The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969

Book Reviews

and that the bibliography is sketchy. The author is inclined to inter-
pret Kirby by standards of the present rather than those of his own
time, and possibly she handles him too gently. Even so, this handsome
book is a contribution to the economic history of Texas.
Houston Baptist College MARILYN MCADAMS SIBLEY
Littlefield Lands: Colonization on the Texas Plains, 1912-i920. By
David B. Gracy II. Austin (University of Texas Press), 1968.
Pp. xiv--161. Illustrations, maps, appendix, bibliography, index.
In a book that should be titled, The Littlefield Land Company,
Gracy relates the problems involved when an absentee owner of a
West Texas ranch attempted to sell his land to farmers in the early
1900oo's. In great detail, gleaned from letters only recently discovered,
the author, writing from the point of view of the Littlefield Land
Company, takes the reader behind the scenes into various business
transactions concerning the problems of the sale of land. Most of the
correspondence is between Major George Littlefield, the landowner
residing in Austin, and his sales manager, Arthur P. Duggan. One
must conclude that the greatest problem to the owner was one of
retaining agents who could convince settlers to come to the South
Plains of Texas. About one-half of the book is devoted to this problem.
Company agents used various promotional schemes to picture the
South Plains as a blooming oasis in the Brazos River Valley. Songs
described it as "land where milk and honey flow. .. ." Shallow water
was promised in areas where it was frequently far below the surface.
The author always betrays a sympathy, however, for the landowner
and not for the settler.
In his last and most interesting chapter, Gracy deals with the settlers
themselves and attempts to determine why they came, where they came
from, and how they reacted and adjusted to the South Plains. This
chapter is much too short, and this reader must take exception to the
author's conclusion that "the story of settlement on the South Plains
of Texas is in large measure the story of these land and townsite com-
panies." The real story of settlement of the Plains is the story of the
individuals and groups, such as the Mennonites and Germans, who
settled there. Far too little attention is given to these people and their
problems for a well-balanced account of a colonization venture, as the
title implies.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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