The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

mentioning that he would like to write about Negro music and songs written by
working cowboys.
Fortunately for all of us, the professor thought Lomax's idea was a good
one, and thus the heroic odyssey to rescue America's cowboy ballads from obliv-
ion began, not on the mesquite and prickly pear-studded prairies, but in ivy-
draped towers.
There was to be irony aplenty in the remainder of the life and career of John
Lomax. After returning to Texas, Lomax endured another stint at Texas A&M,
where he taught Chaucer to farm boys and his ballad-hunting project was not
smiled upon by the university administration. Porterfield covers such situations
in great depth and with a knack for ferreting out telling details and wry humor.
Last Cavalier is an excellent work. As long as we remember songs like "Home
on the Range" and "Whoopee Ti Yi Yo," the spirit of the West will live on in our
hearts. Porterfield's illuminating and entertaining biography is a three-dimen-
sional, warts-and-all look at the man we have to thank for it.
Austin JESSE SUBLETT
A Texas Frontier: The Clear Fork Country and Fort Griffin, x849-1887. By Ty
Cashion. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996. Pp. xvii+366. List
of illustrations, list of maps, preface, introduction, appendices, notes, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 0-8o61-2791-0. $24.95, cloth.)
This book synthesizes the history of the Anglo settlements along the Clear
Fork of the Brazos that were fostered by the establishment of a series of military
posts and the Butterfield stagecoach line. Although by no means ignoring the
spectacular-the Anglo opposition to the Comanche and Wichita reservations
on the Brazos, Indian campaigns, the era of the cow hunters, and the conflicts
between rustlers and vigilantes--it goes beyond earlier studies by emphasizing
social, economic, and environmental issues.
In particular, Ty Cashion stresses the boom/bust cycles that thwarted the
hopes of creating a western metropolis out of the town adjacent to and named
for Fort Griffin. There was simply no way to achieve permanence for a settlement
whose economy depended on such transitory enterprises as servicing a military
post that would be abandoned when Native American resistance collapsed, and to
catering to buffalo hunters and trail drivers. When rail lines replaced river valleys
as transportation routes, the fates of Fort Griffins everywhere were sealed.
Although the passion of vigilantes for secrecy makes it difficult to investigate
their activities, the topic is treated as thoroughly and fairly as possible. Without
casting aspersions, Cashion indicates that the vigilante movement was largely an
effort to eliminate competitors from the public grasslands.
An effective use of military records and county archives augments the many
monographs and articles compiled over the years. The result is a convincing
example of the graphic changes in perspective that have occurred in recent
frontier historiography.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed September 23, 2014.