The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 4
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to peruse them, he would find how one man reacted to the events
of his day. Westfall was an ardent Democrat, and though he
sometimes split his ticket at the local level, he did not do so in
national elections. For example, he recorded that he was going
to vote for William Jennings Bryan despite Bryan's platform on
i am a gold standard man but i don set my opinion up against
a two thirds majority for it is one of the strongest tenents
of democracy for majorities to rule and govern
they have nominated a born democrat and i shall obey orders
On November 3, 1896, Westfall recorded: "i cast my vote for
bryan and Sewall this morning and all the state officers, but i
done a lot of scratching on the county ticket."
Westfall made at least one contribution to posterity: some-
thing which is unusual and tremendously important to the city
of San Antonio. On the other hand, however, he did not even
mention this in his journals. In his will he left his entire estate for
the establishment of a public library in San Antonio and, if one
were already established, he directed that the funds should be used
for the improvement of existing library service. To his wife he left
a life estate in their properties. Westfall did this at a time when in
all Texas there were no free public libraries, tax supported in the
current fashion. There were only a few small subscription libraries,
some of which received some public money. The public library
movement in Texas did not really begin until about 1900 when
Andrew Carnegie gave the movement impetus with his generous
gifts for library buildings. Westfall's last will and testament shows
foresight as well as generosity: "i dont believe i ever went to school
over six months and i think i was full two years in going that."
This was the man who left his entire estate to a public library
which did not even exist when he made out his will. What manner
of man was this? His funds were slowly and painfully acquired. He
was no great Southern planter. As ranches were then measured in
Texas, his was a small one. In 1886, he estimated:
out of about four thousand pounds of seed cotton i got two
bales one weighing six hundred and ten pounds and the other six
hundred and four pounds and had two hundred and forty pounds
of seed cotton left
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/22/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.