The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 625
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NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
The Elusive Eden: Frank McMullan's Confederate Colony in Brazil. By Wil-
liam Clark Griggs. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987. Pp.
xi+2 18. Preface, maps, photographs, appendices, notes, bibliogra-
phy, index. $25.00, cloth; $9.95, paper.)
The Elusive Eden joins Eugene C. Harter's The Lost Colony of the Con-
federacy (1985) as a recent study by a descendant of southerners who
fled the United States for Brazil after the American Civil War. Brazil,
which had leaned toward the Confederacy and adopted an immigra-
tion-incentive program, welcomed some twenty thousand Dixie exiles.
What differentiates Griggs's book is its focus upon an exilic subgroup-
the 154 overwhelmingly Texan colonists organized by Frank McMullan
of Hill and McLennan counties-that departed Galveston in January,
1867, for an almost five-hundred-square-mile land grant along the head-
waters of the Sao Lourengo in Brazil's Sao Paulo province. After an im-
probable succession of travel misfortunes, 145 colonists arrived in Rio
de Janeiro. Over half the group continued on to colony lands. Despite
the planting of coffee trees, staple crops, and vegetables, however, the
enterprise proved fleeting. McMullan's death that September triggered
a power struggle. Colonists suffered from isolated living conditions and
inadequate means of getting produce to market. Many returned to the
United States. Others joined the Norris Confederate community near
Santa Barbara. By 1870 all the McMullan colonists had left the grant.
Only fading vestiges, such as gatherings of a Fraternity of American
Descendants, keep Confederate traditions alive today among a fourth
generation that is losing its English-language competency.
This often movingly written narrative draws upon research in Latin
American and United States public archives and private collections.
Griggs puts printed documents and interviews with descendants to
good use. Appendices, specifying age and gender, provide listings of
the colonists. Illustrations, including a photograph of a Confederate
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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/m1/691/?rotate=270: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.