Indian Agent
Peter Ellis Bean in Mexican Texas
Texas History - Western History
6 x 9, 440 pp.
15 b&w photos., 5 maps.
Pub Date: 07/27/2005
Canseco-Keck History Series
Price:        $35.00

title also available as an ebook:
More ebooks

Published by Texas A&M University Press

To Receive E-News

2005 Summerfield G. Roberts Award, presented by the Sons of the Republic of Texas

Indian Agent

Peter Ellis Bean in Mexican Texas

By Jack Jackson

How can the life of one relatively unknown man change our understanding of Texas history and the American West? Peter Ellis Bean, a fairly minor but fascinating character, casts unexpected light on conflicts, famous characters, and events from the time of Mexican rule through the years of the Republic.

Bean’s role in Mexico’s revolution against Spain and his service as an agent of the Mexican government, especially as Indian agent in eastern Texas, provide an unusually vivid picture of Mexican Texas, as well as new information about the Indians in his region. More explosively, Jackson’s research on Bean’s career as Indian agent casts doubt on the traditional characterization of Sam Houston as a friend to the Texas Indians. Bean’s career shows Houston as a rival for the loyalty of the Indians during Texas’ rebellion against Mexico, a rival who made false promises for military and political gain.

After Texas independence, Bean acquired vast lands in Texas, at one point holding more than 100,000 acres. A good citizen and a good businessman, involved with real estate, sawmills, salt works, agriculture, and stock raising, he was also a bigamist.

Meticulously researched, dramatically written, and embodying a unique understanding of Mexican Texas, Jack Jackson’s chronicle of Peter Ellis Bean not only rescues him from relative obscurity but also corrects key aspects of the history in which he was involved and brings to life an era more often consigned to myth.

Jack Jackson is an award-winning author and illustrator of Texas history. His most recent book, Almonte’s Texas, won the Bates Award given by the Texas State Historical Association. His first book, Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821, published by Texas A&M University Press in 1986, is considered a classic work on Spanish ranching in Texas. Jackson lives in Austin.

What Readers Are Saying:

". . . provides insight into a much more real, more nuanced frontier than traditional accounts allow."-Journal of Southern History

“The book should serve as a wake-up call to borderlands scholars that Mexican-born Indian agents, such as Ruiz, deserve much more attention.”-Western Historical Quarterly

“Jack Jackson was widely acknowledged as a biographer and historian of the first order. This excellent, meticulously documented volume on colorful early Texan Peter Ellis Bean continues this author’s already established reputation for blending concise research with entertaining descriptive narrative. . . . a ‘must-have’ for those of us who enjoy a focus on East Texas regional history and always want to know more. . . Author Jackson left no stone unturned in telling the life story of Peter Ellis Bean as it related to the times in which he lived and the people who were his peers. . . . Although Indian Agent is painstakingly detailed and abundantly referenced, it is a ‘comfortable read,’ one to which the serious historian will return often.”-East Texas Historical Journal

“. . . [Jackson] is a historical sleuth of the first magnitude, and he has done an astounding job of mining the difficult Spanish and Mexican documents in order to piece together Bean’s often-obscure life. . . . it makes a major contribution to our knowledge of Indian affairs."-Gregg Cantrell, Erma and Ralph Lowe Chair in Texas History, Texas Christian University

“. . . a most impressive piece of scholarship on Texas and Mexico. . . superbly researched and well-written. . .” -Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor, Texas A&M University


Murder and Mayhem
Bootlegger's Other Daughter
San Antonio on Parade
Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877
Review Copy Request Form Desk Copy Request Form