Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991 Page: 24
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MY DEAR MOLLIE:
Love Letters of a Texas Sheep Rancher
Collected by his granddaughter, Agnesa Reeve
"Better than any history book. These
letters reveal not only the heart of
the man who wrote them, but
the age in which he lived."
-Jane Roberts Wood, author of
Train to Estelline
F. I I Another time, another Texas
come to vivid life in this
collection of letters from a
West Texas sheep rancher to
his sweetheart. My Dear Mollie
traces the uneven progress of a
courtship that must conquer vast
Texas distances and a stem father's
disapproval. A moving episode in
,ov;,/' \ the history of the human heart.
> ,,> \ 192 pages
i '/ \ hardcover $17.95
At your local bookstore, or order from:
P.O. Box 25123 * Dallas, TX 75225
A\' Please add $1.50 for shipping and handling.
Texas residents add $1.48 sales tax.
There is color and there is pathos in the
speeches recorded in this book. "I works
cattle now through dreaming," laments
ranch foreman Richard Harris in his waning
years. Many of the cowhands were articulate;
their comments spare. As Camillo
Ramirez summed it up, "I don't build
fences, I don't fix windmills-I just work
The ranchers had more to say to author
O'Connor. Many had been exposed to a
wider world than their cowhands, as with
rancher Henry Koontz and the O'Connor
family. Nonetheless, they felt embedded in
their roles as stewards of the land and the
people who lived on it. They were workers
as well as owners and shared with their
hands a kind of baffled loyalty to the land.
As Preston Stofer put it, "I always wanted
to ranch. I don't even know why. I guess it's
because I own the land. It must be in my
blood. I certainly don't do it for the profit.
I love it in the spring when the calves hit
the ground. It's a way of life."
As an oral and archival history, this
book is a superlative document, exhaustively
compiled and skillfully edited. However,
the author's commentary is often
hard to discern from those of her subjects.
She is satisfied to evoke a nostalgic mood
24 HERITAGE * WINTER 1991
rather than a critical commentary. Nonetheless,
as a record of accounts by those
who lived it firsthand, this is a fine contribution
to the rural history of Texas.
John Peterson is a professional archaeologist and
the book review editor of HERITAGE.
MY DEAR MOLLIE: Love Letters
of a Texas Sheep Rancher
Letters of John Barclay McGill. Collected by his
Granddaughter Agnesa Reeve, Hendrick-Long
Publishing Co., Dallas, Texas, 1990, $17.95
Reviewed by Patricia Haas
Agnesa Reeve, granddaughter of John
Barclay McGill and Millie McCormick
McGill, presents the reader with a gift in
this collection of love letters written by her
grandfather to her grandmother over a
"My Dear Mollie," writes J.B.M., as he
signed his letters, on May 7, 1889. "Did the
idea ever occur to you that I am a very
remarkable individual?" And that he is.
McGill was a journalist before becoming a
sheep rancher. His love of the language is
evident; his letters are eloquent and from
the heart. He is witty and warm and deter
EL EL EL EL EL .... - -f A
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991, periodical, Winter 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45422/m1/24/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.