Texian Army that took the field in 1835-36… was a completely volunteer
'army of the people,' democratic in the extreme. These volunteers
came and went at will, elected their own officers and then disregarded
their orders and even participated in making tactical military decisions.
They were virtually impossible to lead. However, what the Texians
lacked in organization, discipline and leadership, they made up
for with courage, zeal in battle and revolutionary spirit." So observes
C. Herndon Williams in "The Texian Army: 'A Mob, Called an Army,'"
one of fifty-three "short, evocative sketches" in this engaging,
clearly written anthology of Lone Star history.
Dr. Williams, born in Houston
and now residing in Bayside,
serves as Chair of the Refugio County Historical Commission and
is the author of True
Tales of the Texas Frontier: Eight Centuries of Adventure and Surprise,
published by the History Press in 2013.
Williams divides this book into five sections: Karankawa and Other
Indians; Early Explorers and Immigrants; Early Missions, Ports and
Towns; The War for Texas Independence; and Shipwrecks, Treasures,
Sculpture and Dominos. He also includes a timeline, covering the
years 1519-1895; a helpful bibliography rounds out his study.
In his introduction, Williams writes, "My geographical focus has
been on the region of the middle Texas coast known, at least locally,
as the Coastal Bend…I have tried to discover the stories less often
told or those that are different from the commonly accepted version…My
intent is to pique interest, inform and, in a few cases, surprise
my readers." Among the intriguing subjects he explores are "Scalping,
War Trophies and Ritual Cannibalism," "Mary Amarro, the Last Karankawa?,"
"White Children as Indian Captives," "Cabeza de Vaca, Faith Healer
to the Karankawa," "The Camels That Terrorized the Coast," "The
Bluest Blue Norther in Texas," "Disease in Early Texas and Hazardous
Remedies," "The Laura and the Yellowstone: Steamboats
That Could," "A Mexican View of Texas," "Acadian Trail of Tears
in the Coastal Bend," " The First Millionaire in Texas," "Indian
Trails Became Modern Highways," "John Wesley Hardin Never Killed
Anyone in Refugio County," "The Treasure of Barkentine Creek," and
"Jean Lafitte's Treasure is Buried at False Live Oak Point."
Lone Star history devotees will undoubtedly relish Dr. Williams'
compelling vignettes. This is an enjoyable way to learn about the
rich heritage of the Texas coast.
Note: The History Press, which specializes in local and regional
history aimed at the general reader, has published numerous works
related to Texas. Six recent titles include James Villanueva's Remembering
Slaton, Texas: Centennial Stories, 1911-2011 (2011), Mike Cox's
Texas Panhandle Tales (2012), Clay Coppedge's Texas Baseball:
A Lone Star Diamond History From Town Teams to the Big Leagues
(2012), Donald Willett's Galveston Chronicles: The Queen City
of the Gulf (2013), Caroline Wadzeck's The Streets of Dayton,
Texas: History By the Block (2014), and Rosa Walston Latimer's
Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality From the Gulf Coast
to the Panhandle (2014). Happy reading!
- Review by Dr. Kirk Bane (Blinn College—Bryan campus)
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Coast Towns | Columns