Southwestern Historical Quarterly
BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
Pioneer Life in Texas: An Autobiography. By M. Krueger.
(San Antonio: Privately printed. Pp. 225.)
The virile life of the West, the life of cow camps, mining
adventure, Indian fighting and pioneer freighting, has elicited, in
its fading years, a wealth of frontier reminiscence. But being a
reticent people, the western men have written primarily of the
things that happened, adding too little of what they thought and
felt. This autobiography of M. Krueger, one time cowboy,
itinerant photographer, hunter, cattleman, and late capitalist of
San Antonio, is the life record of a sensitive and appreciative man.
In 1868, at the age of fourteen, Krueger left Germany thirst-
ing for youthful adventure, hoping for health, unmindful of for-
tune. He passed through France and Spain, sailed for Cuba, and
crossed from Havana to work upon the construction, at Indianola,
of one of the first beef packeries upon the Texas coast.
Soon the young emigrant was punching cattle, chasing mus-
tangs and hunting game through the brush of southwest Texas,
seeing the terrain, riding the horses, and living the life that all
cowboys liked best to live. He rode herd through unrelieved
watches of night guard, where experience soon "taught him that
certain melodies tend to appease the excited beasts," and where,
strange even to the student of range songs, "the first measures
of Gungl's 'Sounds of Home' were the favorite lullabies used by
the cowboys. ."
From punching cattle in the brush Krueger drifted into the
San Saba country, where he operated a flour mill for a living,
and hunted buffalo and Indians as pastime. After a short career
as a photographer, during which time he visited "all the settle-
ments from the coast to San Saba," he settled upon a ranch in
Blanco county where the drouths of the middle nineties swept his
ranges clean of cattle.
Most living cowmen have felt the terribly depressing psycho-
logical effects of drouth, but few have essayed to express their feel-
ings in print, or to describe those times when the cowman be-
comes almost "indifferent to any misfortune that may befall him,"
when "the most cheerful and optimistic person grows dull and in-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/. Accessed July 22, 2014.