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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

186os, with Colorado City, the town site he surveyed across the river from Fort
Yuma on his first foray into the territory in the 1850s.
The lack of balance in this fanciful "biography" is perhaps best illustrated by
the six pages (30-36) devoted to the totally undocumented story of an "intimate"
relationship in the 184os between Ehrenberg and the young Queen Pomare of
Tahiti (based solely on the rosy reminiscences of the notoriously unreliable
Charles D. Poston), while not a word is expended on Ehrenberg's role in the gen-
uinely dramatic evacuation of southern Arizona as the Apaches took advantage of
the withdrawal of Federal troops at the beginning of the Civil War.
The Texan side of the story receives no better treatment-Ornish's annota-
tions of Ehrenberg's narrative of the Revolution can be misleading in the
extreme. She mistakenly identifies (p. 75) his historical reference to Anahuac,
the central plain of Mexico, as pertaining to its namesake garrison on Galveston
Bay. His mention of [Cuelgas de] Castro, the Lipan Apache chief, is transformed
into a wildly anachronistic allusion to the French colonizer Henri Castro. At the
same time, errors in the original German text go unnoticed and uncorrected,
such as the placement of Bastrop on the Guadalupe River (p. 115), and the
departure of Fannin and his men from Goliad in April rather than March (p.
219). A map of "Fannin's Route" (p. 302) is unclear as to whether his march was
from San Antonio to Goliad, or the reverse. But no matter-neither actually
took place.
While there are a few mistakes that creep into the translation from the
German-as Ehrenberg fires "living muskets" at the Mexicans (p. 224) and
speaks of "the tree that is called the Rio Grande" (p. 290)-it is too bad that
Ornish did not make better use of her translator's expertise as she edited and
annotated the text of this memoir. He could undoubtedly have helped her to
avoid confusing German writer George A. Scherpf (Ehrenberg's source for
Travis's letters from the Alamo) with a fictionalized old man sitting around a
Texas campfire reading these letters. It is also unfortunate that Ornish mistook
for Ehrenberg's own words some historical commentary undoubtedly offered to
her by Professor Mollenhauer, thereby creating an anachronistic footnote (p.
244), which does not exist in the original. It is even more unfortunate, although
compatible with the level of historical scholarship demonstrated elsewhere in
this book, that Ornish thereupon comments on the resulting mystery that
Ehrenberg was able to mention the European revolutions of 1848 in a book that
bears a publication date of 1844. Let the reader beware. Here as elsewhere the
author, ostensibly on the trail of Ehrenberg, is merely following her own mis-
guided footsteps.
North Carolina State University JAMES E. CRISP
Women in the Texas Populist Movement: Letters to the Southern Mercury. Edited and with
an introduction by Marion K. Bartheleme. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1997. Pp. xii+248. Illustrations, foreword, acknowledgments,
introduction, bibliography, index. ISBN o-89096-742-3. $39.95, cloth.)

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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 February 12, 2016.