Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998 Page: 38
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
According to Imogene Bentley Dickey 's Early
Literary Magazines of Texas (Austin: Steck-
Vaughn Company, 1970), it was started in Wis-
consin in 1874 with Bella French as editor.
French published ten issues, six characterized
as volume 1, three as volume 2, and one as
volume 3, before she moved to Texas. There,
she married, and in 1878 took up her publica-
tion again, beginning with volume 4. She is
known to have published ten issues in Texas.
The last known issue was published in 1883. As
it had in Wisconsin, the Texas version of The
American Sketch Book contained historic
sketches of towns and counties, as well as po-
etry, fiction, and other material.
Irvine joined the magazine in 1879. In
introducing Irvine to its readers, in volume 5,
number 3, 1879, the magazine reproduced a
letter of recommendation from Texas governor
Richard Bennett Hubbard, Jr. The governor
wrote: "Miss Laura Jack Irvine of Tyler who
has recently accepted the position of assistant
editor of the AMERICAN SKETCH BOOK' a
month publication of rare excellence, is an ac-
quisition to the editorial corps of that Journal,
of which its patrons, and the public may well
be proud. Miss Irvine is a native of Texas, and
worthy of her nativity. Her ancestry are of the
early pioneers of the Republic of Texas, fought
the battles for her independence, and many of
them became martyrs to her cause. It is pecu-
liarly appropriate therefore that a young lady
'native and to the manor born,' and withal
eminently fitted by high intellectual culture,
should be associated in the editorial department
of a magazine intended to be devoted solely to
Texas, her glorious history of the past, the de-
velopment of her resources moral and material
of the present, and to aid in preparing the way
for the splendid future which awaits our State. "
Irvine 's arrival in Colorado County to
research her article was noted in the Colorado
Citizen of March 31, 1881: "Miss Laura Jack
Irvine, associate editor of the American Sketch
Book ... is at present visiting Columbus in the
interest of her publication, and may be found
at the Wootton House. Her principal object is
to gather historical information of all descrip-
tions that the 'oldest inhabitant' or younger ones
either may be able to give, which will be pub-
lished in the Sketch Book, and afterwards is-
sued in pamphlet form, convenient for all who
wish to circulate them for the benefit of our
county. She has already written up, in her fac-
ile, entrancing style, several counties, among
them Bexar, Gonzales, and Fayette, and we
hope old Colorado will not make less pleasant
impressions upon her. Miss Irvine is a native of
the Lone Star State, and her ancestors, with
other early pioneers shared the trials, endured
the privations, and fought the battles that se-
cured our independence. She has the good for-
tune of being the namesake of that superior lady,
the mother of the late Col. Tom Jack. "
So far as is known, no pamphlet was
ever produced. The article follows:
In 1822, a settlement was commenced
at the Atasca Sita crossing of the Colorado, a
little below the present town of Columbus.
Among the early settlers were Leander Beeson,
W. B. Dewees, Ross Alley, Wm. Alley, Jessa
Burnham, J. W. C. Wallace, Thomas Burns,
Peter and John Tumbleson. In 1831 and '33,
came F. Peters, Levi Bostick, William Hunt,
John Mathews, Maj. Montgomery, David Cole,
the Coopers and others.
The tribe of Indians who gave the most
trouble to the early settlers were the
Carankawas, a fierce and warlike tribe; they
are spoken of as being strongly built and of tall
statue, over six feet in height. It is said that
each warrior carried a bow exactly his own
length, so powerful that few Americans could
bend them, and with these they could shoot their
arrows with unerring accuracy. From what can
be learned, it is highly probable that this tribe
were cannibals, indeed, they were always spo-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998, periodical, January 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151402/m1/38/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.