The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 103
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the home of Zuber's parents in Grimes County where he related to
them the famous episode of how the hero Travis made a fervent
speech to his men, drew a line with his sword, and invited his fol-
lowers to chose between crossing the line and dying with him or not
crossing the line and attempting escape. Young Zuber, so his story
goes, was himself away fighting in Sam Houston's Texas Army and
not at home when Rose arrived and told of his escape. But hearing
Rose's tale from his parents, Zuber committed it and Travis's famous
speech to memory, and in 1871, thirty-five years after the event, wrote
it down for posterity and sent it off to be published in the Texas
Almanac. Zuber's article is the major source for Rose's escape, and the
sole source for Travis's line and speech.
Texas historians and interested students have debated ever since
the authenticity of the Zuber article, which, to be frank, violated
nearly all the canons by which we judge the credibility of historical
evidence. Consequently, most of the reliable Texas historians-George
P. Garrison, Eugene C. Barker, and Rupert N. Richardson, to name
three-have either discredited or ignored it. But now, to compound
the Zuber dilemma, the University of Texas Press publishes Zuber's
manuscript memoirs "My Eighty Years in Texas" and reprints with
it his "An Escape from the Alamo."
Zuber's "Eighty Years in Texas" was allegedly based on diaries
which he kept during his lifetime. We are told, however, that he
ruined one "by spilling ink on it," that he "lost" another, and that
while some of his "diaries and personal memoranda are said still to
be in existence" none is in any Austin archive or in the Zuber
family's possession. All this raises serious question about the relia-
bility of the book at hand, but, incredibly, the editor, who has Zuber
family ties, bothers nowhere in it to cite official records to authenti-
cate the manuscript and to assure us that the controversial Zuber
actually served in the Texas Revolutionary Army and in the Con-
federate Army. Zuber said he served in both, but no contemporary
rosters or records are cited to substantiate it. Competent editing
could have remedied this.
Assuming that Zuber's memoirs are not a fraud, they are at best
uneven in quality and coverage and thus limited in value as a source.
He supposedly "transcribed his diaries and his memories" in the
last three years of his life, when he was over ninety, which would
account for the unevenness of the book. Careful editing and maps
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/m1/121/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.