The trails we take today are the paths that shape tomorrow

BETTYSTRAILSBetty's BooksOur RootsTrails West RetreatEagle's Nest LodgeNew Ulm Ranch HomeMap & DirectionsMore Lodge picturesBetty's Trails


The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas

The three novels entitled Trails West by Betty Meischen are based on real historical characters. They cover the initial colonization period of Texas, the war for Independence, the Alamo era, and eventual founding of the Republic of Texas after the battle of San Jacinto. James Bell, the co-founder of Bellville, Austin County, Texas, a central character of the novels was the 3rd great grandfather of the author.

TRAILS WEST: Tejas the Promised Land is a novel based on the historical content found in FROM JAMESTOWN TO TEXAS. It is the tale of the Bell brothers who journey from Florida to Stephen F. Austin's Colony in Texas in 1822. It is a story of the trials and tribulations of these early settlers. It is also a continuing love story.

Trails West II: The Trail to San Jacinto tells the love story of William Barret Travis and Rebecca Cummings.  In those first days of Texas, there were not many young attractive maidens living in the colony. Both James and his brother Thomas fell for pretty Rebecca Cummings whose land adjoined their own but her heart was won by a dapper attorney whose name was William Barret Travis.

TRAILS WEST is an imaginative fantasy based upon historical fact. The setting and background are presented in a fairly accurate display of the times. The majority of the characters were real people who actually witnessed the founding of Texas and our Nation.
Trails West III: The Republic of Texas & Beyond, The Captain's Story continues the Bell saga with their sister arriving in the Colony.  It is primarily the story of their nephew Captain James Bell Stephenson who lived from 1820 to 1905 and witnessed Texas go from a wilderness to a primary factor in world history.  Having come to Texas in 1826 from Florida with his family, he saw the times of colonization when Texas was a part of Mexico, then a Republic, then a state and the tumultous times of the Civil War.



AUSTIN COLONY PIONEERS: A Collection of Early Families Who came to Stephen F. Austin's Colony in Texas and their Descendants

Betty is a 7th generation Texan whose family members journedyed to the Texas wilderness as early as 1822 to join Austin's colony.  She was born in Bellville, Austin County, Texas and graduated from Bellville High School and the University of Texas at Austin.  She is the author of four historical based novels and three previously published books on Texas and U.S. history.  She has passionately researched Texas History for over 40 years.

Austin Colony Pioneers reveals the history of many of the families that came to Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Montgomery, Waller and Washington Counties at a time when Texas was still in its infant stages.  The book also covers many of the German settlers who settled in the Industry area and their influences upon the growth of Texas.  It is filled with many anecdotes, short stories, obituaries and articles gleaned from area newspapers.  These early families intermarried and not only filled Austin's original colony but their descendants went to every corner of America.  The book traces the descendants of many of these early pioneers into the present day, and also in many cases, establishes their roots before they came to Texas.

  Colonel William Barret Travis of the Alamo has been a constant element of Betty's historical research because her family was connected to him in so many ways.  There are suspected ties of Betty's ancestors to the Colonel's family that go back into the 1600's in Virginia.  Included in the book are descriptions of persons of historical note such as that of General George Custer and his command of Hempstead in Waller County after the Civil War.  Stories of towns that once flourished and today are no more abound throughout the pages of this book.  It is packed with accounts such as the yellow fever epidemic, the Bell-Schaffner feud and famous shootout in Sealy, Texas, tales of Hempstead as the infamous "Six Shooter Junction", accounts such as that of Elizabet Ney, the famous sculptress whose works are displayed in our state capitol, of Jared E. Groce, known as "The Father of Agriculture in Texas", and many other historical persons and places of interest and how they tied to Austin County and its surrounding neighbors.  $24 + $5 shipping




From Jamestown to Texas, Revised Edition 2010 
The rugged character and indomitable spirit of the early pioneers of Stephen F. Austin’s Texas colony had their roots in a turbulent, distant past.  From the early 1600’s, their courageous ancestors had pushed westward, leaving the European shores to carve out a new nation from the wilderness.  Many came with tales of their former struggles in  Ireland during the great Siege of Derry, of terrible massacres and clan rivalries in the times of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.  These pioneers associated themselves with men like Travis, Crockett, Houston and Andrew Jackson.  The majority of these early trailblazers were Scots-Irish and German immigrants.  They were on a westward trek to grasp a special prize, to seal America’s Manifest Destiny.  And the prize they sought was Texas.  From Jamestown to Texas is the story of these intrepid pioneers and their ancestors who cleared and farmed the land, who fought the Indians, battled the elements and carved ou this wonderful country that we have today.  
Betty Smith Meischen is a proud seventh generation Texan who was born and raised in Austin County, the Colonial Capitol of Texas, the place where Texas had its roots. A graduate of the University of Texas, Betty and her husband Del raised their three children in Austin County, the birthplace of Texas.  All five of them, and also Betty's mother and father graduated from Bellville High School.  Betty and her husband Del were even born at the same hospital on the Bellville square.  They live today on their beautiful piece of heaven, Trails West Retreat, near Round Top in Washington County, Texas, just where the corners of Austin and Fayette meet.
Betty has researched the history of Austin, Fayette, Waller and Washington Counties for over thirty years.  From Jamestown to Texas is a culmination of the research which has led back to the colonial times in America. $24  + $5 shipping





Original "From Jamestown to Texas" published 2000 and now out of print 

"If he who, by conquest, wins an empire and receives the world's applause, how much more is due to those who, by unceasing toil, lay in the wilderness the foundation for an infant colony, and build thereon a vigorous and happy state... a successful military chieftain is hailed with admiration and applause and monuments perpetuate his fame.
But the bloodless pioneer of the wilderness, like the corn and cotton he causes to spring where it never grew before, attracts no notice. No slaughtered thousands or smoking cities attest his devotion to the cause of human happiness, and he is regarded by the mass of the world as an humble instrument to pave the way for others."

-Stephen F. Austin

They packed up their Bibles and left behind them a life that had been filled with turmoil, peril and oppression. The horizon ahead of them to the West, that new Promised Land of Stephen F. Austin called Texas was their destination. TR Ferenbach summed it up best in his book Lone Star when he wrote, "Like all truly successful emigrants these Anglo-Celts abandoned a world in Europe they at heart hated. They were Israelites leaving Egypt. They had already burned most of their bridges to the traditional culture behind them when they sailed for America. They were bound for the Wilderness on an Old Testament trek to build the New Jerusalem. All such peoples, throughout history have been the most fitted to seize new ground. They were not going to retreat. They were posed to attack, a tough, hungry, numerous, riotous, and yet, curiously disciplined bunch. They had no banners, armies or grand leaders, no real rationale for conquest. Their own sayings were: God helps them who help themselves and there's no such thing as luck, and they were going west."

This version of From Jamestown to Texas is no longer in print.  However, the new improved revised version is available.   You may order direct from the publisher Xlibris or for a signed copy, send a check for $29 including shipping to:

 Betty Meischen

The following is the publisher's critique of From Jamestown to Texas: "The concept and story line is delivered clearly and effectively. From Jamestown to Texas is a comprehensive account that traces the history of the early pioneer families of Austin County Texas. The author chronicles their westward movement to the Promised Land-- their journey to the American frontier. Good work. The author's tone and writing style is clear and direct. The manuscript is presented in a logical and sequential order that kept my attention throughout. The transition from chapter to chapter worked quite well. The author does a fine job introducing the material and purpose of the book. I can't think of a better way to present the material. "I think the manuscript will appeal to a large audience of readers, both young and old. This is an established writer that has done her homework. The author has documented numerous families that made Austin county home-giving us their journey and story. These are well-documented facts that should be required reading at schools near and around Austin County. One can only hope that there's someone like Meischen in our own hometown to research and record family history. I applaud the author for her countless hours of research. I would encourage the author to continue on with the series. Now that we have a lot of the facts I would like to hear more abut the stories that surround these families. Keep up the good work."


Betty Meischen, 10770 Mayer Cemetery Rd Burton, Texas 77835



Below is an excerpt from TRAILS WEST, TEJAS THE PROMISED LAND, the first novel Betty wrote about the adventures of the Bell brothers carving out Texas.

"Many nights she had lain awake since the two strangers had come into her life, thinking alternately of both of them, fantasizing, dreaming of what could be but might not ever happen. Life in this wilderness was hard, uncompromising and most of the time just down right boring, especially for a young, vibrant girl of eighteen with no where to go. For a brief time, they had brought a high level of excitement into her life, leaving her with a promise of even more eventful things to come. But now, it seemed that she had nothing but those memories of the days she had spent with the two of them, those moments she had shared in their laughter, those times when that certain hungry look would cloud their eyes. For so long there had been no one in her life to dream about and now there were two of them. Each handsome and yet each with very different personalities. Memories flooded her mind like that day she had walked into the barn where James was fixing a loose shoe on Eagle's hoof."

Available from the author $15 + $5 shipping, the publisher at or by special order from your favorite bookstore.


TRAILS WEST BOOK II: THE TRAIL TO SAN JACINTO is a narrative based on the story of the lives of the Bell brothers and their relatives the Grimes and Stephensons. It features the true love story of Rebecca Cummings and William Barret Travis. TRAILS WEST IS A Multi-part NOVEL Offered in a series of novelettes: BOOK I TEJAS, THE PROMISED LAND covers the period in Texas of 1821 through 1826 and the early, colonist days.  Trails West III:  The Republic & Beyond, The Captain's story actually encompasses the period of 1826 through 1905. Send me an email at Betty Meischen  $15 + $5 shipping

All of my books are also available by special order from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or your favorite book store.


In telling the story of Texas, Trails West simultaneously tells the story of the dramatic founding of the United States of America. It takes the reader all the way back to Jamestown Colony itself. Trails West is a story that encompasses over 400 years of determined, courageous spirit from the shores of Europe to San Antonio to the Rio Grande. This is not about just one or two individual families, it is about the joining together of many different intertwined nationalities in search of a dream of freedom, in search of the Promised Land.

TRAILS WEST is a story too big to be told in one book! Order it now direct from the publisher or by special order from your favorite bookstore.




TRAILS WEST II: THE TRAIL TO SAN JACINTO covers the period 1826-1836 including the Battle of the Alamo and the Runaway Scrape.  TRAILS WEST is a continuing novel of stories that are filled with the trials and tribulations of the pioneers who settled Texas. Not only does it tell their tales of every day life during these exciting times (with a bit of poetic license)but it also tells the accounts of their ancestors the Scots-Irish, the English and the Germans as well. There are also tales concerning the native American Indian. The TRAILS go back to Scotland, Ireland, England, France and Germany. Trails West describes the various conflicts and situations that caused the GREAT MIGRATION to take place.

Order From Jamestown to Texas at Xlibris bookstore





Trails West III: The Republic of Texas & Beyond, The Captain's Story (publish date October 2014) $20 + $5 shipping

One of the heroes of Texas was Betty's 2nd great grandfather Captain James Bell Stephenson.  He came to Texas in 1826 from the wilds of Florida with his parents James and Amelia Bell Stephenson after having his home ransacked by the Seminole Indians. His father had to kill a couple of the redskins in order to save his family and then decided to make the long journey to Texas.

His father James Stephenson chose a league of land in Stephen F. Austin's Colony and was granted title in 1831.  This land was in Austin and Washington Counties straddling Caney Creek, the site of many early Methodist Camp meetings. It was at Caney Creek that famed Colonel William Barret Travis attended his last religious meeting before heading for the Alamo and to meet his fate with 180 brave Texian defenders against the tyrant Santa Anna.

James Bell Stephenson was present at San Jacinto at age 16 to see Santa Anna captured.  He was pinned down in a ravine by hundreds of Comanche Indians as a young Texas Ranger. He fought for Texas during the second Texas Invasion by Mexico in 1842, the Woll & Vasquez campaigns and served as Captain of the 20th Infantry defending the port of Galveston during the Civil War.  He was appointed by the Governor of the state of Texas to carve out Waller County and set up its government in 1873. He lived a long and colorful life and is remembered in this newest book both in a story novel and documentary form.  The Captain's Story starts out with him as a dying old man who has gathered his children and grandchildren around him to tell them about all his adventures. The story is a true tale of a brave man who endured many hardships in order to carve out the great State of Texas.




The Secret Order


Betty Smith Meischen

"Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make ye FREE"

Suppressed knowledge, the true Church, a religion driven underground by a ruthless Roman dictator, the meaning of the DaVinci Code, persecution, the Dark Ages, the suppression of knowledge and the Light which leads to God...What was it all about?

Read The Secret Order and find out.

For many centuries a dark secret was suppressed by the Christian church. Haunted by recurring gruesome dreams, a handsome, young priest, Father Jack Malloy, goes in search of the Truth and finds more than he has bargained for. He is joined on his adventurous quest by Rachael, the spunky, smart daughter of an archaeolgist who has discovered some answers to the puzzling mystery.  Together they travel on a journey from Boston to Paris to London and finally to Rosslyn Chapel, which may hold all the secrets.

Unlike Brown's novel, The Secret Order will leave you uplifted and with a hopeful, beautiful outlook on life.  Remember too, this novel was written and published BEFORE Dan Brown's.  Brown may have been given enormous credit for opening a window on life, but it is not the only inspired work out there.

"No man when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candle-stick, that they which enter in may see the LIGHT.  For nothing is SECRET, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known, and come abroad."

--The words of Jesus, Luke 8:16-17


If you are the type who has been soul searching and spending half your life trying to find the truth then YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!

I suppose by now you have heard of The Da Vinci Code.  Who hasn't with all the publicity and the movie!

The Secret Order written by Betty Smith Meischen is a very similar story that actually was published before Brown's novel yet is based on the same subject matter.  It contains information that possibly caused the famous artist to paint the inspired smiling lady as he did as well as the famous last supper painting.

It appears that Dan Brown and Betty were working on very similar subject material at the exact same time, totally unknown to either of them. However, The Secret Order was published 2 months before Brown's work. Both authors used the same source/reference material and did extensive research into arcane literature and the so called "lost books" of the Bible for the information presented in our novels. The writing style of the novel, however, is very different.  While Dan's is dark and bloody, Betty's novel is much more romantic and ends on a positive, uplifting note.

Since so many of Betty's roots take her back to Scotland, she became very interested in Scottish history and the relation of some of her own ancestors to the first king of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. In the course of her study, she came to learn a lot about the religious freedom issues that were an undercurrent in the movement of the Scots to Ireland and then on to America.

Along the way, she began to research the masonic movement which was a dominant force in the early history of Scotland. This led her back to an organization known as the Knights Templar. The Secret Order is a novel based upon an incident that really happened on Friday the 13th,1307. On that date 15,000 Templar Knights were rounded up by the Church, tortured, and many executed for the crime of heresy. Although the modern day story and the main characters are purely ficticious, the character of Jacques de Molay was very real. Molay was a priest who was the grand master of the Knights Templar in the 1200's. He was tortured and burned at the stake because he would not reveal the secret that the order possessed or the source of their vast wealth. That secret lives on today in masonic ritual.

An understanding of this story, its relationship to Christianity, Islam and the Jewish religion, is imperative for anyone who is searching for the real Truth.  Knowing how the course of religion has swayed the world over the past six thousand years, this generation of those who actively seek the truth armed with the proper insight may be able to find a better way to serve God in a world of peace and not one of constant warfare.

To order a copy of The Secret Order by credit card direct from the publisher iuniverse bookstore click here . Simply enter Meischen and select author and press search. This will also allow you to purchase From Jamestown to Texas and Trails West: The Trail to San Jacinto.

This book can also be ordered direct from the author by enclosing a check $18+ $5 postage and handling and mailing directly to: Betty Meischen 10770 Mayer Cemetery Rd, Burton, TX 77835.  I will mail you an autographed copy. Please contact me first by email for specific instructions.  All of Betty's book are available on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller.






This is the second book in a historical collection of From Jamestown to Texas. The history is the culmination of a five year study of original Virginia land grants which were centered around the James River and its tributaries. Meischen has traced the roots of many of those brave colonists who settled Texas to this region, including the family of Col. William Barrett Travis, defender of the Alamo. In the book, she also reveals the roots of these original colonists, many who decended from British royalty. Meischen describes their plantations, their political and religious affliations, and their relationships to each other. From Pochahontas to George Washington, Virginia: The Cradle of America is the story of the families who were the foundation of America. For more information on any of these books send an email to Betty Meischen at Virginia: The Cradle of America is currently available at publisher iuniverse bookstore click hereSimply enter Meischen and select author and press search. This will also allow you to purchase From Jamestown to Texas and Trails West: The Trail to San Jacinto, The Secret Order and Virginia: The Cradle of America.



Betty Smith Meischen

All books can also be ordered direct from the author by enclosing a check + postage and handling and mailing directly to: Betty Meischen 10900 Mayer Cemetery Rd, Burton, TX 77835. I will mail you an autographed copy. Please contact me first by email for specific instructions 

or call 979-278-3409.


A collection of articles written by Betty in her column in the New Ulm Enterprise newspaper entitled "Reflections."  The book published by the New Ulm Enterprise is a collection of articles over an 18 month period that she wrote.  They are short historically related articles, often humorous, generally about Austin, Washington, Colorado and Fayette counties but sometimes of national interest.  $20  This book is limited edition and by special request only.  Also, Reflections Vol II is now available by special request which covers a period from August 2021 to May 2022.


Return to Tara

A fantasy.  In the early 80's, Betty wrote a science fiction novel about a war in heaven and a beautiful planet somewhere out there.  It is a love story set in a time when humans actively traveled throughout space in ships.  Yet, it is a timeless story about a princess, castles, dungeons and evil men. And yes, a hint of bold knights in shining armor.  It is written in the same spirit of Star Wars which is still Betty's all time favorite movie.  The script sat in a desk drawer for thirty five years and was never published.  It was too good of a story to keep collecting dust so finally in 2021, Betty dug it out, revised most of it and is now available for the public to enjoy and enjoy you will! $20 + shipping or order on Amazon