The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 328
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
long overdue. It is, of course, fitting that this book should stem
from Texas, and Professor James Kimmins Greer, of Hardin-
Simmons University in Abilene, has stepped nobly into the
breach to give us a scholarly, detailed, and well-written account
of the life of the almost incredible "Captain Jack" of the Texas
Professor Greer describes Jack Hays's life from his birth in
Tennessee in 1817, through his migration to Texas at the age of
nineteen; his career as a surveyor around San Antonio, always
with his rifle handy, for beating off Indian attacks was part of the
job in those days; as a captain of the Texas Rangers, when he
fought more than forty engagements against robbers and savages,
almost always outnumbering his forces at least ten- and occasion-
ally forty-fold; and the author states, "Without question, Jack
Hays was the most spectacular and successful Indian fighter of
Texas history." Then his career is described as a colonel of Texas
Rangers in the Mexican War when he served under both Generals
Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott and particularly distinguished
himself in General William Jenkins Worth's successful attack
on Monterrey in September, 1846. After that war, Professor
Greer moves with Hays to California where he became sheriff,
federal surveyor general, and one of the founding fathers of the
city of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco; and, finally
in the afternoon of his life, a gentleman rancher and capitalist.
It was a long and highly successful career of amazing contrasts,
but everything Jack Hays did, he did well, and Professor Greer
has followed as high standards in his research in so many far
places and in putting it all down on paper.
To a reviewer who is only superficially acquainted with the
Texas countryside and not at all with the region around San
Francisco Bay, it is impossible to spot errors if they exist. This
reviewer, however, does have more than a passing knowledge of
the Mexican War and a rather good one of the fighting around
Monterrey, and it seems that Professor Greer has not been com-
pletely objective when he describes the behavior of Hays's Rangers
during their stay in that city by quoting Jefferson Davis's state-
ment, "The Texas troops neither tolerated nor defended atrocities
of their own or other troops." There is strong evidence to the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/374/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.