Texas Mavericks and Presidential Bellbottoms       

“Mr. Maverick was a most earnest and enthusiastic admirer of Texas, and firm believer in her future. He was constantly in ecstasies over the beautiful valleys, the rich soil, the charming climate.

Often he would speak in glowing terms of the magnificent expanses of fertile hill and dale. What a grand home for the toilers of Europe, he would say.

Along with his admiration came the spirit of speculation in land. All men of strong imagination speculated deeply in land in those days.

So brilliant and so realistic were his visions of the future, that in his mind’s eye the future, ah, the far distant future, became the tomorrow of the dreamer.”

That’s how Mary Maverick described her husband, the man who’s refusal to brand his cattle has branded today’s independent thinkers with his name. We call them Mavericks. You might be one yourself.

Mary Maverick kept a diary of her life in Texas from 1837 through the 1850s. It’s one of the most important narratives of the republic era.

John Jenkins included it in his Basic Texas Books, a bibliography of the books essential to any serious library of Texas. He said:

“…engrossing and colorful. Her vivid eye-witness account of the Council House Fight is our best source of information on the event. Her description of social life in early Texas is particularly interesting and useful. She recounts many Indian fights, particularly those in which her husband and Jack Hays took part.”

Here’s a small slice of the social life she so vividly describes throughout the book:

“President Lamar visited San Antonio in June. A grand ball was given for him in Mrs. Yturri’s long room (all considerable houses had a long room for receptions.)

The room was decorated with flags and evergreens; flowers were not much cultivated then. At the ball, General Lamar wore very wide white pants, which at the same time were short enough to show the tops of his shoes.

General Lamar and Mrs. Juan N. Seguin, wife of the Mayor, opened the ball with a waltz. Mrs. Seguin was so fat that the General had great difficulty in getting a firm hold on her waist, and they cut such a figure that we were forced to smile.

The General was a poet, a polite and brave gentleman and first rate conversationalist but he did not dance well.

At the ball, Jack Hays, Mike Chevalier, and John Howard (Texas Rangers) had but one dress coat between them, and they agreed to use the coat and dance in turn.

The two not dancing would stand at the hall door watching the happy one who was enjoying his turn and they reminded him when it was time for him to step out of that coat.

Great fun was it watching them and listening to their wit and mischief as they made faces and shook their fists at the dancing one.”