The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 698
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698 Southwestern Historical Quarterly April
thor of the celebrated Tom Brown's Schooldays. Faced with financial setbacks in the
family, Willy departed for Texas in 1878, eventually starting a sheep business near
Boerne (Kendall County). At various times brothers Gerard and Harry, sister Emi-
ly, and other relatives spent time at the ranch. Their letters home were published
by their uncle in 1884. Long a proponent of the redemptive value of hard work
for privileged youth, the elder Hughes had established a utopian agrarian settle-
ment at Rugby, Tennessee. Now he sought to inspire future Texas colonists with
"trustworthy details of the life which young emigrants will have to lead in the first
years of their experiment" (p. li).
The book's subtitle, "Letters from Our Boys," fails to suggest that all four sib-
lings, Emily included, appear as authors. Willy, however, emerges as the dominant
voice. With a markedly uniform style, the Hughes collectively eschew the graver
historical issues of political and social developments in favor of vignettes of fron-
tier life, workaday routines and the nuts-and-bolts economics of sheep produc-
tion-subjective historical narratives of the type Miguel de Unamuno termed
"infrahistory." Exemplars of their culture and times, the Hughes maintain a Vic-
torian stiff upper lip through heat and cold, drought, crop failure, dying stock
and continuous back-breaking labor. No hint is given of the legendary animosity
between sheep and cattle ranchers, or even of quarrels among the siblings them-
selves. With plucky good cheer, the Hughes trumpet the "bully" and "jolly" times
of their travails, thus reinforcing their uncle's philosophy that success is a simple
matter of modest capital investment and a healthy work ethic. Of course the
prospective English colonists to whom the book was targeted would have little dif-
ficulty inferring their own advantage in this regard over other racial and ethnic
groups, especially Mexicans, African- and Native Americans, who joined sundry
Yankees and ex-Confederates, Germans, and Irish, in the fascinating human mo-
saic of late-nineteenth-century Kendall County. (Today's reader is also forced to
indulge the Hugheses' politically incorrect terminology when referring to some
of these peoples.)
This first-ever re-edition of G. T. T. Gone to Texas is a handsome volume, lavishly
illustrated with family photographs and brother Gerard's drawings of frontier life.
The editors have added a selection of previously unpublished Hughes letters
through 1889, as well as information on later family developments, including the
accidental deaths of all three brothers-two by drowning, and Willy, the final sur-
vivor, in a 1902 train wreck. Exhaustively researched and annotated, the volume
does a commendable job of recovering a detailed, if quaintly sanguine, record of
life on the rapidly modernizing Texas frontier.
Adrian College, Mzchigan John Eipper
The Letters of John Wesley Hardin. Transcribed and compiled by Roy and Jo Ann
Stamps. (Austin: Eakin Press, 2001. Pp. xiv+343. Notes, acknowledgments,
index. ISBN 1-57168-622-3. $27.95, paper.)
Although the study of outlaws/gunfighters and lawmen of the Old West is now
largely the province of amateurs and lay historians, this snobbishness by profes-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/754/?rotate=270: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.