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Reminiscences of Dilue Rose Harris

By Dilue Rose Harris
Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Vol. 10, no.2, July 2000
Pp. 87-130

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As a ten-year-old girl, Dilue Rose participated in the “Runaway Scrape.” In her mid-seventies, Dilue Rose Harris (her married name) sat down with three cheap school tablets to record her childhood memories. The editors of the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association subsequently published “The Reminiscences of Mrs. Dilue Rose Harris,” in three installments. Ever since, Texas historians have cited the Quarterly version, recognizing it as one of the best descriptions of civilian life during the Texas Revolution. However, the editors’ decision to correct Harris’s spelling, grammar, and syntax—and to excise chunks of her narrative—seriously compromised its historical integrity. Readers were unaware that the Quarterly articles did not reflect what Mrs. Rose actually wrote. These silent edits may have rendered the account easier to read but they also expunged much of the account’s period flavor and created the erroneous impression that Mrs. Harris was better educated than she was. The original holographic manuscript of the first two installments of the reminiscences are in the San Jacinto Museum of History. In 1993, researcher Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski located the first two notebooks and made a preliminary transcription. In July 2000, Bill Stein, the editor of the Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal: A journal of Colorado County history, published the first two of Mrs. Harris’s notebooks—for the first time in their unexpurgated form. Because the third notebook had gone missing, Stein elected not to reprint it. For historians who had only ever read the corrected and abridged Quarterly rendering, it was like discovering Mrs. Harris’s story—with all of its stylistic eccentricities intact—for the first time. For that reason, I list here the original text printed in the Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal. Even better, the good folks at the Nesbitt Memorial Library have placed back issues of their journal online. To read Dilue Rose Harris’s recollections, exactly as she wrote them, follow this link.