The News from Brownsville: Helen Chapman's Letters from the Texas Military Frontier, 1848-1852

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9780876111147: The News from Brownsville: Helen Chapman's Letters from the Texas Military Frontier, 1848-1852

This remarkable collection of letters written by a U.S. Army officer's wife during five years on the South Texas frontier is among the most significant collections of letters published in recent years. Helen Chapman and her husband William, the first quartermaster at Fort Brown, were two influential founding citizens of Brownsville, Texas. An intelligent and insightful New Englander, Helen Chapman used her pen to chronicle their frontier experience and to comment on social conditions along the Rio Grande. An intimate and affectionate record of the Chapmans' life from 1848-1852, these vivid letters from Brownsville are now a part of the collections in the Barker Texas History Center. Helen Chapman expressed thoughtful and forthright opinions on a wide range of topics that came to her attention: women's roles on the frontier, childcare and diet, slavery and temperance, and the relationships between Texans and Mexicans in the new state of Texas. General readers and scholars alike will be fascinated with her lively descriptions of army express riders, gold seekers, epidemics, a trip to Mexico City, and her own childbirth experience in the midst of a border war. The editor's text, annotations, and appendices provide the background against which to view these splendid letters. The News from Brownsville is rich personal chronicle of the lives of Helen and William Chapman and an important historical record of their times and their roles in the founding of a significant Texas city on the Mexican border. Readers interested in the history of the military, Texas and the Southwest, women and minorities, and domestic life on the frontier will find this to be an invaluable addition to the literatureof the American experience. The editor, a fifth generation descendant of the Chapmans, drew these letters from an extensive collection of family papers dating from the American revolution to the end of the nineteenth century that record the lives of five generations of an American

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