The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 500

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

sions, however, point to the importance of greater historical research
into Florence Bailey and women similar to her. Now that Florence's life
as an ornithologist has been told, her life as a woman should also be
Purdue University GRACE MARY GOUVEIA
The Colonel's Lady on the Western Frontier: The Correspondence of Alzce Kirk
Grzerson. Edited and with an introduction by Shirley Anne Leckie.
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. Pp. xiii+255. Pref-
ace, introduction, illustrations, notes, appendix, bibliography, in-
dex. $25.95, cloth; $9.95, paper.)
A number of wives of army officers on the western frontier pub-
lished books about their experiences-Elizabeth Custer, Margaret and
Frances Carrington, Martha Summerhayes, and dozens of others. Un-
like these women, Alice Kirk Grierson did not produce a book, but dur-
ing more than twenty years with her husband at posts mainly in Indian
Territory, Texas, and New Mexico she wrote and received numerous
letters that fortunately were preserved.
Shirley Leckie has arranged this correspondence with connecting
texts so that the result is a virtual narrative, aptly titled The Colonel's
Lady on the Western Frontzer. Because Alice Grierson was not writing for
publication, her story is more candid than most accounts of military
family life during that period.
Alice was the wife of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, hero of a famous
cavalry raid across Mississippi in conjunction with General Grant's as-
sault upon Vicksburg. In 1984, Shirley and William Leckie published a
history of the Grierson family, and she follows the western trail set by
that book.
The Colonel's Lady begins in 1866 with a letter from Alice in Illinois to
her husband in Washington, D.C., where he was preparing to enter the
postwar regular army. From there she is precipitated into unfamiliar
environments in a rapid succession of army post assignments. Each
time that she believed she might be settled with some permanence, her
husband's Tenth Cavalry (black enlisted men with white officers) would
be transferred farther into the Southwest.
The longest stay was at Fort Concho, Texas, for seven years. At first
the Griersons hated the bleakness of the Plains and the wild town of
San Angelo, but gradually they came to like the sweep of land and sky.
In fact they did not look forward to the next move to Fort Davis, but
soon grew so fond of that scenic area they bought land for a ranch and
planned to retire there, though that never happened.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. ( accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.