The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 597
be redone very shortly. In the meantime this will provide an excellent guide to
University of North Texas E. DALE ODOM
Texas Crossings: The Lone Star State and the American Far West, I836-1986. By
Howard R. Lamar (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991. Pp. xviii+82.
Foreword, preface, maps, black-and-white photographs, illustrations, notes,
It has been suggested that Texas has always been a place where people pass
through east-west or north-south. Howard Lamar has examined the impact of
these "Texas Crossings" on both the state and the Southwest. His stimulating
and thought-provoking analyses, interpretations, and conclusions are herewith
presented in three George W. Littlefield lectures, which were established to em-
phasize the importance of the South in American history.
Using less known diaries and other sources, Lamar's first lecture traces the ex-
ploration and development of various trails across Texas by travelers to Califor-
nia during the Gold Rush. He reaches the following tentative conclusions: the
routes across Texas were hard to travel in spite of the efforts of the U.S. Cavalry
to survey and improve them and of the hospitality of the outfitting towns; the
travelers were often "men of talent, ability and integrity" (p. 13); they saw evi-
dence of slavery everywhere, but those from the North and Midwest did not ex-
press anti-slavery views.
A second lecture considers the role of Southerners and Texans once they ar-
rived in California. Emphasis is placed on the east-west cattle drives, which were
as important as the later south-north drives; on those unhappy Texans seeking a
new home; and on individuals like Jack Hays and Ben McCulloch, who became
sheriffs of San Francisco and Sacramento counties respectively, Lewis Harris,
who became mayor of Sacramento, and Thomas Jefferson Green, notorious
member of the California legislature. The town of El Monte, California, became
a center of Southern influence and vigilantism as a cumulative effect of this mi-
The final lecture is a broad overview of the Texas-California connection deal-
ing with Southern influence in California during the Civil War, railroad con-
struction, parallel developments in the oil industry, the importance of the "Dust
Bowl" migration, and the similarities in demography, noting the importance of
blacks and Mexican Americans. Lamar points out in passing that Maury Maver-
ick was admitted to the California bar and practiced there as well as in Texas,
and that Lyndon Johnson as a teenager briefly sought his fortune in California.
The author shows his familiarity with Texas history in a preface that summa-
rizes the theme of explorers and travelers crossing the region from the time of
the earliest arrival of Europeans. Overall, this volume of excellent lectures illus-
trates how mobility was a significant factor in the history of American develop-
Here’s what’s next.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/m1/667/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.