Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist
The Life and Times of Dr. Gideon Lincecum
Texas History
6 x 9, 360 pp.
5 b&w photos., 1 map.
Pub Date: 10/01/1994
  cloth
Price:        $35.00 s

978-0-89096-592-4

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist

The Life and Times of Dr. Gideon Lincecum

Edited by Jerry Bryan Lincecum and Edward Hake Phillips
Foreword by A. C. Greene

Collated from four overlapping memoirs, some not previously published, this extraordinary man's account of his life as Indian trader, physician, and naturalist is lively and abounding in humor. Lincecum's experiences of following the frontier in the early 1800s, all the way from Georgia to Texas, were not so unusual in themselves, but the intellect and wit that inform his memoirs make them unique. His scientific articles and collections of specimens, his correspondence with leading scientists of the time, and his six years among the colony of ex-Confederates in Tuxpan, Mexico, offer still other insights into the age. Lincecum portrays many aspects of frontier social life, including marriage and divorce, slavery as practiced by the small slaveholder, education, religion as critiqued by a freethinker, the social life of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, medical controversies, and the building of towns. He vividly describes the unspoiled flora and fauna of Texas in 1835 and entertains with tales of hunting deer, bear, turkey, and waterfowl. This is the testimony of a pioneering individual who possessed a discerning eye, an analytical mind, and the ability to express himself with clarity and vigor

Jerry Bryan Lincecum, a direct descendant of Gideon, holds degrees from Texas A&M University and Duke University and is a professor of English at Austin CollegeEdward Hake Phillips, who holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University, is professor emeritus of history at Austin College

What Readers Are Saying:

"Gideon Lincecum's autobiography, as a parable of the American dream, goes beyond history into sociology. . . . fast and fascinating reading, poetic at times and always willing to express both sides of most questions . . . with the exception of religion."--A. C. Greene

"Gideon Lincecum's autobiography, as a parable of the American dream, goes beyond history into sociology. . . . fast and fascinating reading, poetic at times and always willing to express both sides of most questions . . . with the exception of religion." --A. C. Greene

"Texas has been the stamping ground for many highly individualized characters, but no one of them has ever had more flavor than Gideon Lincecum." --J. Frank Dobie

"Gideon Lincecum was a truly unique man of his time. His autobiography will be a most welcome addition to our knowledge of the early life and times of Texas." --Horton Foote

"Gideon Lincecum was a true Renaissance man, outdoorsman, explorer, doctor, botanist, writer, entrepreneur, a friend to the Indians. And, more than a century ahead of his time, he was a pioneer ecologist, applying a burning curiosity to the study of all the life forms he observed around him, from the great buffalo down to the tiny ant. His recollections, written in his own often-florid 19th Century language, lift the dark curtain of the long years and transport us back to a young country still primitive and vibrant, not afraid to reach for distant horizons. Among highlights are his observations of wilderness Texas at the very time the war was being waged for independence from Mexico." --Elmer Kelton

"Gideon Lincecum was an American original, expansive, passionate, and prone to make science out of what he could see with his own eyes. His life illuminates an important era, and mood, in Texas history." --Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

"Gideon Lincecum, distant relative of the more sanguine Jim Bowie, was that rarest of cliches, a true original. . . . Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist will be of interest to historians, folklorists, naturalists, anthropologists, sociologists. To the rest of us, it is just plain fun and a riveting account of a restless, insatiably curious character who helped shape two nations, the United States and the Republic of Texas." --Robert L. Flynn

" . . . he can be styled an Indian medicine man. He had a passion for Indian remedies. He was raised among Indians and befriended them as he followed the advancing frontier from Georgia to Mississippi and on to Texas. . . . Dr. Lincecum corresponded on ants and natural selection with Charles Darwin. The author of The Origin of the Species (1859) read the frontier naturalist's letters before London's scientific elite. Learned journals ran his findings." --Kent Biffle

"While he and his violin may now rest there on `Founders Row,' his words live on and tell us of earlier times in Texas, and Gideon Lincecum was a man of words and of strong opinions, especially when it came to such subjects as medicine and religion. . . . Most fascinating are Dr. Lincecum's accounts of traveling through early-day Texas, especially during his exploratory journey in 1835 when he pretty much lived off the land." --Henry Wolff, Jr

"Adventures of a Frontier Naturalist is not only a contribution to scholarship, it is an adventure in the reading, an autobiography that often reads like a novel. It shows us what early Texas was like and makes a strong case for doing all that we can to help preserve what we have left." --Mike Cox

" . . . this superb volume is a valuable contribution to the literature of early Texas . . . " --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

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