Are you interested in the history of Brownsville, Texas? Even if you are not I highly recommend that you get a hold of a copy to Caleb Coker’s book “The News from Brownsville: Helen Chapman’s Letters from the Texas Military Frontier, 1848-1852″. This book, as the title mentions, is just a compilation of the letters that the authors ancestor Helen Chapman sent her mother while she lived in Brownsville, Texas.
Helen Blair was the wife of William Chapman, Fort Brown’s first quartermaster. They were founding citizens of Brownsville, Texas. In her letters from the South Texas frontier, she commented on social conditions along the Rio Grande, expressing her opinions on a wide variety of topics.
While reading this book you will get a sense as to how life was so fragile during those years and with any sickness you could die and many did. You may have come across this in your own research where you may find your ancestors without a father or mother at a very early age. She also writes of the battle of Palo Alto and of the Americans route to Monterrey and latter the Americans route through Veracruz and to Mexico City, during the Mexican American War.
One of the things that strikes me about this book was how she mentions the corruption of Mexican officials and the poverty of the population with the exception of a few. I thought well things have not changed in Mexico. Continue reading