The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 228
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the volumes contain the only written weather information avail-
able for the Corpus Christi area till 1887, when local weather
bureau records begin. In between log notations of facts, informa-
tion is contained on sailings and arrivals, weddings, funerals,
hunting and fishing, boats, schooners, steamers of that past cen-
tury and people who used them, and natural phenomena like
hurricanes-everything from mild cuss words to the prayer after
the gale of 1875 which proved disastrous to the community called
Indianola, that once stood close to the present site of Port Lavaca,
approximately one hundred miles from Corpus Christi.
On the day Indianola was destroyed, the Mercer chronicler
forgot to put down the condition of the sea over the Aransas Bar,
although he did record after its end, "All's well. Nobody here
hurt, thank God."
Two volumes of the logs contain recipes for making chow chow,
hard soap, mustang wine, mince meat, and for freezing ice cream.
Also described are home remedies for curing smallpox, cholera,
toothache, sore throat, whooping cough, scarlet fever, and "colds
in the head." Also instructions for tanning skins are given.
The original log recorder, Captain Robert Mercer, was born
in Lancashire, England. He and his family came to America in
1830, first settling in New Albany, Indiana. In 1855 they moved
to the Texas coast to become the first family on the island of
Aransas, at that time commonly referred to as "the Aransas
Wharf." This town was the headquarters for all lighters, which
loaded and unloaded large vessels with cargo for Corpus Christi,
St. Mary's, Copano, and Fulton. As recorded in the first log diary,
the captain's wife was the first white woman to land in this area.
The original Mercer residence there was called El Mar Rancho.
Edward T. and John G. Mercer were the two sons who took
charge of log recording after the death of their father, Robert.
Their logs contain numerous historical facts about the area, re-
corded nowhere else. Several times the fact is mentioned that
Mustang Island was so named for the "large herds of small, hardy,
half-wild horses or mustangs which the early settlers found there."
An amusing log entry, recorded shortly after the Civil War,
tells how the two Mercer boys seized a Yankee boat, anchored
across from the old Harbor Island lighthouse, while its occupants
were at St. Joseph's Island getting cattle for food. The adven-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/271/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.