The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 359

Book Reviews

piece together the steps by which his family lost Rancho Alamito in Re-
fugio County, Texas, in 1875. Anglo greed, prejudice, and chicanery
are the driving forces behind this story.
The land was originally granted to Manuel Becerra in 1832 by the
government of Coahuila and Texas. It continued in the family, though
divided among the descendants, until 1875. By that time, the family, as
the author notes, had "unfortunately" failed to register their title with
the General Land Office in Austin. The land commissioner, with no
record of deed in evidence, granted the land to the International and
Great Northern Railroad Company as scrip, which was, in turn, pur-
chased by Thomas O'Connor. According to family history, despite the
fact that the Becerra descendants still lived on and paid taxes for the
land, threats by Anglo night riders, led by a "prominent landowner"
(p. 201 on), soon forced the family off their land. The tradition of the
land ownership remained in the family and was handed down until
Rubio learned of it in 1972. Driven by anger, a sense of injustice, and
personal dedication to the cause of regaining the land, Rubio united
the family descendants, hired a lawyer and brought suit against the
powerful O'Connor family for the original ranch lands. Although the
case was dismissed without prejudice, and "the battle was lost," as Rubio
points out, "the war continues" (p. 174)-
Stolen Heritage is not easy reading. The action jumps randomly from
recent to distant past to present with little historical continuity. Rubio
and his search become the only unifying element. The reader is inun-
dated with dates, places, and people who are repeatedly and confus-
ingly introduced. As the editor admits in his foreword, the book is
"convoluted" (xii). It seems a shame that the editor did not help the
author revise more of those convoluted sections. Despite the problems,
the book builds to a satisfying climax with sparks of tension, action, and
drama along the way. Stolen Heritage provides a contribution to all those
readers interested in learning about important archival sources and
new insights into researching family histories.
University of Texas at Austin A. C. CASTILLO-CRIMM
The Border: Life on the Line. By Douglas Kent Hall. (New York: Abbeville
Press, 1988. Pp. 249. Photographs. $35.)
Douglas Kent Hall is a humanist in love with Mexico and its people.
With both pen and camera he finds moral strength, native intelligence,
dignity, and everyday practical talent in many human beings regardless
of social status and material wealth. In this admirable book he finds the
U.S.-Mexico border well-stocked with these kinds of individuals re-


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.