The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 516
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
drawing. Mary Rabb kept her spinning wheel whistling day and night to muffle
the sounds of mischievous Indians. Interesting "sidelights" give excerpts from
Austin's letters, land grants, and marriage bonds.
Although the premise is accomplished, the title is misleading since there are
biographies of fewer than one-third of the colonists. Some left no descendants
and not all remaining descendants were interested in participation. I agree with
Greaser that "Austin's story is well-documented, but the story of his hardy
colonists deserves to be expanded" (p. x). Perhaps a future writer will use this
book as a basis for a new work and the biographies of the others will be added to
make a complete account. Regardless, the stories, glossary, and timeline of this
slim volume make a valuable tool for the researcher of Texas history and an
interesting book for the casual reader. It gives insight into the lives of early
Texians and should be a welcome addition to collectors of Texana.
San Antonio MADGE THORNALL ROBERTS
The Texas Red River Country: The Official Surveys of the Headwaters, 1876. Edited by
T. Lindsey Baker. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998. Pp.
xxii+234. List of illustrations, foreword, introduction, notes, index. ISBN o-
89096-803-9. $29.95, cloth.)
Surveying and mapping the headwaters of the Red River in the Texas
Panhandle proved elusive during much of the nineteenth century. Several expe-
ditions tried and failed, including those led by Zebulon Pike (1806-07),
Stephen Long (1820o), and Randolph Marcy and George McClellan (1852). It
wasn't until 1876 that Lt. Ernest Ruffner proposed and led an expedition that
succeeded in surveying, recording, and mapping the land and the watercourses
of the upper reaches of the Red River. T. Lindsey Baker has compiled and anno-
tated a number of related reports, maps, and manuscripts generated by the
Ruffner expedition in his new book, The Texas Red River Country: The Official
Surveys of the Headwaters, 1876.
The impetus for the expedition came from Ruffner, who, at the time, was
chief engineer for the Department of Missouri stationed at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas. Ruffner proposed the idea in April 1876, and the expedition set out
from Fort Elliot in the eastern Panhandle on May 11. Accompanying Ruffner
were German-born illustrator Carl Julius Adolph Hunnius, Lt. C. A. H.
McCauley, civilian scout Billy Dixon, and forty-nine other military and civilian
personnel. The expedition conducted a stadia line survey from Fort Elliot to
Palo Duro Canyon, then on to the main head of the Red at Tierra Blanca and
Palo Duro Creeks. The expedition spent six weeks in the field surveying the
river, gathering geological and meteorological data, and cataloging plant and
animal life. Baker points out in his excellent introduction that Ruffner and the
expedition recorded valuable ecological information about the region just
before the open range cattle business brought major environmental change.
The book, number thirteen in Texas A&M University Press's Environmental
History Series, is an important primary resource for anyone interested in the
natural history of the Panhandle as well as the process the military used to
explore, classify, record, and map the natural world. For the first time, the book
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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/m1/572/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.