LEE, Nelson (b. 1807). Three Years Among the Camanches, the Narrative of Nelson Lee, the Texan Ranger, Containing a Detailed Account of his Captivity Among the Indians, his Singular Escape Through the Instrumentality of his Watch, and Fully Illustrating Indian Life As It Is on the War Path and in the Camp. Albany, N.Y.: Baker Taylor, 1859.
12o (188 x 116 mm). Frontispiece portrait of Lee. (Some intermittent pale spotting.) Original brown blindstamped cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover and spine (spine slightly darkened, some minor rubbing at extremities). Provenance: D.S. Wright (pencil signature dated 1859 on front free endpaper).
FIRST EDITION. "Besides drama and hair-raising excitement, this book offers the best contemporary description of the life of the early Texas Rangers, and one of the few surviving eye-witness accounts of the life and activities of the ferocious Comanche Indians...Lee became a raftsman on the St. Lawrence and Mississippi, fought in the Black Hawk War, chased pirates between Africa and Brazil under Captain Salters, sailed with the Texas Navy to Yucatan under Commodore Moore, joined the Texas Rangers under Jack Hays, fought at Plum Creek and many other Indian fights, participated in the Battle of Salado and Mier Expedition, served with Hays under Taylor and under Scott in the Mexican War, captured and herded mustangs, was captured by the Comanches, and spent three terrifying years as their captive and slave...Leaving a tomahawk in the back of the head of his guard, he finally escaped and travelled alone for two months until he reached the settlements near El Paso. 'It is his account of life among the Indians,' wrote Webb, 'that makes this book of unique value. The story he tells is absorbing, but the information he conveys about how the Comanches lived before they were affected by the white man is invaluable'" (Jenkins Basic Texas Books 123). Ayer 182; Field 905; Graff 2444; Howes L-212; Jones 1414; Rader 2215; Sabin 39778; Streeter I:401; Wagner-Camp-Becker 333:1.