Adobe Walls
The History and Archaeology of the 1874 Trading Post
Texas History - Western History
6 x 9, 430 pp.
108 illus., Maps.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
  hardcover
Price:        $49.95 s

978-0-89096-243-5
  paper
Price:        $29.95 s

978-1-58544-176-1

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Adobe Walls

The History and Archaeology of the 1874 Trading Post

By T. Lindsay Baker and Billy R. Harrison
Foreword by B. Byron Price

In the spring of 1874 a handful of men and one women set out for the Texas Panhandle to seek their fortunes in the great buffalo hunt. Moving south to follow the herds, they intended to establish a trading post to serve the hunter, or “hide men.” At a place called Adobe Walls they dug blocks from the sod and built their center of operations

After operating for only a few months, the post was attacked one sultry June morning by angry members of several Plains Indian tribes, whose physical and cultural survival depending on the great bison herd that were rapidly shrinking before the white men’s guns.

Initially defeated, that attacking Indians retreated. But the defenders also retreated leaving the deserted post to be burned by Indians intent on erasing all traces of the white man’s presence. Nonetheless, tracing did remain, and in the ashes and dirt were buried minute details of the hide men’s lives and the battle that so suddenly changed them.

A little more than a century later white men again dug into the sod at Adobe Walls. The nineteenth-century men dug for profits, but the modern hunters sere looking for the natural time capsule inadvertently left by those earlier adventurers.

The authors of this book, a historian and an archeologists, have dug into the sod and into far-flung archives to sift reality form the long-romanticized story of Adobe Walls, its residents, and the Indians who so fiercely resented their presence. The full story of Adobe Walls now tells us much about the life and work of the hide men, about the dying of the Plains Indian culture, and about the march of white commerce across the frontier.

T. Lindsay Baker, the award-winning author of many book, is the director of the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill County College in Hillsboro, Texas.Billy R. Harrison is curator of archeology at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas. A graduate of West Texas State University;, he has excavated historic and prehistoric sites and structures in Alaska and at the French Legation in Austin, Texas. He is the author of a book on the Lake Theo site as well as of articles on other archeological sites in Texas.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . a worthy contribution to historical archaeology in the southern Great Plains.” --Historical Archaeology

"Fascinating look at the exciting, but short-lived, era of the buffalo hunter and the last days of the Plains Indian Culture." --Books of the Southwest

"This reviewer has studied a great deal about the Adobe Walls fight and thought he knew a lot about it. This book, however, illustrates the truth of an old saying that a lot of things folks know for certain just ain't so." --Livestock Weekly

"In a carefully written and researched book, the authors vividly recreate for the scholar and general reader this period of Texas history, which through the years has been distorted by myth and legend . . . fascinating, even entertaining reading for which the authors deserve praise." --Beaumont Enterprise

"Their book tells us much about the life and work of the buffalo hunters and the dying Plains Indian culture, as well as the character composition of both white and red men. . . . Well illustrated with drawings and rare black and white photographs, this history and archeology of the 1874 trading post Adobe Walls is a definitive work." --Amarillo Sunday News-Globe

"For all those people who are interested in the history, historic archeology, or Indian wars history of the Texas Panhandle and/or the Southern Plains, this book is a must for their library." --Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society

". . . authoritative and extensively documented but, above all, readable account." --The North San Antonio Times

"At long last, we have the book, the definitive statement, on one of the most fascinating sites and incidents in the history of Texas, The Battle of Adobe Walls. . . . You will never need another volume on Adobe Walls; this one will do the trick nicely. And the work will serve as a model for historians and archaeologists joining to study other historical sites in the U.S." --Old West

"The number of magazine and newspaper articles which have been written about the buffalo hunter-Indian battle at Adobe Walls is truly astounding. On the other hand, movie makers have not touched it, novelists have scarcely done so and no serious author has, until now, written a book about it. . . .Adobe Walls does for the Buffalo hide hunters something of what has been accomplished in detail for the trappers, voyageurs and traders who preceded them in the long history of exploitation of our continent's natural resources. It is a fascinating and informative work that will be useful to a wide range of historians, collectors, curators, hobbyists and Western history buffs." --The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly

" . . . it represents both "good" archaeology and sound history. . . . If it stopped as a history, Adobe Walls would represent a significant document. Combining first-rate history and historiography (which occupies about half the text) with a thorough, if not esthetic, archaeological excavation replete with near state-of-the-art data recovery and documentation, however, takes this book much further. . . . The archaeological portion of the volume could stand alone as a well-written and engaging site report, but to the authors' great credit it is effectively integrated with the historical treatment to produce a finished product quite literally greater than the sum of its parts. . . . Adobe Walls is, I believe, a milestone in the historical archaeology of the Southern Plains and an eloquent testimony to the cooperation of scholars with two different but obviously complimentary perspectives." --Journal of American History

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