Adobe Walls: The History and Archaeology of the 1874 Trading Post

Texas A&M University Press
Free sample

In the spring of 1874 a handful of men and one women set out for the Texas Panhandle to seek their fortunes in the great buffalo hunt. Moving south to follow the herds, they intended to establish a trading post to serve the hunter, or “hide men.” At a place called Adobe Walls they dug blocks from the sod and built their center of operations

After operating for only a few months, the post was attacked one sultry June morning by angry members of several Plains Indian tribes, whose physical and cultural survival depending on the great bison herd that were rapidly shrinking before the white men’s guns.

Initially defeated, that attacking Indians retreated. But the defenders also retreated leaving the deserted post to be burned by Indians intent on erasing all traces of the white man’s presence. Nonetheless, tracing did remain, and in the ashes and dirt were buried minute details of the hide men’s lives and the battle that so suddenly changed them.

A little more than a century later white men again dug into the sod at Adobe Walls. The nineteenth-century men dug for profits, but the modern hunters sere looking for the natural time capsule inadvertently left by those earlier adventurers.

The authors of this book, a historian and an archeologists, have dug into the sod and into far-flung archives to sift reality form the long-romanticized story of Adobe Walls, its residents, and the Indians who so fiercely resented their presence. The full story of Adobe Walls now tells us much about the life and work of the hide men, about the dying of the Plains Indian culture, and about the march of white commerce across the frontier.
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About the author

T. Lindsay Baker, the award-winning author of many book, is the director of the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill County College in Hillsboro, Texas.Billy R. Harrison is curator of archeology at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas. A graduate of West Texas State University;, he has excavated historic and prehistoric sites and structures in Alaska and at the French Legation in Austin, Texas. He is the author of a book on the Lake Theo site as well as of articles on other archeological sites in Texas.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Texas A&M University Press
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Published on
Feb 28, 2002
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Pages
430
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ISBN
9781585441761
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Native American
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Native American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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By the time Route 66 received its official numerical designation in 1926, picture postcards had become popular travel souvenirs. At the time, these postcards with colorful images served as advertisements for roadside businesses.

While cherished by collectors, these postcard depictions do not always reflect reality. They often present instead a view enhanced for promotional purposes. Portrait of Route 66 lets us see for the first time the actual photographs from which the postcards were made, and in describing how the production process worked, introduces us to an extraordinary archival collection, adding new history to this iconic road.

The Curt Teich Postcard Archives, held at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois, contains one of the nation’s largest collections of Route 66 images, including thousands of job files for postcards produced by Curt Teich and Company of Chicago. T. Lindsay Baker combed these files to choose the best examples of postcards and their accompanying photographs not only to reflect well-known sites along the route but also to demonstrate the relationships between photographs and their resulting postcards.

The photographs show the reality of the locations that customers sometimes wanted "improved" for aesthetic purposes in creating the postcards. Such alterations included removing utility poles or automobile traffic and rendering overcast skies partly cloudy.

This book will interest historians of art and design as well as the worldwide audiences of Route 66 aficionados and postcard collectors. For its mining of an invaluable and little-known photographic archive and depiction of high-quality photographs that have not been seen before, Portrait of Route 66 will be irresistible to all who are interested in American history and culture.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   -  NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 

"Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul." —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

SHELF AWARENESS'S BEST BOOK OF 2017

Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "On Point," Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's "Ultimate Best Books," Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, Slate.com and Book Browse

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
       
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
      Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
      In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. 
      In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
This award-winning history was the first to provide a detailed and well-documented account of the first organized Polish immigrant communities in America. Author T. Lindsay Baker, who conducted some of his research while a Fulbright lecturer at the Technical University of Wrocaw, tells the story of the settlements founded in Texas in the mid-1850s. As residents of Upper Silesia, the ethnic Poles bound for Texas had long retained their own language and adhered to their Catholic faith, despite being politically bound to the Kingdom of Prussia. As farmers and peasants, they were part of a feudal society, but among those who had some status and capital, freedom was possible through immigration. Baker shows that the desire to immigrate to Texas reached a fever pitch in Upper Silesia in the 1850s. Arriving on the coast at Indianola, Silesian immigrants moved inland and established the first settlement in present-day Karnes County, naming it Panna Maria. There the Reverend Leopold Moczygemba led the formation of St. Mary's, the first Polish Catholic church in the United States. Other settlements developed in a swath of counties from Matagorda northwest to Bandera; the only settlements outside that area were in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley and Carson County in the Panhandle. The Civil War, some hostile nativist Americans, droughts, and other difficulties of frontier life did not lay waste to the settlers' way of life. As Baker shows, the Silesian settlements of Texas had a far-reaching impact. For example, Peter Kiobassa left Texas after the Civil War and settled in Chicago, where he helped establish that city's first Polish Catholic community and then entered politics, becoming the first Polish-born state legislator in America. T. Lindsay Baker has written many books on western and Texas history and material culture. He is director of academic programs and graduate studies for the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
In May, 1876, a party of army engineers, teamsters, and a civilian draftsman with a military escort departed from Fort Elliott in the Texas Panhandle to conduct a topographic and scientific survey and to explore the headwaters of the Red River. Their reports of the land, water resources, insects, plants, birds, and geology of the central Panhandle were printed in a government document the next year but were little known for a hundred years.

First Lieutenant Ernest Howard Ruffner was responsible for the exploration—both its conception and its execution. Ruffner began his work at Fort Elliott and, accompanied by a large military escort and civilian scouts, conducted a stadia line survey from there to the canyon now known as the Palo Duro, then on to the main head of the river at Tierra Blanca and Palo Duro Creeks. Seventeen detailed maps recorded the party’s route and the country through which it passed. Among the surveying party was a civilian draftsman of German origin, Adolph Hunnius, who kept a diary detailing the daily activities of the expedition.

In 1985 T. Lindsay Baker edited the diary and the manuscript of the official report from the National Archives and published them for a limited readership as a special issue of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review. Baker wrote: "The official report and the Hunnius diary are remarkable documents not only for the history of the Texas Panhandle but also for the history of scientific investigations in the American West." Not included in the 1985 publication was the survey party's ornithological report, written by Charles A. H. McCauley, which Baker subsequently found and published in 1988 as an article in the Panhandle-Plains Review, including ornithological annotation by Kenneth D. Seyffert, former president of the Texas Audubon Society.

The two parts of the report have never before appeared under cover together. Now they do, in this revised edition with a new introduction, which focuses on the reports as environmental history. Dan L. Flores's knowledgeable foreword to the work further strengthens the environmental history contribution.
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