The book, “Texas Gulf Coast Stories,” is a collection of insights into the first encounters between Indians and Europeans along the Texas Gulf Coast.
The stories include descriptions of Cabeza de Vaca’s time with the Karankawa Indians in the 1500s, the rout of Union forces by a picket fence in St. Mary’s of Aransas in 1862, the fact that white captives of Indians often had to be forcibly repatriated, a detailed description of the Karankawas, the fact that Gen. Sam Houston was not respected by the Texian Army and an explanation that Santa Anna was captured at San Jacinto because he could not swim.
Williams describes his book as “short, sometimes quirky and provocative stories that defy conventional wisdom about well-known Texas events and historical figures.”
Williams is a native of Houston who graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a BA in chemistry and later earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
He held a postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University and a research position at Sandia Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., before serving as an associate professor at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (State University at Campinas) on Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Williams moved to Bayside in 2007, after he retired in 2004. He had spent 25 years as an environmental chemist with Radian Corp. in Austin.
Since moving to the Gulf Coast, Williams has been heavily involved in researching the history of the Coastal Bend and Texas from the 1500s to about 1850.
The author is a descendant of several prominent early Texans, including Alexander Calvit, one of the “Old 300” who originally settled the Austin colony, Matthew Reed Williams, who fought at San Jacinto, Samuel May Williams, Matthew’s brother, who was secretary to Stephen F. Austin at San Felipe from 1822, and John Hunter Herndon, who was reputed to be the richest man in Texas in 1860.
Williams is a member of the Refugio County Historical Commission and the Bayside Historical Society, and he writes a weekly history column for several local newspapers.
“Texas Gulf Coast Stories” is his first book.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.