Southwestern Historical Quarterly
readability, the enduring significance of its selections and annotations, and the
quality of its printing and binding make this series a tremendous bargain.
Midland JEFFREY H. LILES
An Editor's View of Early Texas: Texas In the Days of the Republic as Depicted in The
Northern Standard. By Lorna Geer Sheppard. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1998. Pp.
x+382. Illustrations, preface, introduction, endnotes, index. ISBN
1-57168-078-0. $19.95, paper).
The Clarksville Northern Standard, first printed in 1842, was owned, published,
and written by its founder, Charles DeMorse, until 1888. Most of the issues have
been preserved giving the early history of Texas in what compiler Lorna
Sheppard describes as "snapshots of the way things were in the days of our fore-
bears-word images frozen in time" (p. viii). She has selected excerpts that give
the reader interesting pictures of life in Texas during the Republic years.
In the first four chapters Sheppard wisely gives the reader a background of
earlier Texas history, the town of Clarksville, publisher DeMorse, and the origin
of the newspaper. DeMorse, a practicing lawyer, was a reporter for the Austin
Daily Bulletin when the Clarksville town fathers recruited him to become editor
of a newspaper in Red River County. DeMorse accepted and vowed to give his
subscribers "the complete record of the progress of affairs in the County"
(p.17); he would also print news of the Republic of Texas, the United States,
and other foreign countries.
Sheppard documents the format of the paper and gives examples of poems,
serializations of both fiction and non-fiction works, letters from the President
and enactments of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, and local news as well
as advertisements. Rather than putting all items in chronological order, she
arranged them by subjects in chapters, which leads the researcher directly to
points of interest such as Indians, other peoples of Texas, continuing troubles
with Mexico, and annexation.
The Northern Standard printed eyewitness accounts of nature, wildlife, and the
beauty of the pristine prairie that stressed the riches of the land in an effort to
attract new settlers to the area. However, also included were reports of Indian
attacks, duels, and court cases involving serious crimes. Other chapters gave
river navigation and weather reports, statistics on population and farm acreage,
agricultural prices, and educational opportunities. Both the serious and lighter
sides of nineteenth-century life were shown with legal notices including mar-
riages and deaths, and helpful hints on proper behavior, love and marriage,
farming, and medical remedies along with DeMorse's editorial comments. A
valuable account of the Santa Fe Expedition was printed from the diary of a
member of the ill-fated mission.
Sheppard links the articles with well written observations. She also includes
interesting endnotes. However, these are not documented and a bibliography is
omitted, leaving the researcher to question her sources. An undated map of
Texas shows early cities, but not Clarksville or the surrounding towns.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed May 6, 2015.