THE LIVES OF ELLIS P. BEAN by Bennett Lay

THE LIVES OF ELLIS P. BEAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The name of Ellis P. Bean, filibuster, adventurer, opportunist, bigamist and lifelong frontiersman is today almost forgotten even in the Southwest where he once fought and swaggered. This carefully annotated book, based on his own misspelled autobiographical ""Memoir"" and other contemporary documents, tells of his turbulent career in early 19th-century Mexico and Texas. Born in the Tennessee wilderness in 1783, unlettered, intelligent and with an eye to the main chance, in 1800 Bean joined Philip Nolan's fili- bustering expedition to Mexico and began his life of melodrama. Captured by Spanish royalists and imprisoned for years, he escaped to join the Revolutionists under Morelos and ran munitions from New Orleans to Mexico, there marrying a Spanish senorita who saved him from death. Leaving her in Mexico, he returned to Tennessee and there married a flighty teen-ager, with whom he settled in Texas. He took part in the Texas Revolution, quarrelled with Wife No. 2 and with his neighbors, made money and was known as a loud-mouthed but reasonably honest man. He went back at last to Wife No. 1 in Mexico, living with her until his death in 1846. Meticulously documented and of specialized rather than general interest, this historian's biography will appeal to students and writers of the American Southwest rather than to casual readers; it should be an important addition to the minor records of all libraries of Texas and Mexican early 19th century history. An excellent source-book on the period.

Publisher: University of Texas Press