The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 203
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Presidio County, created by the Texas legislature in 1850, originally
encompassed the area of several present-day counties in southwest
Texas. Formally organized in 1875, the county was reduced to its pres-
ent limits in 1885, and Marfa was named the county seat. A published
history of the county and the town has long been needed, thus justify-
ing the effort made in these volumes.
Volume I traces developments from the prehistoric Indian occupa-
tion of the Big Bend region to the ranching and mining settlements of
modern Presidio County in the 189os. Volume II continues the survey
from 1901 to 1946, narrating in topical sequence year by year military
activities, economics, social and cultural events, churches and schools,
people and personal news, weddings and deaths, law and order, and
developments in communities along the Rio Grande.
Using newspapers, private collections, public documents, military
records, and existing publications, the author has assembled a vast
amount of factual information that will be of particular interest to
readers in the Big Bend country and to researchers. Prospective read-
ers should not expect to find a definitive historical synthesis; the work is
a substantial chronology with a minimum of analysis and interpreta-
tion. Nevertheless, the details will be of immense value to genealogists
and authors of monographs on subjects that are mentioned. Spanish
entradas, Indian activities, traffic along the Chihuahua trail, military ac-
tivities, ranching, mining, railroading, and community and business
developments are covered. The writing is uneven; the author is at her
best at such times as when she traces the activities of Milton Faver, the
first rancher in the region, and the colorful life of the elusive Ben
Leaton. Here Thompson keeps the reader in suspense about what will
happen next. Also well done is her survey, interspersed throughout the
book, of military activities. These extend from the first American ex-
plorations in the region after the Mexican War to activities at Fort D. A.
Russell and Marfa Army Air Field during World War II.
The Presidio County Historical Commission is to be commended for
sponsoring this work, and the author deserves credit for her extensive
research. The syntax is often cumbersome and there are mistakes in
spelling and fact that elude typographical explanations (e.g., "Fore-
ward" for Foreword" and "Johnson" for "Johnston" in reference to
Joseph. E. Johnston). Contradictory statements suggest poor proofing
(saying at one point, for example, that no one knows the name of the
Russian novel with the character for whom Marfa is named and at an-
other saying that the novel was Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov).
Also, the unconventional listing of chapter notes at the end of each vol-
ume without numbering them makes it difficult to use what is one of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/230/: accessed June 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.