From the time he first arrived in Texas in 1827 at the age of nineteen, Noah Smithwick was involved many of the events in the evolution of Texas. For the next thirty-four years before leaving for California just prior to the Civil War, he became closely acquainted with many well-known Texans, several Comanche chiefs, and a large and varied assortment of early Texas pioneers.
More importantly, Smithwick was a keen observer of these passing events. His anecdotes of many of the events are recorded in his memoirs, first published in book form in 1900 by Gammel Book Company of Austin. Since that time, The Evolution of a State has been reprinted in numerous formats, and remains today as perhaps the most interesting and most accurate of all memoirs about life in early Texans.
Smithwick's lucid accounts are of equal interest to the seasoned historian and the more casual reader. For the historian, the memoirs offer perspective on important events not documented in any other source. For the more casual reader, Smithwick paints a detailed picture of daily life in the days of the Republic--what people wore, what they ate, and how they found amusement amid a sometimes hard and dangerous life. It's the next best thing to being there!
Biographical Sketch of the Author
Chapter I -- Journey to the Land of Promise - first impressions; Dewitt's Colony.
Chapter II -- Trip to interior - Victoria, Gonzales, LaGrange, Columbus; Karankawa Indians; Creasing a Mustang; Encounter with malarial fever; Night adventure in Brazos bottom; Ft. Bend, Bexar; Mistake of a life time; Murder of Early; An avenging Nemesis; Eventful career of the murderer.
Chapter III -- Bell's Landing (Columbia); Josiah Bell; Other old residents; Slavery; Social events; Weddings, etc.
Chapter IV -- A smuggling trip to old Mexico; First introduction to horsemeat; San Fernando; Ancient customs and prejudices; Practicing medicine; Ampirico Indians; Trip to silver mines; Smuggling adventures; An "old Moke."
Chapter V -- San Felipe de Austin; Pen pictures; Anecdotes of Prominent men; Professional men; Social happenings; Early Colonists; Duels; Colonial Poet; Character of early colonists; How it feels to be a homicide; Banished; Left a malediction on the place.
Chapter VI -- The Redlands - general character of; San of the land; Notorious counterfeiter; Mob law; Precious metal; Brown's mine; A noted horsethief.
Chapter VII -- Return to Texas; The gathering of the clans; First flag. March to San Antonio; Battle of Conception Mission.
Chapter VIII -- Joined the ranging service; First Indian fight; Rescue of Mrs. Hibbon's child; the old Tumlinson block-house.
Chapter IX -- The Mexican Invasion; Fall of the Alamo; "The runaway scrape;" Massacre of Goliad; Battle of San Jacinto; Division of Spoils; Jim Bowie; Noted Duel; Sam Houston.
Chapter X -- Army falls back to Victoria; Peter Carr; Incidents of army life; Gen. Rusk; Disbanding of army.
Chapter XI -- Rangers return to frontier; Coleman's fort; Social event in Bastrop Co.; "The Color line;" Frontier clothing; Col. Coleman; Surprising a Comanche camp.
Chapter XII -- A return surprise; Stampeding a Caballado; anecdotes of field and chase; Cure for fistula; Old frontiersmen; Commissioner to Indians.
Chapter XIII -- Camping with Comanches; Comanche language; Social and domestic customs; Indian song; Political affairs; Amusements.
Chapter XIV -- A tight place; Conclusion of treaty; Michael Andrews; Organization of Bastrop Co.; Old seals of office.
Chapter XV -- Stone House Fight; Second attempt to treat with Comanches; Narrow escapes; Tumlinson's Rangers; Eastland's Co.; Nat Turner's insurrection.
Chapter XVI -- The San Saba Indian fight; A bad horse trade; Battle of Brushy Creek; "Flacco Colonel."
Chapter XVII -- Webber's Prairie; Old settlers; Humble heroes; First postoffice; First justice; Official record; Social features; Financial affairs; Exchange.
Chapter XVIII -- Webberville founded; Mormon Mills; Frontier hospitality; Trials and tribulations; Tonkawa scalp dance; Funeral.
Chapter XIX -- Council house fight; Victoria and Linnville sacked; Plum Creek fight; Dark days; Woll's invasion; Dawson Massacre; A ride for life; Reuben Hornsby and family.
Chapter XX -- Founding of Austin City; Early arrivals; Land grabbers. John Caldwell.
Chapter XXI -- Santa Fe, Mier, and Bexar prisoners in Mexico; Stories of their suffering and illtreatment; Murder of Mark B. Lewis; The Archive War; Cherokee War.
Chapter XXII -- Annexation; R. E. B. Baylor; Mexican war; Texans in the war; Occupation by the United States Army; Army officers; Public Debt; Removal to Brushy Creek; Wolves; Neighbors; Early emigrants to California.
Chapter XXIII -- Old Ft. Croggin; Officers in command; Early settlers; Burnet Co. organized; The town of Burnet; Mormon Mills and settlement; Character of Mormons; Schools.
Chapter XXIV -- Bear hunting; Advent of Galveston News; The agents' adventure; Old acquaintances; Social gatherings; Christening of Marble Falls; Camp meetings.
Chapter XXV -- Double Horn; Hickory Creek; Smithwick's Mill; High Water; Fight with runaway slaves; Grasshoppers; Indian trail.
Chapter XXVI -- Troublous times; Fleeing from the wrath to come; Preparation for departure; The last farewell to Texas; Off for California; Incidents enroute; Scenes along the Rio Grande; Arizona; Apache Indians; A. Sidney Johnston; First encounter with Indians; Tuscon; Mysterious murder; Down the home stretch; Ft. Yuma; Last forced march; The great Colorado desert.