The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 481
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tier, Kenneth F. Neighbours of Midwestern University has filled a signifi-
cant "gap" in Texas history. A worthy subject, some i 16 years after his
death, has finally found a biographer.
Twenty-year-old Robert S. Neighbors came to Texas from Virginia in
1836. Until an untimely assassination in 1859 ended his brief but impressive
career, he served the Lone Star Republic, the state of Texas, and the federal
government in a variety of capacities. He served as an officer in the army
of the Republic of Texas, as a Texas Ranger, and as an Indian agent for
the Lipan and Tonkawa. In 1849 Neighbors blazed a new wagon road to
link El Paso with points east. The next year Governor Peter H. Bell desig-
nated Neighbors special commissioner to organize the western counties of
Texas, including the region along the upper Rio Grande, an area also
claimed by New Mexico. While his efforts did not, of course, hold the
Santa Fe region for Texas, Neighbors's work helped the state retain much
of its western land.
After brief service (1851-1853) in the Texas legislature as a representa-
tive from the Bexar and Medina District, Neighbors received a federal
appointment as supervisor of the Indian Service in Texas. Thus began the
most difficult trials of Neighbor's short career. Sympathetic with the western
Indians and desirous of bringing lasting peace to the Texas frontier, Neigh-
bors was influential in securing state legislation which gave the western
tribes land for reservations. After accepting the responsibility of a surveyor
and a colonizer, Neighbors then managed the reserves while working closely
with other federal and state officials. Author Neighbours concludes his
volume with an in-depth discussion of the conflicts which arose between
the reservation Indians and federal officials who tried to protect them and
an Anglo faction led by John R. Baylor who feared for the security of the
frontier and who believed that Indians bolted the reserve at will to raid
nearby settlements. Neighbor's support for the Indians made him most
unpopular with certain interest groups and resulted in his death in 1859
when he was felled by an assassin's bullet.
The author's treatment of this biography is excellent. The volume is
well-balanced and well-written. The copious notes and the bibliography
which follow the text indicate that long hours of research went into the
preparation of the book; and the volume is attractive, with no noticeable
mechanical flaws. This work will be interesting to the general reader and
in addition will be most valuable to those scholars working in Texas history
and/or frontier and Indian history.
Oklahoma State University
JAMES M. SMALLWOOD
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/538/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.