Paul H. Carlson, Emeritus Professor of History at Texas Tech University,
and Dr. David J. Murrah, former archivist and Director of the Southwest
Collection at Texas Tech, have assembled a fascinating anthology
on the Llano Estacado. Consisting of approximately sixty brief essays
written by an impressive team of twenty-three contributors, their
compendium examines this unique region from prehistoric days to
the present. Also known as the Staked Plains, the Llano Estacado
is "a treeless, high flat mesa that ranges from about three thousand
to four thousand feet above sea levelů[stretching] through parts
of eastern New Mexico and western Texas."
Carlson and Murrah divide their publication into seven segments:
"A Deep Past" (which discusses the ancient history of the region),
"Ranches and Roads," "Town Builders," "Legend Makers," "Tough Times,"
"Landmark Places and Events," and "Bright Lights of the Llano."
A host of intriguing characters populate the pages of this book,
including Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the mysterious
Lady in Blue (Maria de Jesus de Agreda), Comanche leader Quanah
Parker, U. S. Army officer Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, pioneer
Elizabeth Boyle Smith (often called "the mother of the plains"),
assassin "Deacon" Jim Miller, cattleman Murdo Mackenzie, businessman
George Singer, Lubbock founders Frank E. Wheelock and Whit E. Rayner,
philanthropist Mollie Abernathy, educator Mae Simmons, aviator Clent
Breedlove, politician Preston Smith, and legendary musician Buddy
This volume, Carlson and Murrah assert, offers "interesting and
lively but sometimes unfamiliar and remarkable little tales of the
Llano Estacado and its eastern caprock escarpment... Collectively,
they reveal plenty about the region's past, its people and its colorful
places. Chronologically, the 'hidden histories' range from an ancient,
deep past to a modern, almost contemporary present." A Selected
Bibliography provides suggestions for additional reading. In short,
Hidden History of the Llano Estacado will appeal to students
of the Lone Star heritage, especially those interested in regional
studies and the history and development of West Texas.