Nesbitt Memorial Library

Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal

Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal

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About the Journal (by Bill Stein, editor)

I conceived of the notion of a publication devoted to Colorado County history while attending a ceremony at the Osage Cemetery in April 1989. At the ceremony, Dorothy Albrecht and Joyce Stancik read papers, and I thought it was a shame that only the people who were in attendance would know of the work they had done. I thought the papers ought to be published somewhere, and began looking into the possibility of creating the magazine shortly thereafter.

At the time, there was only one computer in the library and it did not have the software necessary to produce a magazine. It took months to get the money to buy the software, and more time to install it and make it operational. In those months, I fell increasingly under the tutelage of Anders Saustrup, an inimitable scholar whose extremely high standards regarding source material and citations began to penetrate my consciousness. By the time we were technologically capable of producing our first issue, my thinking about what we should publish had changed: I was no longer willing to print anything and everything about the county’s history that came to hand.

In its first incarnation and throughout volume 1, the magazine, which I called Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, was a series of 5 x 8 pamphlets issued on an irregular schedule. The front cover, on heavy buff colored paper, gave the magazine’s name, the month it was issued, the volume and issue numbers, and the table of contents. The back cover featured an illustration, usually a photograph. The inside front cover gave publication information, information about the authors, and acknowledgements. The inside back cover listed businesses and individuals who made substantial financial contributions toward the creation and publication of the journal. The contents were printed on white paper, and usually had neither photographs nor charts. In addition to the articles, there was a regular feature, "New at the Nesbitt," which listed advances made by the library’s Archives and Texas Room.

Ten such issues were produced, with the pages numbered sequentially. They were essentially a learning experience for the editor (who also became, by necessity, the journal’s most often published writer), and while some of the material remains useful, generally the articles in volume 1 are far less imposing, from a scholarly standpoint, than I now wish.

After the first volume, the journal underwent several significant changes. We adopted a regular publication schedule, producing issues each January, May, and September. Each set of three issues was to comprise one volume. In addition, we expanded the size of the publication in two ways: there were more pages in each issue and each page was twice as large (8½ x 11 rather than 5 x 8). The table of contents was moved to the inside front cover, and the cover was devoted to a drawing or a photograph. Beginning with volume 6, the journal got another facelift. Though the size and format remained the same, the typeface was changed and the size of the margins increased.

But time became an ever greater issue, and deadlines came relentlessly. With volume 10, the regular publication schedule was dropped. Subscribers were promised three issues, and, though it took twenty-one months, three issues were produced. After that, it became apparent that we could no longer meet any kind of reasonable schedule, and we declared the journal defunct.

For all except the first two issues, which have sold out, a fair supply of back issues remains on hand. With those exceptions, issues from volume 1 may be purchased for $3, and those from volumes 2-10 for $6, by sending a check to the library.

All of the links will take you to The Portal to Texas History, a site hosted by the University of North Texas, in an arrangement that started in 2011.

Table of Contents       

Volume 1, Number 1, November 1989  (pdf format) 

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"Reminiscences of the Past" by Jaquelin Smith Bruce (pp. 3–19) Recollections of the earliest days in Eagle Lake, Texas, by a physician who lived there, originally printed in six installments in the Eagle Lake Headlight, a newspaper, in 1923.

"Looking Backward" by Letitia Madeleine McCarty (pp. 20–23) Another reminiscence of early Eagle Lake, originally printed in the Eagle Lake Headlight in 1905.

"The Texas Beaver: Described from Colorado County" by Rollin H. Baker (pp. 24-27) How a beaver, trapped in Colorado County in 1900, became the official specimen of the species.

"The Wild Man of Colorado County" by Bill Stein (p. 28) The story of a man who was trapped in the woods in southern Colorado County in 1898.

Volume 1, Number 2, December 1989  (pdf format) 

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"The Experiences of George McCormick in Waul's Texas Legion" edited by Bill Stein (pp. 35-65) Civil War letters by and concerning a future state attorney general.

"Sen Katayama in Garwood" by Bill Stein (p. 66) Brief recounting of the experiences of Japanese rice farmers in the county.

Volume 1, Number 3, February 1990  (pdf format)

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"A Sketch of My Life" by Henry Calhoun Thomas (pp. 71-91) Valuable recollections of range life written in the 1940s.

"Cow Man of the Old School: Reminiscences of Charlie Hillboldt" (pp. 92-93) Brief autobiographical remarks of a cowboy, originally published in the Eagle Lake Headlight of March 3, 1939.

"Pioneer Days When Sturdy Men Laid Strong Foundations: Recollections of Dr. Benjamin Harris Neal" (pp. 94-98) Reminiscences of a Frelsburg physician, originally published in the Galveston Daily News of June 25, 1917.

Volume 1, Number 4, March 1990  (pdf format)

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"Prime Circuit: The Glory Days of the Stafford Opera House" by Bill Stein (pp. 103-125) Detailed history of a Columbus theater, including a list of all known productions.

Volume 1, Number 5, June 1990  (pdf format)

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"Capital Punishment in Colorado County History" by Bill Stein (pp. 131-166) Accounts of legal executions in the county, with confessions and other primary source material printed in a series of appendices.

Volume 1, Number 6, August 1990 (pdf format)

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"From Coblenz to Colorado County, 1843-1844: Early Leyendecker Letters to the Old Country" translated and edited by Jean Gross and Anders Saustrup (pp. 171-206) Edited translations of letters written by two early German settlers of Colorado County to persons in Europe, containing accounts of their journey and descriptions of the country.

Volume 1, Number 7, November 1990  (pdf format)

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"Leroy Wilkinson A New Hero of San Jacinto" by Bill Stein (pp. 211-213) Evidence that Wilkinson should be added to the lists of Texans killed at the Battle of San Jacinto.

"Tom Waddell's Wildlife Family" by Rollin H. Baker (pp. 214-219) The story of a game warden’s struggle to save and revive the deer and other animal populations.

"Index to Early Colorado County Probate Files" compiled by William H. Harrison and Bill Stein (pp. 220-233) Index to probate files numbers 1-800.

"A Bar Bet Gone Wrong" by Bill Stein (p. 234) The story of a tragic shooting incident in Weimar.

Volume 1, Number 8, February 1991  (pdf format)

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"Richard V. Cook and the Battle of Sabine Pass" compiled by Ernest Mae Seaholm and Bill Stein (pp. 243-260) Letters and recollections regarding the Civil War Battle of Sabine Pass and the participation of a Colorado County company in it.

"Hospital Care in Columbus" by James H. Wooten, Jr. and Bill Stein (pp. 261-270) The history of the various hospitals in Columbus, with inside information by one who was there.

Volume 1, Number 9, June 1991

"A Handbook of Colorado County Newspapers" compiled by Bill Stein and Elizabeth Schoellmann (pp. 275-300) A survey of the county’s newspapers and some other publications, with a brief history of each.

Volume 1, Number 10, September 1991

"The Glidden Ax Murder" by Bill Stein ((pp. 307-312) An examination of a brutal, unsolved crime from 1912.

"Letter from William B. Dewees to his Mother" (pp. 313-316) The Columbus pioneer’s earliest days in Texas, in what may or may not be his own words, originally published by the Lockhart Daily Post, and reprinted in the July 7, 1923 edition of Eagle Lake Headlight.

"The Slave Revolt, Revisited" by Bill Stein (pp. 317-318) A look at the possibility that the 1856 slave revolt was a figment of the slave owners’ imaginations.

Index to Volume 1

Volume 2, Number 1, January 1992

Cover Art: Ray Neal

"Home Games Tuesday and Friday Nights: Five Years of the Herder Truckers" by Bill Stein (pp. 3-38) The complete history of the best-known semi-professional baseball team in the county’s history, the Herder Truckers, who played from 1948 to 1952. The appendices provide the scores of every known game, an all-time roster, some financial statements, and accounts of their playing and later days by some of the players.

"The Last Three Years of Zimmerscheidt School" by Bernice Koliba (pp. 39-40) Brief reminiscence of a rural school by its last teacher.

"Excerpts from the Kirchenbuch of Louis Cachand Ervendberg" transcribed by Bill Stein, W. M. Von-Maszewski, Marie Rose Remmel, and others, with translations by Jim Kearney and W. M. Von-Maszewski (pp. 41-64) Transcriptions of the Texas pages of an 1840s minister’s church register.

Volume 2, Number 2, May 1992

Cover Art: Ken Turner

"Beyond Boosterism: Establishing the Age of Columbus" by Bill Stein (pp. 131-166) An examination of the primary sources regarding Montezuma, Beeson’s Crossing, Columbus, and other place names in Colorado County.

"Reminiscences of Boyhood in Columbus" by Raymond Albert Metzke (pp. 91-121) Events and places in Columbus in the second decade of the twentieth century, remembered more than fifty years later. An absolutely invaluable primary source, as well as an engaging story.

"The Sally Scull Divorce Papers" transcribed and edited by Bill Stein (pp. 122-126) Edited transcriptions of the petition, answer, and decision in the first divorce of a famous Texas character.

Volume 2, Number 3, September 1992

Cover Art: Lee Ruhmann

"The Epidemic of 1873, in Columbus, Texas" by Robert Henry Harrison (pp. 131-158) Detailed medical study of the most remembered epidemic in county history, with a list of its victims, originally published in Greensville Dowell, ed., Yellow Fever and Malarial Diseases Embracing a History of the Epidemics of Yellow Fever in Texas (Philadelphia, 1876).

"The Alleyton Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1867" by Bill Stein (pp. 158-159) Short summation of the plague in Alleyton.

"A Rock Island Reader" compiled by Elizabeth Schoellmann and Bill Stein (pp. 160-177) Items on Rock Island’s first two years, extracted from the pages of the Colorado Citizen.

Index to Volume 2

Volume 3, Number 1, January 1993

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Cover Art: Pat Johnson

"The Slave Narratives of Colorado County" edited by Bill Stein (pp. 3-32) Three narratives by former Colorado County slaves, and some statistics on slave holdings within the county.

"The Widow's Plight and Place" by Paul C. Boethel (pp. 33-37) A look at the way two Oakland area plantations were run by the widows who inherited them.

"The Molding of a Champion Athlete: Wallace of Eagle Lake" by Rollin H. Baker (pp. 38-44) The story of future All-American football player Bill Wallace’s athletic feats at Eagle Lake High School.

"Capsule History of Colorado County" by Bill Stein (pp. 45-50) Brief, very general history of the county, originally written for a brochure that was never produced.

Volume 3, Number 2, May 1993

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Cover Art and Two Interior Illustrations: Charles Shaw

"The Conflict Between H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend Concluding With the Story of the Rock Which Triggered the Deaths of Four Men" by Bill Stein (pp. 55-72) The sensational story of a once-notorious Colorado County outlaw and the sheriff who pursued him.

"Historical Atlas of Columbus" by Bill Stein and Jim Sewell (pp. 73-104) A thorough look at the town’s geography, and therein its growth, with text by Stein and maps by Sewell.

"Presidents Visit Colorado County" by Bill Stein (pp. 105-106) Slight article, included as filler, and with at least one major omission, the 1936 visit of a sitting president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to the county.

Volume 3, Number 3, September 1993

"Indigent Care and the County Poor Farm" by Bill Stein (pp. 111-122) A look at how the poor were cared for in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

"Digest of the Book of Land Certificates" compiled by Dinah Janak, Darlene Hayek, and Bill Stein (pp. 123-167)

Index to Volume 3

Volume 4, Number 1, January 1994

"Brief History of Columbus" by Oscar Abraham Zumwalt, annotated by Bill Stein (pp. 3-46) Reprint of a generally unreliable, very cursory look at the history of Columbus, with lengthy annotations.

Volume 4, Number 2, May 1994

"Colorado County, Texas: Its Health, Climate, Soil, Advantages and Resources" by Rowan Green (pp. 51-73) Reprint of the text of a very rare 1877 pamphlet, written by a real estate salesman, which praises the county highly.

"Index to District Court Criminal Cause Files, 1837-1875" compiled by Bill Stein and Bobbie Elliott (pp. 74-114)

Volume 4, Number 3, September 1994

Cover Art: Sally Weeks

"Fremont McCollum and the Garwood State Bank" by Bill Stein (pp. 119-126) The story of a bank robber and an often-robbed bank.

"The Biological Survey of Colorado County--1937-1939" reminiscences of Rollin H. Baker (pp. 127-154) The author’s reminiscences with two appendices, one containing the original reports resulting from the survey, the other containing the obituary of a fantastically successful local deer hunter.

"Legends of the Lake" compiled and introduced by Bill Stein (pp. 155-168) Reprints, with comments, of the five known published versions of how Eagle Lake got its name.

"Letter to the Southern Pacific" by Ouida Boulden Grissom (pp. 169-170) Nostalgic recollection of a Columbus girl’s relationship to the railroad.

Index to Volume 4

Volume 5, Number 1, January 1995

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Cover Art and One Interior Illustration: Bobbie Kilpatrick

"Reconstruction in Colorado County, Texas" by Randolph B. Campbell (pp. 3-30) The political machinations inside the county during Reconstruction, later included as a chapter in the author’s 1997 book Grass Roots Reconstruction in Texas 1865-1880.

"Bibliography of Colorado County" compiled and introduced by Bill Stein (pp. 31-66) Listing of 219 books, pamphlets, and articles with significant historical or genealogical content relating to Colorado County, together with some illustrations.

Volume 5, Number 2, May 1995

Cover Art: James Orellana

"The Freedmen's Bureau in Colorado County, Texas, 1865-1868," Part 1, by Barry A. Crouch (pp. 71-104) First installment of a detailed look at the activities of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in Colorado County.

"Rancher to Bank President" by William H. Harrison (pp. 105-106) A prominent local citizen recounts how he unexpectedly became a bank president.

Volume 5, Number 3, September 1995

"Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War II Dead" by Joe C. Fling (pp. 111-169) Accounts of the careers and deaths of the county’s several citizens who were killed in World War II.

Index to Volume 5

Volume 6, Number 1, January 1996

Cover Art: Jackie Sweat

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 1, by Bill Stein (pp. 3-34) First installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1821-1828.

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 2, by Bill Stein (pp. 35-51) Second installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1828-1836.

"Looking Backward: Letters to the Weimar Mercury" (pp. 53-57) Brief recollections by Isaac Sellers, Mordecai G. Flournoy, Cordelia Simmons, Seaborn T. Stapleton, and James W. Holt, in response to a contest sponsored by a newspaper.

"The White City on the Sap" by William Leshner (pp. 57-58) Remarks about Rock Island, reprinted from a 1910 magazine.

Volume 6, Number 2, May 1996

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 3, by Bill Stein (pp. 63-94) Third installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1836-1845.

"Letters of Charles William Tait, 1848-1864" (pp. 95-110) Letters written by an important plantation owner to relatives in Alabama, with many details of plantation life.

Volume 6, Number 3, September 1996

Cover Art: Sarah Kearney

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 4, by Bill Stein (pp. 115-149) Fourth installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1846-1852.

"Reminiscences of James Williams Holt" (pp. 151-160) Reminiscences of a one-time school teacher, who came to the county in 1849.

"Eagle Lake, Queen City of Colorado County" (pp. 160-162) Remarks about Eagle Lake, reprinted from a 1911 magazine.

Index to Volume 6

Volume 7, Number 1, January 1997

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Cover Art: Charles Ford

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 5, by Bill Stein (pp. 3-59) Fifth installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1852-1860.

"Civil War Letters of John Samuel Shropshire" (pp. 61-70) The first complete printing of a series of letters written by an officer in the Confederacy’s New Mexico campaign.

Volume 7, Number 2, May 1997

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Cover Art: Jack Jackson

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 6, by Bill Stein (pp. 75-142) Sixth installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1861-1865. With a lengthy appendix summarizing the military careers of all known Colorado County Confederate soldiers.

Volume 7, Number 3, September 1997

"The Freedmen's Bureau in Colorado County, Texas, 1865-1868," Part 2, by Barry A. Crouch (pp. 147-175) Second installment of a detailed look at the activities of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in Colorado County.

"Garwood Brochure, c. 1905" (pp. 177-181) Reprint of the text of a brochure advertising the small Colorado County town to persons in Iowa.

"Miscellaneous Letters" (pp. 182-184) An assortment of historically significant letters, written by Elizabeth Beeson, William E. Burnet, Robert E. Stafford, and Annie Naill.

Index to Volume 7

Volume 8, Number 1, January 1998

Cover Art: Tracey Wegenhoft

"The Freedmen's Bureau in Colorado County, Texas, 1865-1868," Part 3, by Barry A. Crouch (pp. 3-31) Final installment of a detailed look at the activities of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in Colorado County.

"Civil War Letters of Benjamin Marshall Baker" (pp. 33-37) Letters written by a member of Hood’s Texas Brigade in August and September 1861.

"Sketch of Colorado County" by Laura J. Irvine (pp. 37-46) One of the first, if not the first, attempts at writing the history of Colorado County, with considerable information about its condition in 1882, originally published in American Sketch Book, vol. 7, no. 2, 1882.

Volume 8, Number 2, May 1998

"The Angus McNeill Family" by Ernest Mae Seaholm (pp. 51-78) The experiences of an important slave-holding family, which produced two high-ranking Confederate officers.

"Index to District Court Criminal Cause Files, 1876-1900" compiled by Bill Stein and Bobbie Elliott (pp. 79-112)

"Columbus in the Days of 1874" by James Maret (pp. 113-114) Recollections of an early citizen, reprinted from the Weimar Mercury, March 9, 1917.

Volume 8, Number 3, September 1998

"Columbus High School Cardinals" by Bill Stein (pp. 119-160) Football at Columbus High School, with the scores of every game, all-time records, team photographs, etc.

"Colorado County Black High School Football" by Bill Stein (pp. 161-180) Football at the three county black high schools.

"Beyond the Dream: A Celebration of Black History; Discovering the Past, Understanding the Future" by Olive Jewell Glass with Media Lynn Dawson and John Gladys Mosby (pp. 181-182) Recollections of black high school football, by three local women.

Index to Volume 8

Volume 9, Number 1, January 1999

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Cover Art: Tracey Wegenhoft

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 7, by Bill Stein (pp. 3-39) Seventh installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1865-1870.

"Reminiscences of Mrs. F. G. Mahon" (pp. 41-46) School days and other experiences related by a woman who came to the county in 1860.

Volume 9, Number 2, May 1999

"Reminiscences of the Old brigade, on the March, in the Tent, in the Field, as Witnessed by the Writers During the Rebellion" (pp. 51-126) Abridged reprint of material regarding the Civil War experiences of a Confederate Army brigade in its invasion of New Mexico and afterward, written for the Overton Sharp-Shooter, a newspaper, by one-time Columbus resident William Lott Davidson and other members of the brigade. A complete reprint of this material was published as Jerry D. Thompson, ed., Civil War in the Southwest: Recollections of the Sibley Brigade (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2001).

Volume 9, Number 3, September 1999

"The Writings of Fannie Amelia Dickson Darden" compiled by Bill Stein and Jayne Easterling (pp. 131-194) A catalog of all the known prose and poetry produced by the Columbus writer Fannie Darden, with reprints of much of the work.

Index to Volume 9

Volume 10, Number 1, January 2000

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 8, by Bill Stein (pp. 3-62) Eighth installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1870-1878.

Volume 10, Number 2, July 2000

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Cover Art: Melissa Miller

"Colorado County Wildlife Under Siege" by Rollin H. Baker (pp. 67-75) Remarks on the changes in Colorado County’s wildlife wrought by the infusion of man.

"The Ice Age Megafauna of Colorado County" by Rollin H. Baker (pp. 77-86) What is revealed about the history of the county’s fauna by the fossil record.

"The Reminiscences of Dilue Rose Harris (Parts 1 and 2)" (pp. 87-130) Reprint of important and often-cited reminiscenes of early Texas, but with all the spelling and grammatical errors left intact. Though this item has little content regarding Colorado County, it was written by a woman who lived in the county her entire adult life, and whose name remains well-known in the county today.

Volume 10, Number 3, June 2001

Cover Art: Tracey Wegenhoft

"Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County," Part 9, by Bill Stein (pp. 135-181) Ninth installment of a detailed, chronological history of the county, covering the years 1878-1883.

"Valedictory" by Bill Stein (pp. 183-184) See electronic reprint below.

Index to Volume 10


Since the publication of the first issue in November 1989, the Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal has been distributed on a regular basis to its subscribers. Beginning with volume 2, one issue of the journal was produced each January, May, and September. For what was largely a one-man operation, meeting that schedule took a prodigious effort.

Some three years ago, your editor was elevated to the position of library director, giving him authority over, and responsibility for, a great many additional things. Since then, the amount of time I have been able to spend on the journal has declined markedly, making this issue, which ought to have been published in September 2000, more than six months late.

There appears to be no hope that I will ever again have the kind of time I once had to work on the journal. Accordingly, we have made the decision to end regular publication of the Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal. This issue (volume 10, number 3), which completes our obligation to our faithful subscribers, is likely to be the last ever produced.

However, we remain committed to compiling and disseminating Colorado County history, and we are considering the possibility of producing what amounts to special issues of the journal in the future, and/or other types of publications. It is even possible that we will enter the field of electronic publishing. Even now, we are undertaking the task of posting the existing issues of the journal on the Internet.

The quality of those issues would have been severely diminished had it not been for the work of several writers, consultants, and volunteers. Principal among the latter were Elizabeth Schoellmann, now of Waco, Dorothy Albrecht of La Grange, Terry Ford of Houston, and Tracey Wegenhoft of Columbus. Louis Marchiafava, retired director of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, provided inspiration and guidance. Esteemed historians Anders Saustrup, Barry Crouch, Randolph Campbell, Paul Boethel, Donaly Brice, and Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, and local historical stalwarts Jim Kearney, Rollin Baker, Ernest Mae Seaholm, William H. Harrison, and Joe Fling also provided valuable articles, advice, or assistance. So did the now deceased Thurmond West, James H. Wooten, Myra Jane Draper, and Raymond Metzke. We are grateful to them all.

Lastly, we should thank the artists and illustrators who helped make the journal more attractive and distinctive. Among these were the acclaimed Texas painter Melissa Miller, Texas history illustrators Charles Shaw and Jack Jackson, and local artists Ken Turner, Bobbie Kilpatrick, Charles Ford, Pat Johnson, Lee Ruhmann, Sally Weeks, James Orellana, and Tracey Wegenhoft.

We believe that in its ten volumes, the Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal did more to advance the cause of Colorado County history across the state than any other project ever undertaken. We were devoted to finding and presenting the facts, and to providing clear and precise citations regarding the sources of those facts. We steadfastly refused to use secondary sources, making every effort to avoid unconfirmed rumors and half-baked anecdotes. Our interpretations and/or our presentation might be called into question, but no one should doubt that we did the research.

A year ago, the Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation, Inc., agreed to fund our future publishing efforts. They paid to produce and distribute this issue. We hope, with their assistance, to go on to bigger and better things. Persons who wish to assist them in this effort may send their donations to the library (Nesbitt Memorial Library, 529 Washington Street, Columbus, Texas 78934).

Thank you for your attention these past twelve years.

Bill Stein
June 2001