Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas
Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick
Texas History - Women's Studies
6 x 9, 344 pp.
26 b&w photos., 3 line drawings.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
Price:        $22.95 s


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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1991 Kate Broocks Bates Award, presented by the Texas State Historical Association
1989 T.R. Fehrenbach Award, presented by the Texas Historical Commission

Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas

Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick

By Paula Mitchell Marks

From Sam Maverick’s arrival in Texas to his death in 1870, he participated in many of the most momentous events of the state’s early history, including the Siege of Bexar and the defense of the Alamo. He accumulated a fabled land empire and inspired the term “maverick” to denote an unbranded calf or an independent person. Sam’s wife, Mary—by some accounts the first AngloAmerican woman to settle in San Antonio—lived through the stresses and tragedies of pioneer family life, chronicling them with emotional intensity and immediacy of detail. Together Sam and Mary founded a Texas family dynasty and contributed immeasurably to the cultural development of San Antonio.

Using a profusion of letters, journals, and business materials as well as Mary Maverick’s published Memoirs, the author culls the dramatic story of these two Texas forebears, whose public and private lives were played out against the backdrop of the Mexican nation, the Republic, and early statehood.

Paula Mitchell Marks is assistant professor in the New College Program at St. Edwards University in Austin. She is the author of several history articles and has recently completed a second book of frontier history.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Marks achieves her goal of turning figures of history into real human beings. . . . highly recommended for all Texas libraries and collections of Western Americana.” --Review of Texas Books

“One can hardly write, or even understand, the early history of Texas without consulting these fascinating records. --True West
“ . . . opens with the Mavericks arriving in Texas as colonists with Stephen F. Austin. It closes with an assessment of a family’s life: ten pregnancies and six children who grew to maturity, a family living like Quakers and yet wealthy by standards of the day, a family circle that enriched Texas by its services and its blood. --True West
“In the end the Mavericks blended into the Texas myth, leaving the author to set the record straight with her sober, well written and researched history. Maverick will still have his future biographers, of course, but none more competent than Marks.” --True West

“Mary Maverick kept a diary which was eventually published as her memoirs, and Marks makes full use of its fascinating insights into her emotional and family life . . . a unique and meticulously researched volume.” --AB Bookman’s Weekly

“ . . . develops clear portraits of both Mavericks . . . a significant contribution to regional and family history.” --East Texas Historical Association

“I have never read anything that so vividly depicts day-to-day forntier life as does this lovingly-told biography of two remarkable Texans. . . . Both Sam and Mary come through as honest, rough-hewn, fully-rounded people. Dr. Marks faces up to their shortcomings as well as their virtues. Her book makes excellent reading.” --McAllen Monitor

“In a narrative that glides effortlessly, Paula Mitchell Marks approaches her subjects directly, evoking from them a vibrant and tangible humanity. . . . We see them interacting as humans do—with each other, their environment, their circumstances, their children, and the events of their lifetime. We also see the city of San Antonio meeting its challenges in each facet of its destiny, alongside that of Texas, with both city and state inexorably intertwined in Sam and Mary’s lives. Added to this is a ten-page bibliography which is manna to the scholar. Not only did I enjoy reading this book, but I found I did not want the story to end. As I turned the last page, I was left with the feeling of having had a long visit with dear friends in a sunny corner of my kitchen. This is a superior account!” --New Mexico Historical Review

“. . . a significant contribution to our knowledge of nineteenth-century Texas.” --Randolph B. Campbell, University of North Texas

“The lack of quality scholarly biographies of important nineteenth-century Texans can be a source of frustration for those wishing to know more about men and women who tamed and built the Lone Star State. For those seeking information on early Texas women, the search can lead to outright despair. In her new biography of Sam and Mary Maverick, Paula Mitchell Marks helps to correct both of these omissions.” --D. Gregg Cantrell

“This exhaustively researched, well-written book provides many insights into the Maverick family and its role in Texas history. Readers of women’s history will especially enjoy the sections devoted to Mary.” --Journal of the Southwest

“Marks is perhaps the first writer to put the Mavericks in proper perspective and context. . . . Marks’s work helps to diffuse some of the myths surrounding Sam Maverick . . . must reading for every fan of Texas history.” --Great Plains Quarterly


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