Michael Scott Van Wagenen, is an award-winning documentary film-maker and teaches history and documentary film at the University of Texas at Brownsville. You can read more about his extensive academic and film career at this link. His book on this topic is now under contract with the University of Massachusetts Press, but won't be available for another year.
He does have a book that was published in 2002 by Texas A&M Press titled "The Texas Republic and the Morman Kingdom of God." This is a book about the little known local history behind the Mormon church's attempt to purchase this region in 1844 to create a theocratic buffer state between Mexico and Texas.
“The Texas Republic and the Mormon Kingdom is well written and tells a story that few Texans know. It is easy reading that offers an excellent history of the Mormon movement and its founder. It shows another side to Sam Houston, a loyal Baptist but certainly interested in attracting other religions to his Republic. Get this little book, it will add a different perspective to the development of our state.” --Mexia Daily News“This readable, well-researched book would be a valuable addition to any Texas history collection.” --The Gilmer Mirror“The author of this new book furnishes us with many interesting facts and ably tells the tale of the pioneering efforts of a 150-member expedition led by Mormon apostle Lyman Wight beginning in 1845.” --Off The Press
Paragraphs will have 25 copies of Dr. Van Wagenen's book on hand at the lecture and he has graciously agreed to stay and sign copies for anyone who wishes to purchase one from us. I am offering a 20% lecture discount for a total of $16.50 with tax. I hope this will provide an added dimension to the Friday event and I thank Club Padre for the opportunity.
More about the book:
From its earliest days of colonization, Texas sparked the imagination and ambition of some of North America’s greatest leaders. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was one such man. His interest in Texas coincided with the strategic goal of Sam Houston, the president of the young Texas Republic, to create a buffer zone between the areas of Anglo settlement and Mexico. History has until now hidden how close the ambitions of these two men came to carving out a Mormon Kingdom of God in the Republic of Texas.
In 1844 Smith and his followers were received with political jealousy, religious suspicions, and distaste by their neighbors in Nauvoo, Illinois. Smith looked outside the United States for both refuge and empire. Times were difficult for Texas president Sam Houston, as well. Texas faced the wrath of the Comanches on the western frontier and of Santa Anna on the disputed southern border. To make matters worse, the U.S. Congress was balking on the annexation issue. Houston was desperate, in debt, and looking for assistance from England, France, or perhaps even the Mormons. Smith appointed an ambassador to the Texas Republic, and secret negotiations began in earnest.
According to Mormon records, Houston agreed to sell Smith a disputed strip of land between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Before the Mormon leader could take further action, however, he was murdered by a mob in Illinois. In the leadership succession crisis that ensued, the negotiations were abandoned.
Yet, the secret negotiations cannot be seen as a total failure. Houston remained a friend to the Mormons throughout his political career and was later instrumental in ending the Utah War of 1857–58. In addition, a group of Mormon settlers emigrated to the Texas Republic on the eve of statehood and became an important part of the Texas cultural mosaic.
Tickets are $2.00 per person and are available at Club Padre or the South Padre Island Visitor Center. If you are interested in purchasing a book but cannot make the event give me a call at 956-433-5057.