LEE, Nelson (b. 1807)
Three Years Among the Camanches, the Narrative of Nelson Lee, the Texan Ranger, containing a detailed account of his captivity among the Indians, his singular escape through the instrumentality of his watch, and fully illustrating indian life as it is on the warpath and in the camp
Albany: Baker Taylor, 1859. 12mo. (6 1/2 x 4 inches). 224pp. Frontispiece portrait.
Expertly bound to style in half dark purple morocco over period purple cloth covered boards, flat spine divided into six compartments by gilt rules, lettered in gilt in the second compartment, yellow endpapers
A rare overland narrative and Indian captivity: "The best contemporary description of the life of the early Texas Rangers" (Jenkins).
"Lee was a member of the Texas Navy, which he left to join the Rangers; he went through and describes the early Mexican-Texas border wars...the Santa Fe Expedition...the Mier Expedition...the Battles of Monterey, Palo Alto, etc. At the conclusion of the War, he started overland for California...but had only been out a few days when the party was surrounded by savages and all but the author and three others summarily butchered. His experiences in captivity are of vivid interest, and afford a most minute and detailed account of the manners and customs of the tribe. He gives also an account of the hardships and sufferings of his co-captives, Mrs. Haskins and her two daughters, including the torture of the former" (Eberstadt). "The appalling and monstrous cruelties of this untamable [Comanche] nation of nomads, reconciles us somewhat to their rapid extinction. Unlike the savages of the Algonquin and Iroquois races, who invariably respected the chastity of their female prisoners, the savages of the southern plains ravish and torture them, with the combined fury of lust and bloodthirst" (Field). In the introduction to the 1957 reprint of Lee's narrative, Walter Prescott Webb writes: "The story he tells is absorbing, but the information he conveys about how the Comanches lived before they were affected by the white man is invaluable." A rare book, central to any collection relating to overland travel and Indian captivities.
Wagner-Camp 333:1; Streeter Sale 401; Field 905; Howes L212, "b"; Dobie, p.34; Sabin 39778; Rader 2215; Graff 2444; Ayer 182; Eberstadt 122:227; Basic Texas Books 123; Garrett, p.227.