Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State

Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State

Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State

Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State


Gone to Texas tells the story of the Lone Star State from the arrival of humans in the Panhandle more than 10,000 years ago to the opening of the twenty-first Century. Focusing on the state's successive waves of immigrants, it offers an inclusive view of the array of Texans who, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land, created a history and an idea of Texas.


“Gone to Texas.” These three words—often abbreviated “GTT” on the doors of abandoned homesteads across the southeastern United States during the 1830s and 1840s—provide a key to the story of Texas from prehistoric times to the beginning of the twenty-first century. From the arrival of the first humans twelve thousand years ago in the area that is now the Panhandle, the peopling of Texas by immigrants has never ceased. The Caddo and Apache Indians, for example, came during the late prehistoric era. Spanish settlers arrived to stay, as did the Comanches and Wichitas, in the eighteenth century. Anglo-Americans, often bringing African American slaves with them, moved in to dominate during the early nineteenth century, and migration from older states of the United States continued from that time onward. Germans also contributed significantly to population growth in the nineteenth century. Immigrants from Mexico came in large numbers throughout the twentieth century, and Asians became a significant presence by the 1990s.

These immigrants, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land and climate, shaped a Texas that is widely regarded as a special place. While traveling in the United States or abroad, tell someone that you are from Texas and watch their reaction. It may not always be positive, but few if any will say “where”? The story and idea of Texas appeal to millions of people, many of whom have never been anywhere near the state. Somehow their imaginations have “Gone to Texas” and liked what they found there.

Thus, through the years Texas has attracted millions of diverse immigrants and become well known to countless other people around the world. Its history, therefore, offers a great opportunity both to inform and to entertain. A place without information about its past is like an individual without a memory—it has no identity. How can a people know what they are now if they do not know what they have been? Texans, and those who wish to know about Texas, can draw different lessons from the story of the state's past; however, no one can deny the importance of first knowing what happened in that past. Gone to Texas offers an interpretation of the Lone Star State's history, but above all it seeks to provide the information necessary for readers to reach their own conclusions.

Entertainment also fills the pages of Texas history. For many it is found primarily in accounts of adventure and conflict—the stories of Spanish ex-

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