Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 22, 2019 13:58:12 GMT -5
"I'm going to write a history of early Texas days some time, entitled: An Unborn Empire or something like that."
-Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith, September 1930, TCL2, p. 68.
I have been wanting to do something with this quote for some time and I thought it might work as a new thread discussing Robert E. Howard's Texas. I plan to post from time to time what Howard had to say about Texas and provide some additional background regarding what he wrote.
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 22, 2019 14:09:27 GMT -5
"The 'Santa Claus' gang had looted Southwestern banks for more than a year, had swept into Cisco, 35 miles away [from Cross Plains] and in an attempt to rob the main bank, had raved into a wholesale gun-battle that strewed the streets with dead and wounded. Two or three of them had gotten away into the brush and posses were beating the hills for them. . . Let me see; it was three – no, four years ago [December 23, 1927]. It doesn’t seem that long. All the Southwest rang with the news. Their names were on all men’s tongues. Now I doubt not they are completely forgotten, except by the kin of the men they slew, except by the men who carry the scars of their bullets. Helms, the leader, went to the chair, roaring and cursing blasphemies, fighting against his doom so terribly that the onlookers stood appalled. Hill, the boy whose life was twisted and ruined in this boyhood when a ghastly blunder consigned him to a reformatory instead of the orphanage to which he should have been sent – he is serving a life sentence in the penitentiary, after an escape and a recapture. Blackie, the sardonic jester, dying with a rifle-bullet through him, gasped the names of respectable business men of Wichita Falls as his pals and accomplices, for a last grim jest. Ratcliff, who entered the bank clad in a Santa Claus robe and whiskers to avoid suspicion, feigned madness, killed his jailer, was shot down as he sought to escape by the jailer’s daughter, and that night a mob tore him, wounded as he was, from his bunk, and strung him up to a near-by tree, to sway in the shrieking blizzard. Eh – life is a strange fierce thing."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, July 13, 1932, TCL2
In part, it was the thread on the Santa Claus Bank Robbery in the REH Discussion area that motivated me to do this, so I thought I would start there. Here is a quick link to that thread: SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 23, 2019 10:07:06 GMT -5
"Gad, the country buzzed like so many bees! The authorities sent south for the great Ranger captain Tom Hickman, and Gonzuallas – 'Lone Wolf' Gonzuallas – 'Trigger Finger' Gonzuallas – 'Quick Action' Gonzuallas –hero of more touch-and-go gun-fights that I know, and already almost a mythical figure in the Southwest."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, July 13, 1932, TCL2
When Howard was writing about the Santa Claus Bank Robbery, he mentioned how Texas Ranger "Lone Wolf" Gonzuallas flew in to help hunt down the bank robbers. It seems Howard had already spoken highly of Gonzuallas to Lovecraft in an earlier letter when he wrote:
"But in a little town on the plains I met a figure who links Texas with her wild old past -- no less a personage that the great [James Franklin] Norfleet, one of modern Texas' three greatest gunmen -- the other two being Tom Hickman and Manuel Gonzalles, captain and sergeant of the Rangers respectively."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, October 1930, TCL2
When the two began discussing how the police in Texas and in New England would respond to certain incidents, again, Howard brought up Ranger Gonzualles' name:
"A number of police would be sent to handle the disturber--or in Texas perhaps some Ranger like Gonzuallas might be sent single-handed."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, August 9, 1932, TCL2
And he mentioned him one more time:
"One man like Tom Hickman, Wolf Gonzales, Bob Gross or a score of others I could mention would have been worth more than all the French Police."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, December 1934, TCL3.
Clearly Howard was impressed with Texas Ranger Manuel T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, but who was this Texas Ranger who was, according to Howard, one of Texas’ three greatest gunmen? The following video was produced by the City of Waco and the Texas Ranger Museum and the segment on Gonzuallas starts at 3:36. Watch and find out:
For more information, pick up a copy of Brownson Malsch's Lone Wolf Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger (University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 25, 2019 14:42:11 GMT -5
"Once we were TEXICANS; then we were TEXIANS; now we are TEXANS; some time I’ll explain the difference. I had rather been a Texican than the king of Europe; but I at least intend to remain a TEXAN."
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, ca. July 1933, TCL3, p. 80.
We know Howard was a proud Texan, and he was definitely conveying this sentiment to Lovecraft in this letter. As far as I know, however, Howard never explained the difference to Lovecraft as promised.
The explanation of the words are not easy. Today we talk about people living in Texas as Texans, but in the past, were they Texicans or Texians? Sometimes it meant the same thing.
Howard, however, seems to make a distinction. Most likely, Howard was referring to the people living in Texas during the pre-Texas Revolution era as "Texicans." Although they were usually U.S. citizens moving into Mexican controlled territory, they were not Mexicans, so they became Texicans. This was no doubt the conversion of the Spanish word for these people, "Tejano," into an English version by combining it with Mexican, hence "Texican."
During the Texas Revolution, to distinguish themselves from living in Mexican held land with Texas held land, the word became "Texian." President Mirabeau Lamar (elected in 1838) often used the term to create a sense of Texas pride, so Texian began to spread.
Still, it should be noted, many others did not distinguish between Texicans and Texians, but used them interchangeably. The words also took on other meanings as well, depending on where you lived. One Montana cowboy explained it this way: "there was the generic 'Texan,' but we also learned about 'Texicans' and 'Texians.' 'Texian' was used to describe the bosses or managers of the cattle drives. Calling a man a 'Texican' referred to the Spanish-speaking boys who came with the herds. 'Texican' didn't necessary mean they were born in Texas...I guess 'Texican' was accurately used to describe a man of Spanish-speaking ancestry who was born and raised in Texas, but in Montana we used the term interchangeably with 'Mexican.' We couldn't tell and we didn't care who was born where" (Hyatt, An Uncommon Journey).
In the end, however, when Texas became the 28th state in the Union, eventually the people came to be known as Texans.
By saying he wished he had been a "Texican," Howard was most likely saying he wished he had been in Texas when it was nothing more than a raw frontier, a time when there was little civilization.
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 28, 2019 11:52:32 GMT -5
We have an organization down here known as the Texas Rangers which is not without some reputation. And the men composing it are not valiants imported from some 'civilized' section to keep the lawless natives in order. Without exception, they are native Texans.”
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, ca. September and October 1933.
While it may seem this thread is becoming a Texas Ranger thread, Howard spoke often of the Texas Rangers and their exploits, and since it is an area of my interest and research, I thought I would continue with this theme.
In the quote above, Howard begins introducing the Texas Rangers to H.P. Lovecraft. For this post, I thought I would introduce a series from Black Barrel Media in their "Legends of the Old West" podcast on the Texas Rangers. The series is well written and well executed - it has a high production value. So, enjoy this short introduction to the series: TEXAS RANGERS: INTRODUCTION
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 28, 2019 13:11:48 GMT -5
“But some of the early heroes of the Southwest did feats almost equal to the legendary exploits of the gentleman from the Pecos [Pecos Bill]. There was Jack Hayes, for instance – the first Ranger captain. He went into a thicket where twelve Comanches were lurking, and killed eleven of them in hand-to-hand fighting, and lived to tell the tale, as the saying is. Incidentally the remaining redskin was shot down as he ran, by Jack’s Rangers who were stationed around the thicket.”
-Robert E. Howard to August Derleth, December 29, 1932
Robert E. Howard is right, John Coffee Hays was an amazing Texas Ranger and even better leader of them. His story has been told many times, but it never gets dull. This first episode of "The Legends of the Old West" podcast highlights the impact Hays had on the Texas Rangers. Enjoy: TEXAS RANGERS: "A CAPTAIN RISES"
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 29, 2019 13:38:17 GMT -5
“But the traditions of the Palo Pinto hills: there it was that Bigfoot Wallace slew his first Indian. Have you heard of Bigfoot Wallace? When you come to the Southwest you will hear much of him, and I’ll show you his picture, painted full length, hanging on the south wall of the Alamo - a tall, rangy man in buckskins, with rifle and bowie, and with the features of an early American statesman or general. Direct descendent of William Wallace of Scot- land, he was Virginia-born and came to Texas in 1836 to avenge his cousin and his brother, who fell at La Bahia with Fannin. He was at the Salado, he marched on the Mier Expedition and drew a white bean; he was at Monterey. He is perhaps the greatest figure in Southwestern legendry.”
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, mid-October 1931
Continuing the Texas Ranger podcast from Black Barrel Media's "Legends of the Old West" episode 2, "Fight Like the Devil," we have Captain Jack Hays and Samuel Walker fighting the Comanches and becoming involved in the United States war with Mexico. Texas Rangers were served under General Zachary Taylor in the war and they were instrumental in Taylor's success. One of the Rangers involved in the Battle of Monterey was the one Howard mentions above in his letter to Lovecraft:William "Bigfoot" Wallace. So, enjoy episode 2 of the podcast on the Texas Rangers: "FIGHT LIKE THE DEVIL"
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 30, 2019 8:37:26 GMT -5
“Pistols, shotguns, rifles – all played their part along the frontier, from the old twist-bore of the forest-runners to the Colts of the Rangers . . . the old Colt .45 sixshooter has the most terrific shocking power of any hand gun."
-Robert E. Howard to August Derleth, March 23, 1933
Howard understood the significant role that pistols, shotguns, and rifles played on the frontier and particularly for the Texas Rangers who were formed to try and tame that frontier. In his letter to August Derleth, he writes about the role of many weapons, but he singles out the important of the Colt Walker. The third episode of Black Barrel Media's series of podcasts on the Texas Rangers, "War, and the Walker Colt," discusses the important role Texas Ranger Samuel Walker played in helping Samuel Colt refine his contribution to the frontier.
Post by linefacedscrivener on Oct 31, 2019 8:37:37 GMT -5
"The Comanches had no better claim to Central Texas than the whites had. They swept down from the north, driving the Lipans and the Spaniards before them, about the time the Americans began to drift in from the east. They proposed a Comanche-American alliance to take the land from the Mexicans, whom they despised. The Texans refused, telling them plainly they meant, not only to free themselves from the Mexicans, but also to harry the Comanches from the land. There was no treachery, trickery in the dealings of the Texans with the Comanches. It was open, declared war from the beginning, and the Comanches, who destroyed the Tonkawas, drove out the Lipans and Apaches, repeatedly defeated the Utes and Pawnees, terrorized the Mexicans, defeated Spanish armies and on occasion almost destroyed Latin-American civilization north of the Rio Grande, found themselves at last at grips with a foe grimmer than themselves. It was war to the knife, bloody, merciless, ceaseless, but with the Comanches always driven northward and westward, driven even from the reservations the United States Government tried to give them, until at last they crossed Red River for the last time, and Texas was free for ever of the red menace that once swept victoriously from the Canadian to the Rio Grande. But it took a long time. As late as 1873 all the counties west of Fort Worth were exempt from taxes, because of the continued devastation of Comanche raids. Some were absorbed by the native population of Mexico; others live to this day in the Wichita Mountains Reservation in Oklahoma. "
-Robert E. Howard to H.P. Lovecraft, May 1935
The Texas Rangers played a significant role early on in this war and, after Texas joined the Union, technically the U.S. Army took over the role. However, the Texas Rangers still found themselves in many of these battles either as Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers assigned to the U.S. Army, or as former Rangers who joined the Army. This fourth episode of Black Barrel Media's Texas Rangers podcast features much of what Howard discusses in the passage above in the podcast titled: "COMANCHE MOON"
Post by linefacedscrivener on Nov 1, 2019 11:57:43 GMT -5
This post will complete the five part series from Black Barrel Media's "Legends of the Old West" Podcast on the Texas Rangers. This last episode is dedicated to the story of "Naduah" or Cynthia Anne Parker. Howard tells the truly Texas story of the kidnapping of Cynthia Anne by the Comanches and how she was raised by them as Naduah. Howard recounts the story for August Derleth and it is kind of long. So, settle in and read Howard's take on the story, then listen to the the last Texas Rangers Podcast at the end.
“It would take /a large volume to tell the full story of Quanah Parker, and of Cynthia Anne Parker, yes, and of Peta Nocona, the last war-chief of the Comanches. It is the classic tale of the Southwest, which has been rewritten scores of times, fictionized and dramatized. I will tell it as briefly as possible.
“In the year of 1833 a band of settlers, about thirty-four in number, headed by John Parker, came from Illinois and formed a colony on the Navasota River, in Limestone County, Texas – then, of course, part of Mexico. In 1836, when the Texans were fighting for their freedom, the Comanches were particularly bold in raiding the scattered settlements, and it was in one of those raids that Fort Parker fell. Seven hundred Comanches and Kiowas literally wiped it off the earth, with most of its inhabitants. A handful escaped, through the heart-shaking valor of Falkenberry and his son Evan, both of whom fell a year afterward on the shores of the Trinity in a battle so savage and bloody that the Comanches who survived it retold it as long as they lived. But there Fort Parker passed into oblivion, and among the women and children taken captive were Cynthia Anne Parker, nine years old, and her brother John, a child of six.
“They were not held by the same clans. John came to manhood as an Indian, but he never forgot his white blood. The sight of a young Mexican girl, Donna Juanity Espinosa, in captivity among the red men, wakened the slumbering heritage of his blood. He escaped from the tribe, carrying her with him, and they were married. He took up his life again with the people of his own race, joined General Bee’s command, fought with characteristic valor through the Civil War, and afterwards became a well-to-do Texas ranchman.
“For Cynthia Anne a different fate was reserved. In 1840 a group of traders found her on the Canadian River with Pahauka’s Comanches. They tried to ransom her, but the Indians refused; and then she was seen no more by white men until about 1851. Meanwhile she had grown to womanhood; there were various suitors for her hand, among them Eckitoacup, of whom /more later. He was a shrewd fellow, more given to intrigue than to war. But Cynthia Anne became the mate of Peta Nocona, whose fame hung gorily at his scalp-belt, and whose diplomacy was the stroke of a tomahawk. She bore him children, among them a son, Quanah, which means something similar to sweet fragrance. When white men next came into the Comanche camp where Cynthia Anne dwelt, they strove to persuade her to accompany them back to her white relatives. She refused; she had almost forgotten that other life, as she had forgotten her native tongue. Then, in 1860, her Indian life was ended, bloodily, violently, just as her white man’s life had ended.
“Peta Nocona, apparently kind to her in his way, and possessing all the finer qualities of the red man, was, nevertheless, an unbridled devil along the frontier. His trail was a red one, and many a settler’s cabin went up in flames, and many a frontiersman went into the long dark scalpless because of him. When retribution came, it was merciless. On the Pease River his Nemesis overtook him, in the shape of Sul Ross, later governor of the State, and his Rangers. The surprize favored the white men. They were among the tipis shooting and slashing before the Comanches realized what was occurring. They broke and scattered, every man for himself.
“Peta Nocona caught up his daughter, a girl of fifteen, and rode away with her. Ross was in full pursuit, knowing his prey. The girl was riding behind her father, and Ross’s first shot killed her, and glanced from the shield that hung on Peta Nocona’s back. As she fell she pulled the red man off his horse, but he hit on his feet, cat-like, and drove an arrow into the body of Ross’s horse. The wounded beast began plunging and Peta Nocona began winging his arrows at the rider in blinding speed. Undoubtedly the erratic motions of the wounded horse caused him to miss his first few shafts, and Ross, firing desperately even while fighting for his seat, struck and shattered the Indian’s elbow. Peta Nocona staggered and dropped his bow, and Ross, jerking the trembling horse to a standstill, took good aim and shot his enemy through the body; the Comanche stood as if dazed, then, as another bullet from Ross’s pistol tore through his torso, he reeled to a tree near-by, and grasping it for support, began to chant his death-song. Ross approached him, and ordered him to surrender, but his only reply was a ferocious thrust of his lance, which Ross narrowly avoided. Ross shrugged his shoulders, and turned away, making a gesture to his Mexican servant. The crash of a shotgun marked the finish of the last great warchief of the Comanches.
“Meanwhile, Lieutenant Kelliheir had ridden down a squaw who was trying to escape on a pony with her papoose. His pistol was cocked and levelled when he saw that she was a white woman. And so Cynthia Anne Parker came again into the lands of her people. The rest is history to obvious to reiterate. She lived with her people, her brother, Colonel Parker, a member of the Legislature, but she was never happy, always mourning for her red mate and children, always seeking to escape back to that wilder life from which she had been brutally torn. In 1864 both she and her baby went into the long dark. And one might question, whether into the Christian Paradise, or the Indian’s Happy Hunting Grounds.
“It’s a grim tale, a terrible, pathetic tale. It did not make for mercy on either side.”
--Robert E. Howard to August Derleth, January 1933
One can only imagine, had Howard lived, perhaps he would have written a full-length treatment of this story himself.
The podcast features the entire story of Cynthia Ann Parker and you can listen to it here: "NADUAH"