The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 125
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home as rector of Calvary Episcopal Church and became chair of the Ses-
quicentennial Committee. Because of the careful research and thoughtful
conclusions, this book is not just for local readers. Texas scholars will
benefit from Kesselus's examination of hoary myth and common
Beginning with the local Indians and the Spaniards, the author evaluates
the various accounts about the trails that crossed the Colorado River at
Bastrop. Using plat maps and deed records, he pinpoints the crossing
just below the modern bridge on Highway 71 and traces the route of the
Old Spanish Road through the present town. He also explores documents
to explain how, when, and why the name of the settlement changed from
Bastrop to Mina and then back again in the 1830s. He lays to rest (pp.
70 - 71) the erroneous assumption made by Eugene C. Barker and others
and perpetuated in the Biographical Directory of Texan Conventzons and Congresses
(1941) that Silas Dinsmore, Ira Ingram, and Eli Mercer represented Bastrop
at the Convention of 1832. None lived there, of course, but were from the
precinct of Mina on the lower Colorado River in modern Matagorda County.
The records, readily available but not carefully used, in H. P. N. Gammel
(ed.), The Laws of Texas, 1822 - 1897, I, 497, show that three communities
were not represented at the 1832 Convention, Bastrop being one, and that
the Convention named Bastrop men to serve as its committee of
The usual discussions about pioneer settlers are well documented, including
the stories about the scalping of Josiah Wilbarger, which the author
reevaluates. He traces the development of political and social institutions in
the area, and examines the events leading to the Revolution and how they
affected Bastrop residents. Bastrop was a serious contender for the new capital
of the Republic in 1838 but finally championed the claims of Waterloo
The weakest part of the book in the eye of this reviewer is the treatment
of the Indian wars. Almost without question, the author accepts the
nineteenth-century frontier viewpoint. The Indians are always at fault and
commit atrocities for no reason, while the settlers are innocent and blameless
in their efforts to exterminate native Americans. The well-known pioneer ac-
counts, and the prominence of the Burlesons, almost dictate that belief. But
some recent studies about the Cherokees and Comanches suggest mutual cause
and effect. Other minor flaws indicate a lack of in-depth research about the
colonial period, such as the statement that the Baron de Bastrop was extraor-
dinarily popular with the Spaniards, Mexicans, and Anglo settlers, and the
assumption that he was an elected representative (p. 58).
MARGARET S. HENSON
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/151/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.