Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 4
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
a contract between the two on file in the Colorado County courthouse (see Mortgage
Book B, page 149, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas). It was published
in Louisville, Kentucky in 1852. There were two other early editions, but by the time
Zumwalt wrote his history, the book had been out of print for more than fifty years.
Zumwalt, of course, might have had his own copy, or he might have made use of a copy
in a public repository. Most likely, however, he relied on a reprint of the book that was
serialized in The Colorado Citizen from March 3, 1922 until January 12, 1923. The
Citizen apparently transcribed a copy of the book owned by Dewees' daughter-in-law,
Lizzie (see The Colorado Citizen, February 24, 1922). Zumwalt's second main source
was an article written by S. M. Lesesne that dealt with certain persons who had once
lived in Colorado County. The article originally appeared in The Galveston News, but
probably came to Zumwalt's attention when it was reprinted in The Weimar Mercury of
October 3, 1913.
No one who researches or writes history can hope to avoid error. Most such
people expect and hope that future historians, with new sources and new perspectives,
will discover and correct their inevitable mistakes. Unhappily, despite the fact that he
had ready access to a vast quantity of primary source material at the Colorado County
courthouse directly across the street from his drugstore, Zumwalt apparently failed to
use it to confirm or amplify the information he drew from far less reliable sources, and
made apparently flawed interpretations of even those sources. If we are to judge
Zumwalt as a historian by the number of mistakes he made, then he was a very poor
historian indeed. If, however, we judge him by his ability to generate interest in history,
then he was an enormous success, for his work was the impetus for and the foundation
of all the work done by subsequent local researchers and writers, and for all the attention
paid to the area's past by organizations such as the Magnolia Homes Tour, Inc. and the
Colorado County Historical Commission. Unfortunately, these writers and organizations
frequently have adhered to Zumwalt's statements as though they were the holy writ.
Accordingly, to provide a better understanding of the article, to again make it widely
available, and to sort out fact from fiction, an annotated reprint is presented herein.
Zumwalt's original text appears in italics. Comments on the text appear indented, and
in Roman type.
In the Alamo at San Antonio is an old Spanish map with a dot in the bend of the Colorado
river where Columbus now stands that is named Montezuma. Although that is a Spanish
name, no evidence has been found to show that Spaniards had a settlement here and
it is supposed the place was an Indian village.
Now, more than fifty years after this sparse description of it was written,
it is impossible to know just what map Zumwalt found in the Alamo.
Disregarding historical maps made in later years, only four maps that
show the place called Montezuma have been discovered: David H. Burr's
1833 map Texas; Thomas Gamaliel Bradford's map of Texas from his
1835 book A Comprehensive Atlas, Geographical, Historical and Com-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/4/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.