When the first pioneers set off on their voyage to settle Texas they knew their lives would not be easy.
Indian attacks, Mexican invasions, murderous bandits and the persistent threat of disease and famine plagued these early settlers.
In the first third of the book A. J. Sowell gathers numerous first-hand accounts to construct a history of this area in the mid-nineteenth century, when life was tough and often short.
Particularly focusing on the attacks by Native Americans, Sowell examines how early settlers defended themselves in ad hoc groups and volunteer companies.
Then Sowell examines the advent of the Republic of Texas in the aftermath of the Texas Revolution. Many of Texas’ most famous events are covered in this section, drawn from eyewitness accounts and sometimes seen by Sowell himself, including the Battle of Concepcion, the Siege of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
Part three of Sowell’s work covers his own fascinating involvement with the Texas Rangers, including the Wichita Campaign in northwest Texas where he endured a brutally cold winter and participated in a number of deadly fights with Native Americans.
Andrew Jackson Sowell was first of his family to be born in Texas after his relations moved to the area in 1830. His grandfather was involved in the Texas Revolution, as was his uncle, who served in the Alamo garrison but departed to obtain supplies prior to its fall. From 1870 November until 1871 June, he was a Texas Ranger in Company F of the Frontier Battalion, serving under Capt. David P. Baker. Drawing on his own experiences as a Texas Ranger, events in his relatives’ lives, family history, and interviews, Sowell wrote numerous books and articles about the early history of Texas. His books include Rangers and Pioneers of Texas, Life of Big Foot Wallace, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas, and History of Fort Bend County. Rangers and Pioneers of Texas was published in 1884. Sowell died in 1921.