NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
Papers Concernzng Robertson's Colony zn Texas, Volume XVI, August 1o, 1837,
through November, 1838: The Creation of Robertson County. Compiled and
edited by Malcolm D. McLean. (Arlington: UTA Press, 1990o. Pp. 716.
Preface, color plate, black-and-white photographs, introduction, illustra-
tions, bibliography, index, colophon. $35.)
The seventeenth volume of Malcolm McLean's series on the Robertson
Colony considers a time in the story when old themes continue and there is
little that might be viewed as unusual or out of the ordinary. The revolution is
over; Houston is elected president of the republic; Congress is in session (at
least most of the time); Indians are raiding; rumors are abundant; and, above
all, the preoccupation of Texans with land, tempered for a few months by the
revolution, can go on without significant challenge.
The subtitle of the volume suggests a primary emphasis on the founding of
Robertson County. A number of documents, and a description of the un-
availability of other pertinent materials, do deal with the creation of the county.
Many readers, however, will find the materials pertaining to the General Land
Office, the effort to locate a permanent site for the capital, and Indian cam-
paigns to be more useful and interesting. The strong personality of Houston is
evident in a number of instances where he confronted powerful interests and
probably trampled on the popular will.
Of less significance, but of more interest to some readers, are materials rele-
vant to "An Act Declaring certain children Legitimate, therein named"
(p. 301), adopted by Congress on December 16, 1837, and approved by Hous-
ton two days later. The children in question were two sons born to Sterling
Clack Robertson but by two different women, Frances King and Rachael Smith.
Well aware of the need to keep readers from "leaping to false conclusions"
(p. 301), McLean presents a rather lengthy explanation of the difficulty of se-
curing the performance of marriage vows during Mexican rule and the rather
intricate process of correcting the lack of such at a later time in the relationship.
No record of marriage to Frances King or Rachael Smith is available. The prob-
lem is complicated somewhat by the disappearance of Frances King from the
story and a subsequent estrangement in the relationship of Rachael Smith and
Robertson. McLean explains Mexican law concerning legal recognition of chil-
dren born out of wedlock and does so quite well. His explanation concerning
the marital activities of Robertson, however, turns back to family tradition
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed May 22, 2015.