The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 135
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paper files and the works of other historians, such as John Henry
Brown's History of Texas.
Written over sixty years ago, this book is in sharp contrast
to county histories written today under academic supervision and
discipline. The author did not hamper himself with footnotes or
the citation of his source material. He freely expressed his views
on the topics he discussed and therein lies one of the values of
this book. Sowell and other late nineteenth century historians of
Texas have demonstrated the tendency to share with their readers
their personal views and the benefits of contemporary insight.
This book is written in a series of biographical and topical
sketches that generally cover the history of Fort Bend County
during the nineteenth century. Sowell describes in some detail
such out-of-county activities as the filibustering expedition of
Dr. James Long, the fate of Jane Long, the Mier Expedition, and
the Muster Roll of Terry's Texas Rangers in the Civil War. The
men from Fort Bend County who served in Terry's Rangers are
identified and the fate of each, if known, is related.
Of special interest to the modern reader is Sowell's account of
the Jaybird-Woodpecker War. The Jaybird Democratic Organ-
ization and the Woodpeckers, rival political groups, vied for con-
trol of the county government after Reconstruction. The author
includes a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Jaybird
Democratic Organization, promulgated on October 3, 1889, and
designed to break the hold on county political offices that the
pro-Negro Woodpecker faction had held since Reconstruction.
The rivalry between the two groups erupted into violence. The
Jaybird-Woodpecker War lasted from 1888 to 18go, and ended
only when martial law was established in the county.
There are a few errors but they are not numerous enough to
detract from the value of this first published history of Fort Bend
County. The one-half league grant of land made on March 26,
1831, was to Charles I. Nidever, not to Isaac N. Charles as stated
by the author on page 18. This error has been made by other his-
torians and stems from the fact that Nidever's name was on the
original list of the Old Three Hundred as Isaac N. Charles. The
Neutral Ground Agreement of November 6, 18o6, was entered
into between Sim6n de Herrera and General James Wilkinson
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/159/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.