Fifty Years on the Old Frontier as Cowboy, Hunter, Guide, Scout, and Ranchman. By James H. Cook. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1923. XIX, 291 p. $3.50.)
This volume briefly traces the life story of its author from early youth to the years when life’s activities begin to slacken. As a resourceful and venturesome lad of thirteen, he made his way from his home in Michigan to the Kansas frontier and thence to western Texas, in 1870. Finding employment on a cattle ranch, he helped drive a trail herd to Abilene, Kansas, in 1871, which was the last season of that premier cattle market. After spending five years on the cattle range, he became a big game hunter in Wyoming and that led to employment as a guide with hunting parties from the eastern states and from England. Friendships formed in this work led to his employment as a ranch superintendent in southwestern New Mexico. Several years later, when the last great Apache outbreak occurred in Arizona and New Mexico, the force of circumstances was such as to transform him from ranchman to scout, in which capacity he took an active part in the campaign against Geronimo and his bloodthirsty followers. Returning to Wyoming, he married and soon afterward settled on the ranch in northwestern Nebraska where he has ever since made his home. He made many friends among the Indians, the most noted of whom was Red Cloud, the great Sioux chieftain. He was in the vicinity of the last Sioux outbreak, near the Pine Ridge Agency, in 1890, where he was in frequent and close consultation with Red Cloud and other peaceably disposed Indian leaders. In brief, the story of "Captain Jim" Cook’s life, modestly and effectively told in this volume, is the story of the passing of wilderness ways and the substitution of the milder and less picturesque life of the settled order which now prevails. The book is well written and well illustrated and presents a charming introduction by General Charles King, an old-time personal friend of the author, whose first-hand knowledge of the theme has lent inspiration to his pen.
—J. B. T.
Legends of Texas, Publications of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, Number III. Edited by Frank Dobie, (Austin, Texas, Texas Folk-Lore Society, 1924. x, 279. Paper $1.50, cloth, $2.50.)
This collection of legends, myths and traditions of the great Lone Star state embodies nearly a hundred folk tales which have been gathered and recorded by about forty of the writers of Texas. Taken as a whole, the volume is filled with interest even to the ordinary reader. Naturally, more of these stories have to do with lost
mines, buried treasure, etc., than with any other theme. The supernatural is well represented as also the romance of love and lovers. Stories of piracy and pirates still persist along the coastal region of the state, and of these a goodly number are included in this collection. The legendary origin of certain wild flowers and of the names of several of the rivers and streams of Texas also find place in the book. Professor J. Frank Dobie, editor of this collection and secretary of the Texas Folk-Lore Society was formerly an instructor in the Department of English in the University of Texas, but, for a year past, has held the chair of English in the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. He is an enthusiast in this line of investigation and believes that this line of literary activity should receive due attention in Oklahoma as well as in Texas and elsewhere. The book, which is neat in its typography, bears the imprint of the University of Texas Press.
—J. B. T.
Outline and References for Oklahoma History. By Edward Everett Dale, professor of history in the University of Oklahoma, and Morris L. Wardell, teacher of history, Tulsa Central High School, (Norman, Okla., published by the authors, 1924. 58 p. $ .55.)
This neatly printed pamphlet is the first published bibliographical reference guide to the study of Oklahoma history to be made available for the use of teachers and students. In brief and concise form it presents most of the essential source references, both primary and secondary. In addition to an introduction and a list of suggested thesis topics, it is divided into twenty parts or chapters which respectively deal with the themes and phases into which the history of the state is naturally divided. It should prove to be especially helpful to teachers of local and state history in the schools of Oklahoma.
—J. B. T.
Several months ago the Times, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, published serially a comprehensive historical sketch entitled "The Story of the Cherokees," written by Rev. Dr. W. R. L. Smith, of Norfolk, Virginia. The author is a retired clergyman who was born and reared in northern Georgia, or "Cherokee Georgia," as he calls it as a term of endearment. The story of the Cherokee people and of their exile from their ancient homeland is one which always presented a profound appeal to the sympathetic interest of the author who, since retiring from the activities of a life of service in the ministry, has devoted his talent and time to the effort to gather and preserve in popular form, and with due regard for chronological sequence and connection, a narrative of its most important historical features and incidents. It is charmingly written and in such a spirit of evident fairness as to command the confidence of the reader. It seems doubly fitting that such an undertaking should have been projected
by a son of the commonwealth which so ruthlessly insisted upon the eviction and exile of the Cherokee people from their much loved tribal dominion. It is understood that the text is to appear in book form in the near future.
"The Birds of Oklahoma" is the title of a 122-page bulletin, written and compiled by Mrs. Margaret Morse Nice and Professor Leonard B. Nice and issued from the press of the University of Oklahoma. 360 species of birds are listed as having been found in Oklahoma, past and present, a number of which are practically extinct at least so far as Oklahoma is concerned. Authorities are cited in all cases wherein personal observation are lacking. Thirty-six species not included in the list thus enumerated are mentioned as likely to be found in Oklahoma. The number of species are stated to be approaching the stage of extermination is suggestive of the need of greater and more stringent restrictions being placed upon the thoughtless and indifferent hunter who has apparently no concern in the matter of the preservation of wild life.
In Mr. Grant Foreman’s paper on "The Centennial of Fort Gibson," in the last issue of Chronicles of Oklahoma several errors occur for which Mr. Foreman was not to blame and, in justice to him, as well as in the interest of historic accuracy, the following correction is made: On page 123 the five companies of Rangers recruited in St. Louis in 1833 are made to march to Fort Gibson in the summer of 1834. These Rangers under Colonel Henry Dodge reached Fort Gibson December 17, 1833. The remaining five companies marched to Fort Gibson in the spring and summer of 1834. Colonel Dodge was not formerly Territorial Governor of Wisconsin; he did not become such until after his service with the Dragoons in the southwest. On the last line of page 123 read 1833 in place of 1834. On the ninth line of page 125 read "fall of 1833 in place of summer of 1834." On the 26 line of page 123 read "Purcell" in place of "Holdenville." Fort Holmes had been established on the Canadian near where Holdenville now is, in 1834; but the next year the conference was held with the western Indians at a point higher up Canadian River near where is now Purcell; the military force there was under Major Mason and the place was called Fort Mason and Camp Holmes. The earlier encampment near the mouth of Little River then became known as Old Camp Holmes to distinguish it from the newer Camp Holmes.