Richard B. McCaslin

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Publications

At the Heart of Texas: One Hundred Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997


"History like that of Texas is rare. . . . Is it not discreditable to the people of Texas, that they should leave the collection of material for the history of the State to the great endowed Northern libraries? . . . Let Texas arouse herself for very shame, and begin at once the discharge of her filial duty." So wrote George Pierce Garrison in the first issue of the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, published in July 1897, just months after the establishment of the organization on March 2. The state of Texas was just half a century old; the city of Austin, going back to the days of the Republic, was a little older—a few years past its half-century; and the University of Texas, where Garrison was "the history professor," was not yet fourteen. Earlier attempts to organize historical societies in Texas, traced in the opening chapter, illuminate the factors that came ultimately to be decisive in the success of the Association: the wisdom in linking the organization with the University of Texas, the inclusion of lay historians, and the continued insistence on high academic standards. And, from the beginning, the Association has established a tradition for publishing in the Quarterly, in addition to the Anglo story, the stories of the Indians, the Spanish, and the French. According to author Richard B. McCaslin, "It may be that the Association survived where its predecessors had not because Garrison, who was as much a Progressive historian as any of his contemporaries, understood the value of inclusiveness." The text is organized in chronological chapters by the tenures of the seven directors, George Garrison to Ron Tyler, all of whom were professors in the UT history department. Within the larger framework of the directors, the programs, and the publications, McCaslin gives shape to the unique interaction of forces—university, political, and the academic/lay membership—that has accorded the Association a character and suppleness that continues to ensure its long endurance. The book is profusely illustrated, and sidebars culled from past issues of the Quarterly complement the text.Winner of the Award of Merit from the Philosophical Socierty of Texas
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Fighting Stock: John S. "Rip" Ford


In this book, Richard B. McCaslin illuminates numerous facets of Ford’s life typically overshadowed by emphasis on his identity as Ranger and soldier in nineteenth-century Texas. In this third volume of the Texas Biography Series, published by TCU Press and The Center for Texas Studies, McCaslin reveals Ford as a man spurred on by the legacy of his nation-building grandfathers and his own strong convictions and energy to become a force in shaping Texas as a Southern state before and after the Civil War. Ford’s battles as a Ranger, and as a leader of Texas’ military forces allied with the Confederacy, were only part of his legacy in Texas history. He was also a physician, lawyer, and the editor of several newspapers, and among his many roles in politics and civil service were multiple terms as a state legislator and the mayoralty of Austin and Brownsville. Later in life, he fought to preserve Texas history and wrote his own extensive memoirs. Known for his courage and toughness as a military commander, Ford was also a talented strategist, diplomat, and community leader. McCaslin’s in-depth historical detail paints a full picture of this famous Texan, a fighter not only on the battlefield, but on the civic and political fields as well.
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Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862


In the early morning hours of October 1, 1862, state militia arrested more than two hundred alleged Unionists from five North Texas counties and brought them to Gainesville, the seat of Cooke County. In the ensuing days, at least forty-four of the prisoners were hanged, and several other men were lynched in neighboring communities. This event proved to be the grisly climax of a heritage of violence and vigilantism in North Texas that began before the Civil War and lasted long afterward.
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Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic


With Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic, noted historian Richard B. McCaslin recovers the history of an iconic Texas town. The story of the Texas Republic begins and ends at Washington, but the town’s history extends much further. Texas leaders gathered in the new town on the west bank of the Brazos in March 1836 to establish a new republic. After approving a declaration of independence and constitution, they fled as Santa Anna's army approached. The government of the Republic of Texas returned there in 1842, but after the United States annexed Texas in 1846, Austin replaced Washington as the capital of the Lone Star State. The town became a thriving river port in the 1850s, when steamboat cargoes paid for many new buildings. But the community steeply declined when its leaders decided to rely on steamers rather than invest in a railroad line, although German immigrants and African American residents kept the town alive. Later, Progressive Era plans for historic tourism focused the town’s central role in the Texas Republic brought renewed interest, and a state park was founded. The Texas centennial in 1936 and the hard work of citizens’ organizations beginning in the 1950s transformed this park into Washington-on-the-Brazos, the state historic site that serves today as the primary focus for preserving the history of the Republic of Texas.  
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