The Whole Damn Cheese: Maggie Smith, Border Legend

The Whole Damn Cheese: Maggie Smith, Border Legend

by Bill Wright


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Anecdotes about Maggie Smith abound, but Bill Wright’s The Whole Damn Cheese is the first book devoted entirely to the woman whose life in Big Bend country has become the stuff of legend. For more than twenty years—from 1943 until her death in 1965—Maggie Smith served folks on both sides of the border as doctor, lawyer, midwife, herbalist, banker, self-appointed justice of the peace, and coroner. As she put it, she was “the whole damn cheese” in Hot Springs, Texas. She was also an accomplished smuggler with a touch of romance as well as larceny in her heart.

Maggie’s family history is virtually a history of the Texas frontier, and her story outlines  the beginnings and early development of Big Bend National Park. Her travels between Boquillas, San Vicente, Alpine, and Hot Springs define Maggie’s career and illustrate her unique relationships with the people of the border. Capturing the rough individualism and warm character of Maggie Smith, author Bill Wright demonstrates why this remarkable frontier woman has become an indelible figure in the history of Texas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780875657042
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Publication date: 10/23/2018
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

BILL WRIGHT has written or contributed to seven books, and his photographs appear in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Maggie English Smith Timeline xiii

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 Early Life 5

Chapter 2 English Family History 15

Chapter 3 Baylor Smith 25

Chapter 4 To the Big Bend 31

Chapter 5 Hot Springs 41

Chapter 6 Life at the Springs 56

Chapter 7 Candelilla Wax 74

Chapter 8 San Vicente 91

Chapter 9 Boquillas 99

Chapter 10 Alpine and the River 105

Chapter 11 L'envoi 115

Appendix 119

Notes 123

About the Author 139

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