Heritage, Volume 14, Number 1, Winter 1996 Page: 24
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John Peterson, Book Review Editor
Oil Legends of Fort Worth
The Historical Committee of the Fort Worth
Petroleum Club, Taylor Publishing Company
The Fort Worth Petroleum Club has
produced a vanity edition of the history of
the Fort Worth oil industry, its practitioners,
and its legends. It is written with the
dedicated enthusiasm mustered by local
historians. It is highly readable, delightful
in its local color and in its wealth of historical
and personal detail, and comprehensive
of its subject.
Fort Worth was transformed in October
of 1917 by the McCleskey gusher that
basted Mrs. McCleskey's Leghorns in crude,
and, like an elephant, "a grandaddy of
trophy bulls - had just blown in; an elephant
that would transform Fort Worth
from a dusty little cowtown into a booming
mecca of oil; an elephant that trumpeted
the ascension of a new breed of Fort Worth
businessman - part gambler, part geologist,
part God-fearing Texan - the independent
oilman." This local history is a fine tribute
to the players of that era.
Whatever has followed, from the University
of Texas Permanent University Fund
to the "Dallas" television series, has grown
from this vision of tough frontier capitalism.
While this volume venerates the oil
legends of the early 20th century, it also
amply demonstrates the accidental qualities
of wealth and history.
The Forgotten Centuries:
Indians and Europeans in
the American South 15211704
Edited by Charles Hudson and Carmen
Chaves Tesser, 1994, University of Georgia
Reviewed by archaeologist Dr. Timothy K.
The history of the American South before
the 18th century has been conventionally
treated as if it were "no more than
a 16th century foreword and a 17th century
introduction" to the successful colonization
by the English. With a better appreciation
of the historical, ethnohistorical,
and archaeological records for the period
between 1521-1704, the fascinating story
of Native American chiefdom-European
contact during this period can now be told
in the manner it deserves.
In this edited volume, Hudson, Tesser,
and 16 authors focus on the period from the
1521 Spanish landing on the coast of South
Carolina to obtain Native American slaves
to the 1702-1704 raids by James Moore
against the Spanish mission communities
in Florida. They seek to highlight "a story
of social beginnings, of Europeans founding
a precarious enterprise in the New
World, and it is replete with accounts of
their relationships with the native peoples
who were unfortunate enough to live near
The book has four parts: "Exploration
of the Southeast", "The Southeastern
Chiefdoms", "Structural Change", and "The
Formation of New Societies". After discussing
the general cultural context of the
area at the time of contact and highlighting
the diverse character of Native American
chiefdoms across the Southeast, the
rest of the papers in Part I discuss the
explorations of De Soto, Lucas Vazquez de
Ayollon, and Cabeza de Vaca in the region.
The remaining papers grapple with
portraying changes in native history among
Southeastern Mississippian chiefdoms at
contact, focusing first on the Apalachee,
Ocute/Cofaqui, Cofitachequi, and Coosa
chiefdoms of Florida, Georgia, and South
Carolina, then turn to the Powhatan Creek
and Choctaw confederacies, which formed
from remnants of the great chiefdoms during
the 17th century.
The paper by Randolph Widmer on
"The Structure of Southeastern Chiefdoms"
is particularly interesting because it clearly
discusses the basic organizing principle of
chiefdoms--the principle of ranking by birth
order--and explains how this ranking was
used by kin groups in conjunction with
means of economic production and redistribution
to establish powerful priestly
chiefdoms. In Texas, the Caddo Indians
were one such powerful priestly chiefdom,
a chiefdom that shared much with their
There were great forces causing changes
in native Southeastern chiefdoms. They
include the effects of epidemic diseases
upon Native Americans who had no natural
immunity to European diseases, the
mission system introduced by the Jesuits
and Franciscans, and the development of
the fur and slave trades after 1670 by English
entrepreneurs in Carolina.
All of these forces swept as well through
the Native American groups living in Texas
and northern Mexico about the same time,
wreaking massive and deleterious changes
to the fabric of Native American societies
living in the Spanish borderlands. Our
understanding of the ways Native Americans
in Texas and northern Mexico changed
"to meet the challenges of the modem
world", as Hudson and Tesser put it, is
unfortunately still threadbare. What is
needed for this part of the world is a comprehensive
synthesis of Native American -
European culture contact employing archaeological,
ethnohistorical, and documentary
records. Works such as "The Forgotten
Centuries" should prove important
indeed for this work by illuminating critical
aspects of this ongoing relationship in a
part of North America not so different
from our own here in Texas and the Southwest.
24 HERITAGE .WINTER 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 1, Winter 1996, periodical, Winter 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45404/m1/24/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.