The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
War era. With the added advantage of time, each generation has not re-
written its history, but has merely reworded that of its fathers. Later histo-
rians have failed to escape the framework of earlier narratives, have con-
tinued to rely too heavily upon conservative newspaper accounts, and have
neglected to ask new relevant questions of their sources.
Charles Ramsdell's I9Io monograph, Reconstruction in Texas, which
later accounts follow, provides a decided improvement over previously pub-
lished partisan narratives,4 yields far more detailed information than earlier
fragmentary works, and contains remarkably few factual errors.5 Yet many
of Ramsdell's interpretations are dated, lack documentation, and are little
more than value judgments. Moreover, since 191o much manuscript ma-
terial has been organized, many local histories have been written which bear
on that era," and a number of the period's leading political figures have had
their biographers.' Texas Reconstruction historiography does not presently
need, however, another survey, but rather a focus on certain aspects which
will hopefully shed additional light on the totality of the period.8
4One of the first surveys of Texas Reconstruction was Charles Stewart's "Reconstruc-
tion in Texas" in Hilary A. Herbert (ed.), Why the Solid South? or, Reconstruction and
Its Results (Baltimore, 1899), who in referring to early Texas Republicans writes that "it
is but the plain truth to say, that no more ignorant, incompetent, vicious and corrupt men
have ever been permitted by any government, to hold official position" (p. 350). Charles
Ramsdell, on the other hand, avoided the use of such derogatory terms as "scalawags,"
"renegades," "opportunists," and "political adventurers." Nonetheless, he seemingly re-
garded early Texas Republican leaders as somewhat naive, sincere but deceived Union-
ists, who were prone to paranoia. He admitted they were persecuted but ascribed such
violence to frontier conditions and interference in state affairs by military authorities
rather than to prevailing community attitudes. Charles Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas
(New York, 1gIo), 66-67, 127, 148, 175, 187-188.
5Two errors appear on page 201 of Reconstruction in Texas. Ramsdell overestimated
George T. Ruby's residency in Texas by at least seven years, and promoted Edmund J.
Davis, a former state district judge, to "Federal judge."
6Those local histories utilized in this paper include Oscar Haas, History of New Braun-
fels and Comal County, Texas, 1844-1946 (Austin, x968); Graham Landrum, Grayson
County: An Illustrated History of Grayson County, Texas (Fort Worth, 1960); Guido E.
Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas: A Centennial History (San Antonio,
1954) ; George W. Tyler, The History of Bell County, edited by Charles W. Ramsdell (San
Antonio, 1936); Paul C. Boethel, The History of Lavaca County (San Antonio, 1936);
and Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839-1899 (Waco, I963).
'Biographical studies useful for this paper include John L. Waller, Colossal Hamilton
of Texas: A Biography of Andrew Jackson Hamilton, Militant Unionist and Reconstruc-
tion Governor (El Paso, 1968); Claude Elliott, Leathercoat: The Life History of a Texas
Patriot (San Antonio, 1938); Dale A. Somers, "James P. Newcomb: The Making of a
Radical," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXII (April, 1969), 449-469; Benjamin
Hillon Miller, "Elisha Marshall Pease: A Biography" (M.A. thesis, University of Texas,
Austin, 1927); and Ike Moore (ed.), The Life and Diary of Reading W. Black: A
History of Early Uvalde (Uvalde, Texas, 1934).
SFor examples of such studies see Ann Patton Baenziger, "The Texas State Police
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/20/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.