One of my favorite English philosophers, Edward Bulwer Lytton, once said that no one should attempt to write a book until he had mentally dwelt with the characters in the story long enough to understand their every thought and action.
For many years I have toyed with the idea of writing a history of Bee County and bringing the events that transpired up to date. With this in mind, I have periodically studied the way of life of the early Irish people who claimed their land grants in the territory now known as Bee County, as well as of those who followed and contributed to the economic, cultural, and spiritual development of the area. And I enjoyed this retrospection.
I grew up during the last part of the pioneer days, my parents having settled here in 1892 and I was born two years later in the house where Helen and I now reside. At that time, frame business buildings, board sidewalks of various levels, and a sandy and muddy (during wet weather) road down the center of the village made the picture of downtown Beeville. Consequently, I experienced some of the difficulties, as well as the pleasures, that were tolerated and enjoyed by the people of the olden days.
Following my retirement as editor of the Bee-Picayune in January 1972, Miss Ida Campbell, former president of the Bee County Historical Society, who had asked me several times to write the aforementioned history, said:
“Camp, now that you have retired, why not write that history? I replied that it would be a monumental undertaking. She said she believed the Historical Society would assist by offering a bonus to get the job done. The Society endorsed her suggestion.
I then conferred with Fred Latcham, manager of the Beeville Publishing Company, Inc., and Bernard McWhorter, the company’s plant superintendent, and arrangements were made for publishing the book. I started research work.
Actual writing was begun in January 1973. I have read every book I could find that was concerned with the Texas colonization period, have phoned hundreds of people, made numerous trips, talked to descendants of the pioneers searched the files of the Bee, Picayune, and Bee-Picayune, read County Court minutes and deed records, and in many other ways sought facts about how Bee County has developed into one of the most pleasant places that man could call his home.
The result of this work is chronicled in the pages of this book. There has been no difficulty in finding enough material to fill a volume. Instead, the arduous task has been to choose ~he stories, incidents, and pictures that have had to be omitted.
It has been a pleasure to write this work. I have tried to disentangle the mythical stories from the truly historical events and present them as accurately as is humanly possible to do so. If there are errors, either of emission or commission, they are unintentional. Being a retired news writer, I have been indoctrinated with the most essential element in journalism— the love of truth—and the inspiration of this principle has helped me plow through the vast amount of available information and give the annals of Bee County to those who read the book.