By William Fairfax Gray
Dallas: De Golyer Library & William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies .
Edited from the original manuscript, with an Introduction and notes, by Paul Lack.
FROM VIRGINIA TO TEXAS, 1835: DIARY OF COL. WM. F. GRAY, GIVING DETAILS OF HIS JOURNEY TO TEXAS AND RETURN IN 183-36 AND SECOND JOURNEY TO TEXAS IN 1837.
The Texas Revolution was not all about soldiers. This is what Jenkins had to say about this remarkable civilian: “Gray left us the best account of events in Texas during the revolution written as they occurred. His is the only extensive diary written by an outsider to have survived. Historian Andrew Forest Muir, not given on any occasion to effusive praise, called Gray’s diary ‘a faithful record of the proceedings [of the convention declaring Texan Independence], in some cases more complete than the official journal.’ It remains one of the best and most unbiased records of the turmoil in Texas during its most important winter and spring.” Gray was a remarkable humane man for his (or any other) time. His descriptions of the Runaway Scrape are among the most poignant and reveal that the horror did not end with the Battle of San Jacinto. Take, for example, his entry for April 23, 1836: “We crossed today Cow Bayou, Adams’ Bayou, Cypress Bayou, and arrived at Ballou’s ferry after dark, passing for several miles through the worst road I have encountered in Texas. In one place we came upon a poor ox, bogged in the mud. His yoke had been removed and he left there to die. A horrible death.” Professor Lack’s scholarly Introduction place Gray and his diary in proper context and his notes provide commendable texture. Other editions of Gray exist but this is, by far, the best one.