James A. Crutchfield, a long-time WWA Secretary-Treasurer and seasoned historian, has assembled a remarkable cadre of authors. Included are winners of the Owen Wister Award, given each year to the best nonfiction book of the West:
* David Dary explores the network of trails that lead explorers West
* Bill Gulick recalls the Steamboat days of the Pacific Northwest
* Leon Claire Metz goes deep into John Wesley Hardin's world
* Robert M. Utley shows us the true faces of the Texas Rangers
* Dale L. Walker takes us on a tour of the final resting places of forty of the West's most celebrated figures.
The Way West covers many of the now obscure individuals and forgotten stories of our storied past and gives new insights into famous characters and events of this legendary era. So join the Western Writers of America on a journey back in time and lose yourself in the colorful history of the American West.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Fur traders first saw South Pass in 1812. From the early 1840s until the completion of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads almost forty years later, emigrants on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails used South Pass in transforming the American West in a single generation. Bagley traces the peopling of the region by the earliest inhabitants and adventurers, including Indian peoples, trappers and fur traders, missionaries, and government-commissioned explorers. Later, California gold rushers, Latter-day Saints, and families seeking new lives went through this singular gap in the Rockies. Without South Pass, overland wagons beginning their journey far to the east along the Missouri River could not have reached their destinations in a single season, and western settlement might have been delayed for decades.
The story of South Pass offers a rich history. The Overland Stage, Pony Express, and first transcontinental telegraph all came through the region. Nearly a century later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated South Pass as one of America’s first National Historic Landmarks. An American place so rich in historical significance, Bagley argues, deserves the best of historical preservation efforts.
One of these is an idea that goes back to the rim of recorded time. It was first a dim, gnawing hope that the future lay in a magic land off to the west. Once that land was found, it drew people to it like a magnet.
It is easy to say that it was gold or precious stones or land that led them on, for it was all of these. Yet, it was more - and here was the second great stream of American history. There was something that literally drove people westward, goading them across the endless mountains, through steep passes, across searing plains and desert into the face of terrors known and those unguessed. It was vision. It was courage. It was, at times, the sheer joy of overcoming fantastic obstacles.
And it was also the conviction that what they were doing was different from anything that had happened before, that nothing would ever be quite the same again, and that the world would be a better place for what they had accomplished. "Eastward I go only by force," Henry David Thoreau said, "but westward I go free." The sleep of 100 centuries was stirred up in that surge toward the sunset, for out of it emerged not only a new people and a new nation but a force that changed the globe.
Author Tom Prezelski notes that the Californios, less than a generation removed from the U.S.-Mexican War, were ambivalent about serving in the Union Army, but poverty trumped their misgivings. Based on his extensive research in the service records of individual officers and enlisted men, Prezelski describes both the problems and the accomplishments of the 1st Battalion. Despite a desertion rate among enlisted men that exceeded 50 percent for some companies, and despite the feuds among its officers, the Native Cavalry was the face of federal authority in the region, and their presence helped retain the West for the Union during the rebellion. The battalion pursued bandits, fought an Indian insurrection in northern California, garrisoned Confederate-leaning southern California, patrolled desert trails, guarded the border, and attempted to control the Chiricahua Apaches in southern Arizona.
Although some ten thousand Spanish-surnamed Americans served during the Civil War, their support of the Union is almost unknown in the popular imagination. Californio Lancers contributes to our understanding of the Civil War in the Far West and how it transformed the Mexican-American community.
Author Stephen L. Moore covers the assembly of Texan forces to repel two Mexican incursions during 1842, the Vasquez and Woll invasions. This volume covers the resulting battle at Salado Creek, the defeat of Dawson's men, and a skirmish at Hondo Creek near San Antonio. Texas Rangers also played a role in the ill-fated Somervell and Mier expeditions.
By 1844, Captain Hays' Rangers had forever changed the nature of frontier warfare with the use of the Colt five-shooter repeating pistol. This new weapon allowed his men to remain on horseback and keep up a continuous and deadly fire in the face of overwhelming odds, especially at Walker's Creek. Through extensive use of primary military documents and first-person accounts, Moore sets the record straight on some of Jack Hays' lesser-known Comanche encounters.
For the exacting historian or genealogist of early Texas, the "Savage Frontier" series is an indispensable resource on early nineteenth-century Texas frontier warfare.
PRAISE FOR "SAVAGE FRONTIER VOL IV"
"Moore's fourth and final volume of the "Savage Frontier" series contains many compelling battle narratives, but there is a wealth of social as well as military history lurking in these chapters. No one who is interested in the people and the problems of the Texas Republic can afford to leave these pages unread."--James E. Crisp, author of "How Did Davy Die? And Why Do We Care So Much?"
"The early 1840s was one of the most turbulent chapters in the history of the lower Rio Grande valley. Readers familiar with earlier volumes in the Savage Frontier series will find much to admire in Steven Moore's eminently readable account."--Sam W. Haynes, author of "Soldiers of Misfortune: The Somervell and Mier Expeditions"
PRAISE FOR THE "SAVAGE FRONTIER" SERIES
"An exhaustively researched study of the pervasive violence that confronted the newborn Texas Rangers even in colonial days."--Kent Biffle, "Dallas"" Morning News"
"The volumes of "Savage Frontier" provide exciting action and accurate history. In addition, important genealogical material is given for anyone seeking the role of his or her ancestors in early Texas history."--Chuck Parsons, "Texas Ranger Dispatch"
"Moore has done an extraordinary job of exhaustively researching his subject. I am not aware of any other book that investigates this period of Ranger history with such thoroughness as "Savage Frontier.""--Donaly Brice, author of "The Great Comanche Raid"