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Pingenot Auction, Lot 168

168. LEE, Nelson. Three Years Among the Camanches: The Narrative of Nelson Lee, The Texan Ranger. Albany: Baker & Taylor, 1859. xii [1] 14-224 pp., engraved frontispiece portrait. 12mo, original blind-stamped brown cloth, title gilt-lettered on upper cover. Endpapers browned and a few minor abrasions to front pastedown, otherwise exceptionally fine, about as nice a copy as a collector could hope to find. Preserved in a half dark-brown levant morocco and marbled clamshell case.
        First edition. Ayer 182. Basic Texas Books 123: "Besides drama and hair-raising excitement, this book offers the best contemporary description of the life of the early Texas Rangers, and one of the few surviving eye-witness accounts of the life and activities of the ferocious Comanche Indians....The accounts of the Texas Ranger service, Mier Expedition, and Mexican War are generally accurate, always fascinating, and add considerably to our knowledge of those events." Dobie, p. 34. Dykes, "My Ten Most Outstanding Books on the West" in Western High Spots, p. 21 (#1 on his second pick of best Ten): "Mighty rare and a fine narration"; "A Range Man’s Library" in Western High Spots, p. 86: "Lee was a horse and cow trader and trail driver to Louisiana before he was captured." Field 905. Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 227. Graff 2444. Howes L212. Library of Congress, Texas 219. Plains & Rockies IV:333:1: "Lee participated briefly in the Black Hawk War and was associated with Jack Hays in the early days of the Texas rebellion. He was captured by Comanches while on his way to California in 1855, and married a Comanche woman during his captivity." Rader 2215. Walter Prescott Webb in the introduction to the 1957 reprint of Lee’s account stated that "there is no better description of the life of the Texas Rangers than that of Nelson Lee." Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography.
        Pingenot: One of the premier Indian captivity narratives. Lee served in the Texas Navy and under Jack Hays in the Texas Rangers. He fought at Plum Creek, served in the Mier Expedition and the Mexican War, and then became a mustanger until captured by the Comanches. Some scholars have questioned the veracity of Lee’s larger-than-life adventures. See The Handbook of Texas Online (Nelson Lee).