The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 584
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Lady Cannoneer. By C. Richard King. (Burnet, Tex.: Eakin
Press, 1981. Pp. iii+ 182. Introduction, appendix, bibliography,
Pioneer Women of Abilene: A Trilogy. By Vernon G. Spence. (Bur-
net, Tex.: Eakin Press, 1981. Pp. xiv+ 114. Preface, introduction,
bibliographical note, illustrations. $9.95.)
The Archives War, a single cannon shot down Austin's Congress
Avenue in 1842, fired by Angelina Belle Eberly to alert citizens to re-
tain the state government documents in Austin, has long been a part
of Texas lore. The present book by a professor of journalism is the
first detailed biography and assessment of this Texas personality.
Born in Tennessee, married to a cousin who was fleeing arrest, An-
gelina Peyton arrived in Texas in 1821, and her inn at San Felipe be-
came a center of colonial social life. She resented the burning of the
village before the Mexican advance in 1836, and in 1842 did not want
to see her successful business disappear in the desertion of another
The dust jacket's comment that the narrative flows like a Gothic
novel is not amiss. Events are dramatic; characters are the heroes of
early Texas. Angelina outlived two husbands and two children, leav-
ing her considerable estate to a grandson and her name in the annals
of San Felipe, San Antonio, Columbus, and Indianola, where she was
buried in 186o. The book is well documented, and King makes good
use of notes preserved by Mary Austin Holley in her 1834 interviews
with Angelina, whom she found "a gold mine of information about
the early days of the Austin Colony."
In 1979 Eberly was recognized by two historical markers, one at
Indianola and one near the Archives Building in Austin, causing an
Austin paper to comment: "Eberly does not even have a street named
in her honor, and all she did was help keep the capital of Texas in
The Spence story of three other women of the Texas frontier is a
contrast in period, format, and approach. While writing scholarly
biographies of Morgan Jones and Kirvin K. Legett of Abilene, Spence
became acquainted with the parts played by the women in their lives.
As a part of the current "reevaluating women's roles in frontier his-
tory" (p. v), he decided to set the record straight and give credit where
it was due. He was assisted in his research by Ruth Legett Jones, "a
delightful, helpful, witty woman," who for twelve years talked with
him, often by long distance, until her death in 1978. The facts she
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/642/?rotate=270: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.