ideas pervade the monograph. Fourth, the book re-
quired scrupulous editing, which it did not receive. This flaw makes understanding
Bowman's life an exercise in patience. Fifth, even though the materials for a full-
scale biography are simply nonexistent, the authors should have incorporated
the pictures within a coherent narrative framework..
In spite of these criticisms and the weaknesses of this book, Mace Bowman con-
tains important information about this lesser-known western lawman.
Gallaudet University BARRY A. CROUCH
Remakzng the Agrarian Dream: New Deal Rural Resettlement in the Mountain West. By
Brian Q. Cannon. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. Pp.
x+195. List of tables and figures, preface, illustrations, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN 0-8263-1716-2. $40.00, cloth.)
The New Deal aided poor farm families with 164 resettlement projects. The
Farm Security Administration purchased land, resettled farm families, and provid-
ed general assistance. Twelve projects existed in the Mountain West of New Mexi-
co, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Idaho. When the program ended,

1997

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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 29, 2015.