The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 266
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
result of interest by Stephen F. Austin, aroused when the steamboat Lively land-
ed there with Austin aboard in 1821. As a part of his remuneration for his work
in establishing his colony, Austin selected one third of a league of land at the
mouth of the river. He, his family and associates established the town. It had a
rival, Velasco, across the river, and later, Galveston. The town was expected to
become a major center of commerce. The only fly in the ointment was the bar at
the mouth of the river. Only shallow-draft vessels could cross the bar and land.
Navigation and channel improvements at the mouth of the river engendered
a research project focusing on the documentary history of the community of
Quintana. The result was a contract for Prewitt and Associates, sponsored by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, to perform the research and
publish the results under guidelines specified by the State Historic Preservation
Officer at the Texas Historical Commission. The objectives of the contract
included requirements to assess the significance of Quintana in terms of nine-
teenth-century political, economic, and social history and to assess its role in
regional development and Republic of Texas town planning. Martha Freeman
was employed to research the community and write up the results of her
research. Freeman has had extensive experience in this kind of research and is
well acquainted with the limitations and opportunities of such projects.
The core material in the monograph is divided into six chapters with material
presented in chronological order, starting with the founding of the community
and ending with the present. Within each chapter are extensive tables and maps
detailing the extensive research performed by Freeman and a narrative covering
each time period. The amount of research done for the project is clearly enor-
mous. Themes required by the contract are discussed in the narrative portion of
each chapter. Clearly, the speculators and residents of the community always
had high hopes that their town would prosper and become the major port for
the Republic and, later, the state. Rivalry with Velasco was also a constant theme,
as were efforts to improve the navigation possibilities at the bar.
In terms of meeting the requirements of the contract between the Corps of
Engineers and Prewitt and Associates, the monograph certainly does that. Huge
amounts of data are presented in a format easily understood. However, it seems
to me that the narrative history might have been more extensive. There is mini-
mal information about the effects of the Texas Revolution on the community;
the Mexican War was not noted in the chapter dealing with annexation and
events in the 1840s. Effects of the Civil War in the community were, likewise,
scarcely noted. One would have liked for the transportation and commerce
aspects to have been somewhat expanded. Likewise, the importance or signifi-
cance of Quintana to regional commerce and settlement are little developed.
The reasons for these limitations may lie in the stipulations of the contract or in
budgetary limitations on publication.
The book, although limited in its interpretive content, provides much materi-
al for the regional historian or genealogist. It should be considered a must for
anyone wanting to research the community. The land transactions, tax data, and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/302/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.