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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 29 & 30: Regional Promotional & Eulogy for Margil

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Early South Texas Promotional

29. [JONES, William H. (attributed)]. Lamar. A Sketch of Its Position, Advantages and Prospects, with a Map of the Adjacent Country. New York: Van Norden & Amerman, Printers, No. 60 William Street, 1853. 11 pp., folded lithographed map: Aransas Bay | by Wm. H. Jones. 1850 (51 x 31.4 cm; 20-1/8 x 12-3/8 inches). 8vo, original tan printed wrappers, title within ornamental border, stitched. Nineteenth-century pencil notes on verso of last leaf. Wrappers moderately worn, foxed, and chipped (no loss of text or border), title with marginal foxing, occasional light foxing to text; map fine, with only mild foxing and a few short inconsequential splits at folds (no losses). Overall, a very good copy, with contemporary ink inscription on upper wrapper. Very rare.

    First edition of an early map and promotional focusing on the Refugio County area. Sabin 38705. Not in Cracker Barrel Chronicles, Howes, Raines, etc. RLIN locates copies at Yale and the U.S. Army Military History Institute. We trace no records of sales. This promotional touts the advantages of the town of Lamar, touching on its history, safe harbor, suitability as a depot for shipping and railroads, and natural advantages. The author declares: “Lamar is without a rival. No other point can come in competition with it, as the proper site for a city, in Western Texas. So short a time has yet elapsed since the adjacent country was rendered dangerous to travellers by wandering tribes of Indians, that the extensive settlements now rapidly advancing there, seem almost miraculous, and these consequent necessities calling a city into existence seem strange. But it is evidently destined, in a very short time after its commencement, to become one of the largest and most flourishing towns in the South. As a beautiful site for literary institutions, as a watering place, a point of unequalled attention to the invalid and the man of leisure, Lamar will become immediately a distinguished place” (p. 2).
    The author’s rosy expectations were not fully realized for the town of Lamar, but it was the first coastal town established in what was then Refugio County (today the town is in Aransas County). The town, named for Mirabeau B. Lamar, is located at the north end of Copano Bay, ten miles north of Rockport and forty miles north of Corpus Christi. Lamar was established in 1839 as a rival town to Aransas City. Settlers in Lamar petitioned that the customhouse be moved from Aransas City, maintaining that Lamar had twice the population of Aransas City. The petition was approved, leading to the growth of Lamar and the languishing of Aransas City. Lamar briefly prospered as a port town, an industrial site for saltworks, and a population center of Refugio County, but during the Civil War, federal troops bombarded and destroyed the town. All that remained were a few homes and a Catholic church, all built of shellcrete (a cement made of burned oyster shells, sand, and lime).
    The large-scale map locates wetlands, Lamar and Aransas (both with street plans), Corpus Christi Bay, Mustang Island, St. Joseph’s Island, Black Point, Live Oak Point, etc. The map is an early regional map of the area, being preceded primarily by maps made for government surveys.

. Vozes y que hizieron eco en la religión pyra que en las honras del V. P. Fr. Antonio Margil de Jesús...erigió N. R. P. Fr. Antonio de Harizon...el dia 21 de Agosto de 1726 en el Convento de N. S. P. S. Francisco de la Imperial Ciudad de Mexico.... Mexico: Por Joseph Bernardo de Hogal, [1726]. [34] 56 pp., title within ornamental border. 4to, new full red Mexican leather, title gilt-lettered on spine and upper cover. Fine except for a few minor scattered stains. Tops of some pages shaved close with occasional minor losses to page numbers.
    First edition. Beristain I:16. Harper 14:270: “This work is very rare.” Leclerc 1057. Medina, México 2868. Palau 140614 (mentioning only the Leclerc copy). Sabin 41985 This funeral sermon and eulogy were preached in honor of Father Antonio Margil de Jesús (1657-1726), sometimes referred to as “the Apostle to Texas.” The emphasis here is on Margil’s spiritual sanctity and tireless labors to convert the Native Americans with whom he came in contact. The author touches on Margil’s labors in Texas and covers in considerable detail his career in Mexico and Guatemala (see Handbook of Texas Online: Antonio Margil de Jesús). The author was a native Mexican Franciscan who spent the better part of his life in service at Valladolid. The present work forms a supplement to Espinosa’s 1737 biography (see Wagner, Spanish Southwest 102).

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