The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 148
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Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly
winter range. As this occurred, the castaways would flee south in the
opposite direction. Finally, like Davenport and Wells before them, the
Campbells pointed to the fact that prickly pear cactus grew in super
abundance near the lower Nueces River until 1899, when a severe
freeze reduced its stands. They placed the tuna gathering area in the
general vicinity of Alice, Texas, in Jim Wells County.47
Once the Land of Tunas is located in Jim Wells County, the route
projected by the Campbells for the men's escape from the Mariames
and for their later departure from the Avavares is supported nicely by
the documentation. Their path toward the Rio Grande was probably
southwestward, thereby avoiding both the barren sand plain and
hostile coastal Indians. Like Krieger, the Campbells postulated a Rio
Grande crossing in the area of Falcon Lake.48
This essay is intended to provide historical perspective on interpreta-
tions of Cabeza de Vaca's route in Texas. It will not "solve" the problem
of determining precisely where three Spaniards and an African trav-
eled on an odyssey that began in Texas and ended in Mexico City some
450 years ago. But a careful reading of the literature on the subject,
especially the work of Davenport and Wells, Krieger, and the Camp-
bells, suggests that those who persist in advocating a totally trans-Texas
route for the first leg of the overland journey should reassess the sound-
ness of scholarship on which it rests. Historical accuracy is important in
itself; moreover, a more precise route interpretation contributes to a
better understanding of early Texas ethnography, geography, and biol-
ogy. And, in any case, the possibility that a sizable portion of the Four
Ragged Castaways' route lay across northern Mexico hardly denies
their importance to the history of Texas. They were, after all, the first
non-Indian pioneers of Texas, and lived continuously for nearly seven
years in the area that would become the Lone Star State.
'7Krieger, "Travels," 466 (author's quotation marks). See fig. 2. Campbell and Campbell,
Choke Canyon, 4-6, 7 (quotations); Davenport and Wells, "First Europeans" (Jan., 1919),
"8Campbell and Campbell, Choke Canyon, 8. See fig. 3
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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/m1/188/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.