George W Bonnell's book (1840),

Topographical Description of Texas, to Which is Added an Account of the Indian Tribes

- a short review

      The following contains three types of items:
  1. links to images of the pages from George's book, 'Topographical Description of Texas ...'
  2. hand-typed sections from that page, and
  3. 'important lines' or 'some comments by me' on the contents of that page.
The overall intent of this page is to show the intricate DETAIL and INFORMATION that George included in his book. This book is the EARLIEST printed mention (so far, as of Sep 2008, that I can locate) using the name of Mount Bonnell for the structure in Austin, Texas.

Latest   Update:
    p0: Title Page
  • Topographical Description of Texas, to Which is Added an Account of the Indian Tribes
  • by Geo. W. Bonnell, AUSTIN: Published by Clark, Wing, and Brown. 1840.
  • Document the book's Title, Author, Location, & Date
  • p02-03: To the Public
  • "In preparing this small volume on the Topography of Texas, I have endeavored to present the country to the reader precisely as it is at the present time.
    City of Austin, April, 1840."
  • precisely as it is at the present time .. Austin, April, 1840
  • " Columbus is pleasantly situated, in a large bend in the river, upon the west side, about one hundred miles above Matagorda. It is known upon the maps by the name of Montezuma. "
  • known upon the maps by the name of Montezuma
  • " Rutersville is a town six miles south-east of Lagrange. The tract upon which it is built, was purchased in the spring of 1838, and a town laid off, for the purpose of erecting and endowing a college. Since that time about two hundred houses have been erected; a charter has been procured, for the institution, and it is now in successful operation. It is one of the most pleasant situations in the country, and surrounded by a rich and very abundant neighborhood. It was named after Bishop Ruter, its founder, who died shortly after he made the purchase. "

  • " Just below the mouth of this creek, upon the west side of the river, is a high bluff known in the neighborhood by the name of Mount Maria. It is about five hundred feet in height, and commands a magnificent prospect. Upon the top of the hill is a spring, the water of which, in its decent, forms a beautiful cascade. At this cascade is found a great abundance of lime stone spar - the most beautiful of all mineral formations. "
  • named after Bishop Ruter, its founder

  • by the name of Mount Maria
  • " Bastrop is a town which was settled previous to our revolution. It is on the eastern bank of the Colorado river, at the old San Antonio crossing. "
  • was settled previous to our revolution .. at the old San Antonio crossing
    - He knew local history, and some established local names
  • "..there has been found an almost entire skeleton of some huge animal. The bones appear to be different from those of the mastodon - having been furnished with horns of ten or twelve feet in length, and of eight inches in diameter. The bones were larger than any of those in the Mississippi valley. Some teeth were found which weighed from twelve to fifteen pounds. "
  • note the detail, even for a skeleton
  • " The City of Austin, the seat of government of the Republic of Texas, is situated upon the east side of the Colorado river, a short distance below a range of hills, known by the name of the Colorado mountains. At the session of congress of 1838-'39, a bill was passed removing the seat of government from Houston; and commissioners were appointed to select a new location. "

  • " The Colorado opposite the city, runs nearly east and west. Like the ancient city of Rome, Austin is built upon seven hills, and it is impossible to conceive a more beautiful and lovely situation. The streets are generally composed of gravel, which effectually protects them from mud at all seasons of the year. The gravel is generally composed of silex; but agate and cornelian of the finest quality, are found in great abundance about the city. Here also are found great varieties of marine shells, oysters, conch, and almost every variety which are found upon the sea shore."
  • known by the name of the Colorado mountains

  • imagination - his comparison to ROME

  • "This can only be accounted for by supposing that the mountains which now raise their summits in gloomy grandeur over the prairies, were once the boundary of the ocean. Shark's teeth and other fossil remains of marine fish have frequently been picked up in the bed of the Colorado river."

  • "In the spring and early part of the summer, the prairies are covered with a thousand varieties of wild flowers, which fill the air with fragrance, and present one of the loveliest prospects in nature."

  • "Four miles above the city, upon the east side of the river, is a high peak, called Mount Bonnell. From thetop of the mountain there is a perpendicular precipice of seven hundred feet down to the water. The prospect from the top of this mountain, is one of the grandest and loveliest in nature. On the north and west extend the mountain peaks, rising in bold magnificence hill above hill, for a distance of twenty miles. And though what are here called mountains, would be in many countries be looked upon as inconsiderable hills, they form a bold contrast to the flower clad prairie, which stretches off to the south and east as far as the eye can extend. The Colorado river is seen for the distance of fifteen miles winding its course among hills and rich valleys; below us is the infant city, which completes the prospect and renders it one of the loveliest upon earth."

  • " There has been a great difference of opinion about the navigation of the Colorado river. Some are of the opinion there will be no difficulty at all in navigating it to Austin, while others think that it can never be effected. "
  • by supposing that the mountains which now raise their summits in gloomy grandeur over the prairies, were once the boundary of the ocean
    - He wants you to imagine this concept

  • can you almost SEE and SMELL the flowers?

  • a high peak, called Mount Bonnell

  • difference of opinion about the navigation
    - He points out controversy...
    My Summary:

  • I've attempted to show some examples of the qualities of George's style in the minute details of his thoroughness in descriptions and information. He obviously had a very good understanding of the Texas he was describing. He provided local names, historical names, founder's names, and some differences-of-opinions - as much information & detail as he could when he knew the specifics.

  • I have considered this for over a year (and please be aware that as far as I know, I am NOT related to either George or Joseph), and I have to agree with Sel Graham's point he raises in lines 466-470 of his document "Joseph Bonnell 'A Texas hero ignored by history' Feb 9, 2006" (see item #2 at ).

    • To para-phrase: "Why didn't George W. Bonnell say that Mount Bonnell was named after him?"
      Is it because it was NOT SO -or- that he did NOT KNOW?
      With all the information he included in his book, it is hard to believe it was because 'he did not know'.

  So, WHY didn't he ??
 If you have any:
    Information to add, Comments to make, or Corrections to identify,
      please contact me, Steven L Bonnell via
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page by: Steven L. Bonnell
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