The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 674
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
period of growing pains as Texas moved from colony to nation
to state. They describe a period when the roughness and wild-
ness of the frontier shaped both thought and action. He uses
"tales" to include travel accounts, character sketches, jokes, and
anecdotes, with a total of sixty-five pieces loosely grouped under
such headings as "Varmints and Mustangs," "Texians," "Rangers
and Soldiers," and "Tales, Tall or True." His prefaces to the
various divisions are readable and informative with a minimum
of scholarly detail.
The richness of this book can hardly be indicated in a short
review. The reviewer can only suggest that readers find for them-
selves what these early reporters saw, or thought they saw, heard,
or thought they heard in this part of the frontier. It is what
they reported to the world, and, as Professor Anderson points
out, it helped to shape the Texas myth.
Some of the writing antedates journalistic myth-making. "When
a very young man, I found myself one fine morning possessed
of a Texas land script. . . . Ten thousand acres of the finest
land in the world.... ." So begins the piece called "On the
Prairie of Jacinto," taken from Adventures in Texas by Charles
Sealfield, a pen name of the Austrian novelist Karl Anton Postl.
Here the style is fresh, the details of the new land carefully noted
and recorded. His description of capturing and breaking wild
mustangs rewards the reader. Even more rewarding are such ob-
servations as: "The wildness of the horse is completely pun-
ished out of him, but for it is substituted the most confirmed
vice and malice that it is possible to, conceive. These mustangs
are unquestionably the most deceitful and spiteful of all the
equine race." He goes on with actual experience to prove his
point, and to demonstrate difficulties in taming the land he and
others like him had possessed.
More compelling is the anonymous passage "Deaf Smith."
Austin, the newly-established capital, appeared to be in imme-
diate danger from Comanche raids. Sam Houston, under a priv-
ilege granted him, decided to remove the State's archives from
Austin to Washington-on-the-Brazos for safe keeping. Residents
of Austin resisted. Their resistance ended in a duel on the banks
of the Colorado between Deaf Smith, emissary from Houston,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/706/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.