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Texas Wanderlust: The Adventures of Dutch Wurzbach, by Douglas V. Meed, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1997, $29.95 cloth, $12.95 paper.

German immigrant Emil “Dutch” Wurzbach was 8 when he and his family arrived by ship in Galveston, Texas, in 1846; just 9 when he left home to live with the state’s Indian agent, Robert Simpson Neighbors; and just 10 when he ran away to San Antonio because Neighbors’ sister wanted to whip him. His wandering ways (der wanderlust) on the Texas frontier would continue for many years, and in 1915, when he was 78, he dictated his adventure-packed memoirs to his daughter. In 1937, seven years after Dutch Wurzbach’s death, a San Antonio historical society published the 29-page work. Douglas Meed, great-grandson of Wurzbach, makes fine use of those memoirs and his own research in this entertaining 210-page biography. “Men like him followed their own stars,” Meed writes in the preface. “Had he not dictated his memoirs, at his death he would have vanished without a trace.” And that would have been a shame, because, while Wurzbach was not a prominent frontier Texan by any stretch of the imagination, he did have his share of adventures–meeting William “Bigfoot” Wallace (see story, P. 40); joining the Texas Rangers to fight against the Comanches in north Texas; heading into Mexico to join General Henry A. Crabb’s 1857 expedition, which met with disaster before he arrived; searching for gold; fighting Apaches with the Mexican army; and serving with the 31st Texas Cavalry in the Civil War. During the war, he became ill and went blind. At age 26, he went home to San Antonio. A doctor cured his eye trouble in 1870, but Dutch’s wandering days were over. He settled down with his wife and 12 children. He died at age 92.