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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

then that in just a period of half a century the people of Texas
have forgotten and care little "for the last resting place of
even the most illustrious," the author hopes that this booklet
will serve as a better marker for himself "than any column
of granite."
The University of Texas
Sam Slick in Texas. By W. Stanley Hoole. San Antonio (The
Naylor Company), 1945. Pp. xix+78. $2.00.
To the average reader, or, as for that, to the student of Texas
lore the name of Samuel Adams Hammett probably conveys no
meaning. A slightly larger number of persons versed in the
literature of the state may recall vaguely Philip Paxton; others
will get the Sam Slick of Texas mixed up with the other Sam
Slick, Thomas Haliburton's clockmaker. Yet, as Stanley Hoole
has shown, Hammett, Paxton, and Slick are for all practical
purposes one and the same man. It is to Hoole's literary sleuth-
ing that we are indebted for the identification and for a short,
disappointingly short, account of Hammett's career.
Hoole, let it be said in his defense, confesses that he is not
satisfied with his findings. It would be casuistic to ask for more
if no more is to be found. Therefore the single task left to us
is the appraisal and praise of his efforts in tracking the elusive
Hammett into, through, and out of Texas. In this undertaking
he has succeeded as far as the fragmentary sources permit. The
spoor Hammett left was thin and scattered; the man had a
genius for covering his trail. Hammett, we learn, was born in
New York, February 4, 1816, spent a year and a half at New
York College, 1832-34, emigrated to Texas in 1835 and remained
here until 1847; he then returned to New York where he wrote
and merchandized until his death in 1865. Two books, A Stray
Yankee in Texas (1853) and Piney Woods Tavern, or Sam Slick
in Texas (1858) contain his impressions of frontier Texas.
Concerning the worth of Hammett as an interpretor of the
buckskin and corn pone days of the Texas Republic this is not
the place to discourse. Both Hoole and J. Frank Dobie, who
contributed a foreword to Sam Slick in Texas, are lyric in his
praises. The historian might well devote some time to surmises
concerning the identity of the persons introduced by Hammett
into his gusty narratives. Careful reading by a student familiar
with the piney woods and the redlands in the 1830's and '40's


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 3, 2016.

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