TSHA Press

Publishing books on Texas history since 1918.

TSHA is the state’s longest-running publisher of books on Texas history, having published our first volume in 1918. Through the years, we have established a reputation as a publisher of high-quality, award-winning books on a wide variety of topics, including exploration, biography, architecture, historic sites, high school football, labor unions, and suburbanization. All lovers of Texas's rich pasts will find something to enjoy among our books.

List of Publications (107 total) Page 5 of 9

Fort Davis: Outpost on the Texas Frontier

This engaging, illustrated history of Fort Davis, one of the U.S. Army's most important western posts, relates the exciting history of Trans-Pecos Texas--the far western reaches off the state. Wooster traces the history of this Davis Mountains region from the days when Indians and later Spaniards and Mexicans inhabited the area, through its days as the site of Texan and American interests. The establishment and construction of Fort Davis in the mid-1850s tells the story of one of the army's largest western posts. We learn about the famous army camels which Secretary of War Jefferson Davis brought to the area, with Fort Davis serving as a base of operations, and about the difficult conditions imposed on the army by weather, climate, and Indians, Evacuated by the U.S. Army at the beginning of the Civil War, Fort Davis later was occupied by Texas state troops, then briefly reoccupied by the Federals. After the war, the War Department began shifting regular army units back to the western frontiers. Among these units were each of the famous black regiments, many of them composed of former slaves who proved to be excellent soldiers. The details of daily life--food, clothing, social activities, weapons, medical care--are thoroughly discussed, as are the often ineffective campaigns against Indians.Robert Wooster skillfully uses the forty-year history of Fort Davis to provide a clear window into the frontier military experience and into nineteenth-century American society. Because of its black soldiers, and its large Mexican-American civilian community, Fort Davis is a prime resource for studying and understanding the stratified racial relations which accompanied the army's and the nation's westward expansion.

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Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

Fort Lancaster: Texas Frontier Sentinel

Today Fort Lancaster sits as a ghostly ruin in west Texas, far removed from any major highway. However, this frontier post once played a major role in the protection of the primary southern route to California after the discovery of gold. Built along Live Oak Creek near the junction with the Pecos, Fort Lancaster was established in 1855 as one of a chain of posts along the Military Road from San Antonio to El Paso. Until the establishment of Fort Stockton by troops from Fort Lancaster, this was the only garrison between Fort Clark and Fort Davis.Manned by only one of two companies of the First Infantry, Fort Lancaster was one of the most isolated posts in Texas. The only civilian presence was a sutler and a stage stop for the overland mail. Maintaining the post, patrolling and protecting the road and occasional contact with Indians made up most of the routine. Official inspections, the arrival of the camel expedition, the passage of the Regiment of Mounted Rifles, and several pitched fights with Apaches added spice to an otherwise predictable existence.The history of Fort Lancaster is not one of great men or great events. It is the story of the commonplace life of soldiers on the isolated American frontier during a time when communications relied upon horse and wagon, and the road they guarded was the vital link to California. Remote, poorly constructed, and inadequately garrisoned, Fort Lancaster stands as an excellent example of the typical frontier post in the pre-Civil War era.Today Fort Lancaster is operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife as a State Historic Park. As isolated today as it was when active, the atmospheric ruins of Fort Lancaster are a stark reminder of Army life on the Texas frontier.

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By Lawrence J. Francell

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

Fort Worth: A Texas Original!

Fort Worth has been called "the City Where the West Begins," "Cowtown," and the silent partner in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. None of these descriptions quite tells the story of this city and its people. Since its founding in the mid-nineteenth century as a military outpost, Fort Worth has gone through many phases--cattle, oil, aviation, and tourist. The little village on the Trinity has grown up to become a global city that is a melting pot of economic forces and diverse cultures.At its most basic, Fort Worth's history is the story of leadership, of how men and women of vision built a flourishing community at a river crossing on the north Texas plains. Through troubled times--the 1850s, the Civil War, the 1930s, the 1970s--the leadership kept its eye on the future. The city pulled itself through the down times--and put itself on the map--by visionary projects like the railroad, the Spring Palace, the Stockyards, Camp Bowie, the Bomber Plant, and Sundance Square. This book helps to put a modern face on Fort Worth, move it out of the shadow of Dallas, and place it firmly in the twenty-first century.The book is illustrated with many historic photographs, including: a pair of Wichita Indians; Main Street in old Fort Worth; the current Tarrant County Courthouse, under construction in 1895; Fort Worth Medical College, opening in 1893 as just the third medical school in Texas; Fort Worth's Meacham Field in its early years (ca. 1926) and Meacham field in 1937; the Boeing B-29 and the Convair B-36 side by side at Carswell Air Force Base; Pig Stand drive-ins; the Fort Worth Cats and their opponents, the Memphis Chicks; the Light Crust Doughboys Western swing band in the 1940s; Six Flags over Texas; the "Bombardier 500" race; William B. McDonald, successful African American businessman and political leader; the Woman's Wednesday Club in its weekly luncheon meeting at the Metropolitan Hotel, 1918; the flood of 1949; Sundance Square, looking west across Main Street in the 1980s; and African American drover Chester Stidham with the "Fort Worth Herd" of longhorns.Also enlivening the text are various sidebars giving detailed information about "Fort Worth's Most Historic Cemeteries," "Courthouse Square," "The Cultural District," "Sundance Square," and "The Historic North Side."

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By Richard F. Selcer

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

Galveston: A History and a Guide

Indians! Pirates! Rebels! Blockade Runners! Smugglers! Murder! Beaches! Beauty Contests! Hurricanes!These are all a part of the colorful history of an island city that once called itself "The Free State of Galveston." Located at a natural harbor on the northeastern part of a thirty-mile-long sand barrier island, the city dates its beginning from the end of the Texas Revolution. Before then, the harbor had attracted Jean Lafitte, a pirate from Louisiana, and the revolutionary Texan government fleeing in front of the attack of Santa Anna’s Mexican Army.After independence in 1836, Michel B. Menard, along with nine associates, bought the harbor property and founded the town. Galveston grew on the strength of the harbor--the best between New Orleans and Veracruz--and the city became a major entry point for immigrants to Texas. During the Civil War it was a haven for Confederate blockade runners and the site of one of the major battles of the war in Texas. Afterward it was a center for occupation forces and the point from which Major-General Gordon Granger announced emancipation for Texas slaves on June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth Day). The city later became a major cotton port for the Southwest and the location of the University of Texas Medical School.In 1900 Galveston was struck by a hurricane and flood that killed approximately six thousand people: the greatest disaster in the history of the United States. Afterward, the citizens built a sea wall, raised the grade of the island, and constructed a causeway for future protection. The city led the way with a commission form of government, and in the first half of the twentieth century, became noted for its illegal drinking, gambling, and prostitution.After the Texas Rangers cleaned it up, Galveston developed into a tourist town with its attractions of the beach, hotels, celebrations, and fishing. Historic preservation projects such as houses, buildings, museums, and the square-rigged ship Elissa completed its evolution.This authoritative and well-written history of Galveston provides an overview of the city’s rich and colorful past and provides readers, researchers, and tourists with information about today’s historical points of interest. Galveston: A History and a Guide is a delightful read and a useful traveling companion.

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By David G. McComb

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

General Vicente Filisola's Analysis of Jose Urrea's Military Diary: A Forgotten 1838 Publication by an Eyewitness to the Texas Revolution

Gen. Vicente Filisola was second in command of the Mexican army in Texas during the Revolution. After the defeat of Gen. José López de Santa Anna by Sam Houston’s Texans at San Jacinto, Filisola became commander-in-chief of the four thousand Mexican soldiers that remained in Texas. The Mexican army eventually retreated to Matamoros, Mexico, and Filisola became the scapegoat for all that went wrong in the campaign in Texas. His chief accuser in this disastrous action was Gen. José Cosme Urrea, commander of one of the Mexican divisions in the campaign. After reading this fascinating account of the Mexican army in Texas, readers may well need to reevaluate their opinions of the Mexican army’s generals. In spite of the fact that the work is obviously biased and at times blatantly unfair, Filisola makes valid points that will make one wonder if Urrea deserves the high respect that has been generally accorded him by Texan scholars.

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By Gregg Dimmick

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

Handbook of Texas Music: Second Edition

The musical voice of Texas presents itself as vast and diverse as the Lone Star State's landscape. According to Casey Monahan, Director of the Texas Music Office, "To travel Texas with music as your guide is a year-round opportunity to experience first-hand this amazing cultural force". Texas music offers a vibrant and enjoyable experience through which to understand and enjoy Texas culture." Building on the work of The Handbook of Texas Music that was published in 2003 and in partnership with the Texas Music Office of the Governor and the Center for Texas Music History (Texas State University-San Marcos), The Handbook of Texas Music, Second Edition, offers completely updated entries and features new and expanded coverage of the musicians, ensembles, dance halls, festivals, businesses, orchestras, organizations, and genres that have helped define the state's musical legacy.

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By Laurie E. Jasinski

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

I Would Rather Sleep in Texas: A History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the People of the Santa Anita Land Grant

This superb work of history tells the story of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the people who struggled to make this daunting land their home. Spanish conquistadors and Mexican revolutionaries, cowboys and ranchers, Texas Rangers and Civil War generals, entrepreneurs and empire builders are all a part of this centuries-long saga, thoroughly researched and skillfully presented here.Steamboats used the inland waterway as a major transport route, and fortunes were made when the river served as the Confederacy’s only outlet for money and munitions. Mexican presidents and revolutionaries, European empires and investors, American cattle kings and entrepreneurs all considered this river frontier crucial. Men, women, and beasts braved the unforgiving climate of this land, and its cattle and cowboys gave rise to the great cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail to Kansas. It was and remains a crossroads of international cultures.In this moving account of the history of the families of the Santa Anita land grant, almost two hundred years of the history of the lower Rio Grande Valley (1748-1940) are revealed. An important addition to any collection of Texas history, I Would Rather Sleep in Texas is one of the most complete studies of the lower Rio Grande, abundantly illustrated with maps and photographs, many never before published.In 1790 the Santa Anita, a Spanish land grant, was awarded to merchant José Manuel Gómez. After the land passed to Gómez’s widow, part of the grant was acquired by María Salomé Ballí, the daughter of a powerful Spanish clan. Salomé Ballí married Scotsman John Young, and her family connections combined with his business acumen helped to further assemble the Santa Anita under one owner.In 1859, after Young’s death, Salomé struggled to hold onto her properties amid bandit raids and the siege of violence waged in the region by borderland caudillo Juan Nepomuceno Cortina. Soon after the beginning of the Civil War, she married Scotch- Irish immigrant John McAllen. They participated in the rapid wartime cotton trade through Matamoros and had business associations with a group of men--Mifflin Kenedy, Richard King, Charles Stillman, and Francisco Yturria--who made fortunes that influenced businesses nationwide. Rare firsthand accounts by Salomé Ballí Young de McAllen, John McAllen, and their son, James Ballí McAllen, add to a deeper understanding of the blending of the region’s frontier cultures, rowdy politics, and periodic violence.All the while, the Santa Anita remained the cornerstone of the business and stability of this family. As the lower Rio Grande Valley moved into the modern era, land speculation led economic activity from 1890 through 1910. The construction of railroads brought improved means for transportation and new towns, including McAllen, Texas, in 1905. The book’s ending reveals how, in 1915, Mexican warfare again spilled over the banks of the Rio Grande with deadly results, tragically affecting this family for the next twenty-five years. I Would Rather Sleep in Texas tells a remarkable story that covers a broad sweep of Texas and borderlands history.

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Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America

Illustrations, one of the rarest books on American birds, established John Cassin (1813-1869) as the leading American ornithologist of his day. Now, in a superb facsimile edition from Wind River Press, Illustrations is available for less than the original subscription price nearly 140 years ago. Its value is enhanced by a new introduction by Robert McCracken Peck, who provides the first comprehensive biography of Cassin.

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By John Cassin

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

John Charles Beales's Rio Grande Colony: Letters by Eduard Ludecus, a German Colonist, to Friends in Germany in 1833–1834

This collection of letters, written by a young German colonist in Dr. John Charles Beales's ill-fated colony Dolores, provides an almost daily account of the colonists' journey to the Rio Grande from New York City harbor and their labors to establish a settlement there on Las Moras Creek. Ludecus recounts in his letters the colonists' efforts to provide protection from Indian attacks by constructing around the settlement a high, thorny barrier of mesquite branches and cactus cleared from the land they wished to plant. He narrates how the carpenters among the colonists fashioned a cannon of oak which they successfully fired once to warn off hostile Indians in the area. His record of life in the colony emphasizes the deprivation suffered by the colonists. From the day of their arrival at the colony site to the day most of the colonists abandoned the settlement in desperation, Ludecus's letters are filled with descriptions of the colonists’ hardships and frustration as they tried to cope with an almost total lack of stone and timber in the vicinity of Dolores for constructing houses, outbuildings, and fencing around their young crops.Eduard Ludecus's letters are also an important source of valuable information about life and culture in pre-revolutionary Texas. His letters are but one of a handful of eyewitness reports about the early Texas frontier. His observations are those of a young, well-educated German merchant who had traveled from the urbane environment of Weimar, the center of art and literature in Germany in the early nineteenth century, to the raw, hostile environment of Texas. As a result, many of his remarks seem to have been recorded in wide-eyed awe of his new environment.Ludecus's letters are written with a vivid directness often lacking in the recollections of such well-known narrators as John C. Duval, Noah Smithwick, and John Holland Jenkins. Ludecus's narrative style is so vivid, so lively that the reader often feels as if he were sharing the narrator's experiences and observations not as a reader, but as a companion.

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By Louis E. Brister

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

Land is the Cry!: Warren Angus Ferris, Pioneer Texas Surveyor and Founder of Dallas County

Land Is the Cry! is the fascinating, untold story of Warren Ferris, a New York Yankee who deserves to be remembered as the "Father of Dallas County." Except for a twist of fate, Dallas, Texas, would have been named "Warwick" by its two founders, surveyor Ferris and land speculator William P. King. Historian A. C. Greene calls Warren Ferris the most "unappreciated figure in Dallas history." But Ferris has more than regional significance, for his remarkable story encompasses three arenas: the Niagara frontier of western New York, the fur-trading country of the Rocky Mountains, and frontier northeast Texas during the years of the Republic.Ferris merited fame even before he came to Texas in 1837. While working as a trapper and fur trader in the Rocky Mountains for six years, Ferris kept a diary of his adventures. This journal, the classic Life in the Rocky Mountains, accompanied by a map which he drew from memory, provided a unique and valuable picture of trapper and Indian life in the 1830s. Ferris also gave the public its first written description of Yellowstone's amazing geysers. As a businessman seeking to become a landowner, fur trader Ferris followed his brother Charles to Texas the year after the Texas Revolution. He became the official surveyor for Nacogdoches County, which then included much of northeast Texas west to the Trinity River. Although his brother returned to their hometown of Buffalo, New York, Warren Ferris spent another thirty-five years of his eventful life in Texas.Surveying at the Three Forks of the Trinity in 1839, Ferris entered the area before John Neely Bryan, the traditionally recognized founder of Dallas, and Ferris's surveys determined the line of streets and roads that shaped the future county. In 1847, Ferris settled down to farming east of White Rock Creek where he raised a family and helped build a community. This literate and versatile character was also a prolific letter writer, and much of the family correspondence to and from Buffalo has been preserved. These Ferris letters, and other family materials covering the period 1828-1885, help reconstruct the exciting life and times of Warren Ferris.Although Ferris might appear to be a stereotypical figure of Frederick Jackson Turner's trans-Mississippi West--fur trapper, surveyor, farmer--he is a complex and fascinating man. His long and varied career reveals some of the best and worst characteristics of the nineteenth-century frontiersman. A man worthy of the Romantic period, he was a flawed hero. His moods and motives often conflicted, producing a tension between his ideals and behavior. Warren Ferris's life is rich in human drama, an important frontier story of violent aggression, intrigue and scheming, poignant romance and bitter family quarrels. Susanne Starling has told a fascinating tale about an important figure of American frontier life.

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By Susanne Starling

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .

McKinney Falls: The Ranch Home of Thomas F. McKinney, Pioneer Texas Entrepreneur

McKinney Falls State Park, which lies across the Colorado River from Austin, is the 672-acre center of a 40,000 acre tract where Texas pioneer Thomas Freeman McKinney established his ranch. This carefully researched and well-written history relates the fascinating life story of the influential frontiersman and entrepreneur who lived and ranched at McKinney Falls.Born in Kentucky in 1801, McKinney led an adventuresome life on the early Texas frontier. In 1823, he and his cousin Phil Sublett left Missouri with a Santa Fe caravan. Finding the market there glutted, they took their goods on south to Chihuahua, Mexico. Returning through Saltillo and San Antonio, they stopped long enough in Stephen F. Austin's fledgling Texas colony for McKinney to claim a league of land. En route home, the men stopped in Nacogdoches where both young men settled and married.McKinney became a successful trader, eventually moving to the Brazos River valley, a jumping off point for his pack trains of cotton to Saltillo. Handy with a Kentucky rifle and fluent in Spanish, he traveled in Texas and Mexico as a businessman and made valuable contacts for the commission business he founded at the mouth of the Brazos in 1834. His firm of McKinney and Williams prospered and helped supply the Texas revolution in 1835-36.In 1837, McKinney and others founded the Galveston City Company. When he moved the McKinney & Williams commission house there, he became one of the wealthiest leaders of the new Republic. He was a power behind the political scenes, supporting Sam Houston, among others. After statehood, he served in the Texas House of Representatives. A Unionist like Houston in 1860, McKinney opposed secession, but when Texas left the Union, he reluctantly helped the struggling Confederacy. Eventually Confederate mismanagement and corruption ruined McKinney and he lost his fortune. When he died at McKinney Falls in 1871, after years of ranching and raising thoroughbred horses, Thomas F. McKinney had lived an eventful and influential life that spanned the entire early history of Texas.

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By Margaret S. Henson

Available for purchase at Legacy of Texas .