The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 401
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were planted too far north for it to grow into an archetypical (sic) Spanish colo-
nial town as planned, and it became too civilized by European immigrants to be
dismissed as a brawling frontier settlement. San Antonio is too far west to be
characteristically southern and too far east to be completely southwestern, too
far from the Rio Grande to be a border city yet close enough to capture a sense
of Mexico, too far from major transportation routes to be a world-class commer-
cial center, but big enough to be the nation's ninth largest city" (p. ix).
Jennings' encyclopedic work also explores the unique spirit of San Antonio
but follows a more thematic approach. Its sixteen chapters treat such diverse
topics as the city's waterways, history as a battle site, noted buildings and plazas,
public celebrations, historic preservation, military heritage, and cultural groups
like Native Americans, Hispanics, and Germans. The years of research spent
preparing this book are evident in the number of anecdotes and factual details
that Jennings presents. Here the reader can feast on fascinating tales ranging
from Native American gatherings under a ceremonial oak tree in Olmos Basin
to the current redevelopment efforts at Kelly Air Force Base. This book is cer-
tainly the most comprehensive compilation of San Antonio lore to date. Maps,
illustrations, an historical timeline, and other support materials further enhance
the book's value as a storehouse of information about San Antonio.
Since both authors set out to write what is essentially a readable biography of a
city, neither provides notes for the quotations and other data they present.
Jennings does offer a helpful bibliographic essay, but readers who seek to use
either work as an historical reference may be frustrated by having to find for
themselves the source(s) of direct citations and other information.
Given the sheer volume of information in Jennings' book, it is not surprising
that it contains some errors of historical fact. For example, his claim that Jose
Francisco Ruiz assisted in securing the 1842 release of Samuel Maverick from a
Mexican prison (p.191) is not possible, as the San Fernando Cathedral parish
records indicate that Rufz died on January 20, 1840. Rufz's son Francisco
Antonio was undoubtedly the one who came to Maverick's aid on that occasion.
Similarly, Juan N. Seguin's letter regarding the burial place of the Alamo
defenders was not written in 1899 (p.188) but 1889; Segufn died in 1890. While
summarizing the history of San Fernando church, in a somewhat ambiguous pas-
sage Jennings appears to suggest that the original bell tower remained after the
church was renovated and enlarged during construction work completed from
1868 to 1873 (pp. 193-195). The 1873 bell tower was actually a new addition
and the San Fernando congregation added a second bell tower in 1903 ,not
"around 1890" as Jennings states (p.195). These are three of several minor mis-
takes this reviewer noted in the book.
Fisher's more abbreviated presentation has minimal errors. However, at least a
few details in the book are incorrect. One is that the author mistakenly relates
that German residents built St. John's Lutheran church in 1852 (pp. 25, 31).
Congregational records indicate that Reverend P. F. Zizelmann, the city's first
Lutheran pastor, arrived at San Antonio that year but construction on St. John's
did not begin until eight years later. Shortly thereafter the congregation began
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/458/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.