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Early Texas Ranger Narrative

175. SOWELL, A[ndrew] J[ackson].  Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. With a Concise Account of the Early Settlements, Hardships, Massacres, Battles, and Wars, by which Texas was Rescued from the Rule of the Savage and Consecrated to the Empire of Civilization.  San Antonio:  Shepard Bros. & Co., Printers and Publishers, 1884.  [2], 411 [1 blank] pp., text illustrations (fight at Nacogdoches, Alamo, San Jacinto, massacre of Dawson’s men, fight at John Ball’s Ranch, Rangers pursuing Native Americans, etc.).  8vo, original gilt-pictorial terracotta cloth stamped in blind and lettered in gilt.  Spine slightly darkened, binding moderately scuffed and shelf worn, light abraded spot at base of spine, hinges just starting (but holding), endpapers lightly browned, scattered mild foxing to text. Early pencil note in blank margin of p. 123:  “This shows the one-sided idea of bravery and treachery” relating the near capture of two Texans by Mexicans.  Early signature in pencil of W. G. Moroney on front flyleaf and ink stamp of B. A. McKinney on lower edges.

     First edition.  Basic Texas Books 192:  "One of the basic sources on the vicissitudes of the pioneer settlers in Texas, this work contains numerous accounts gathered from participants, as well as one of the best of all first-person ranger campaign narratives... Sowell’s book was written some years earlier than Wilbarger, Brown, and other Indian depredation lore of Texas, and while he was still a young man in his mid-thirties.  This gives many of his accounts an immediacy not available elsewhere...  The volume is divided into three sections.  The first section consists primarily of Indian affrays as related to Sowell by participants...  The second section includes the adventures of members of the Sowell family in Texas in the 1830s and 1840s, and material relating to the Texas Revolution and republic.... The last section, composing almost half the book, is Sowell’s own narrative of his experiences in the Wichita Campaign of 1870-1871, entitled ‘Campaign of the Texas Rangers to the Wichita Mountains in 1871’... In this section, Sowell writes his best prose, and leaves us a vivid account."  Dobie, p. 58:  "Sowell will some day be recognized as an extraordinary chronicler"; p. 60:  "A graphic book down to bedrock."  Eberstadt, Texas 162:750. Graff 3909.  Howes S801.  Littell 971. Raines, p. 193.  Siebert Sale 961.  Tate 2433:  “Devoted entirely to the ‘heroic’ pioneer efforts against the ‘barbaric’ tribes of Texas, especially Comanches.”  Vandale 165. The unattributed engravings are crisp and reasonably well done.

     Handbook of Texas Online: Andrew Jackson Sowell: “Sowell (1848-1921), Texas Ranger and author, son of Asa J. L. and Mary (Turner) Sowell, was born on August 2, 1848, at Seguin, Texas. In the early 1850s the family moved to Sowell's Valley on the Blanco River in Hays County. A. J. Sowell joined the Texas Rangers and took part in the campaign against the Wichita Indians in 1870 and 1871. As a ranger he scouted, trailed, and participated in Indian fights, which he later recorded in his writings. His books include Rangers and Pioneers of Texas (1884), Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas (1890), Life of Big Foot Wallace (1899), History of Fort Bend County (1904),and Incidents Connected with the Early History of Guadalupe County Texas (n.d). Sowell died in 1921.” ($1,000-2,000)

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