The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 697
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
slavery, and white supremacy on intimate relationships and familial dynamics (p.
xviii). The author does a stunning job of unearthing wonderfully scandalous sto-
ries about early Texas families and their legal entanglements. He masterfully teas-
es out rich meanings from these tales.
In six cleverly titled chapters, Carroll examines informal and formal relation-
ships between Anglo-Texan, Native-American, Tejano, and African-American
men and women. The author is particularly interested in the ways in which fron-
tier society, public institutions, and family dynamics shaped one another. He finds
that antebellum jurisprudence in Texas borrowed from a variety of sources, rang-
ing from Spanish and Mexican law to that of the United States, differentiating be-
tween northern and southern approaches to the law. Texas family law, however,
did not replicate any other legal system. Such a replication would have been im-
possible given the unique set of circumstances that shaped the lives of antebellum
Texans: mostly southern white American cultural understandings imposed on top
of longstanding Hispanic legal traditions and sexual norms, alongside African
slavery, frontier conditions, and hostile Native Americans. As Carroll argues, "In
order for invading Anglos, eager to reinforce slavery and secure their dominance,
to establish a functional law of domestic relations and sexual intimacy, it had to be
pragmatic, neither imported nor idealistic" (p. xix). Carroll concludes that Texas
laws on domestic relations developed in concert with prevailing Anglo racial atti-
tudes, sexual ideals, and gender stereotypes, resulting in an institutional scheme
that shored up Anglo male dominance of a racial-caste system. At the same time,
however, Texas jurisprudence was forced to respond creatively to Anglo-Texan
homesteaders, whose tendency to be ambitious and independent led them into
"often aberrant mating behavior" that only the courts could meliorate (p. 165).
The author traces the changes in family law and interracial relationships as
Texas developed from a largely unpopulated frontier Mexican province to an in-
dependent nation to a populous American state. Carroll's writing style is accessi-
ble and humorous. His use of particular cases makes the law come alive for the
reader. Moreover, his research is painstakingly thorough, making at least this
reader turn frequently to the footnotes simply out of curiosity. In sum, Homesteads
Ungovernable gives definition to an often hazy historical picture of daily life in an-
tebellum Texas. The book will interest students of Texas history and law, gender,
borderlands, and the antebellum southwestern frontier.
Hillsdale College Dedra S. McDonald
G.T.T. Gone to Texas: Letters from OurBoys (1878-z889). Edited by John R. DeBruyn
and Christine Gilbert. (The Book Club of Texas, 2ooo. Pp. liii+259. Illustra-
tions, foreword, introduction, addenda, annotations, bibliography, acknowl-
edgments, index. $70.00 member; $120o.oo nonmember, cloth.)
In the nineteenth century, the label G.T.T.-"Gone to Texas"-referred to ad-
venturers seeking refuge in that state, usually escaping financial or legal straits.
For William "Willy" Hughes, G.T.T. was applied rather playfully to this scion of an
influential English family, whose members included Willy's Uncle Thomas, au-
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/753/?rotate=90: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.