THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LIX JULY, 1955 No. 1
re (exas Aorther*
EDWARD HAKE PHILLIPS
T Is NOT necessary to tell a group of Texans what a norther is.
But it does seem necessary to remind Texas historians what
a strong influence the Texas northers have had upon the life
and history of this state. No one has done a better job of stressing
the importance of environment upon history than has Texas' own
Walter Prescott Webb with his justly famous book, The Great
Plains,' and one also senses a full awareness of the influence of sun,
sand, chaparral, and sky upon the Texas character in the writings
of another Texan, J. Frank Dobie.2 Yet in spite of the pioneering
influence of these men and some of their disciples, one searches in
vain over the titles of Texas books and magazines for reference to
the norther-one of the most distinctive and influential of all
Texas characteristics. But behind the title pages of Texas litera-
ture, one can find innumerable references to the northers by
settlers, travelers, and newcomers.
From the beginning of Texas' recorded history the norther has
been a subject of extensive comment-from curses to poetic verses.
A study of these comments indicates that the norther has been
more than a mere conversation piece and has, in fact, shaped some
historical events, developed many customs, practices, and adapta-
tions, and has vitally affected the temperament, health, and be-
havior of the Texas people themselves.
A few illustrations may suffice to show the influence which the
northers have had on historical events. The first event of recorded
Texas history was vitally affected by the norther. The ill-fated
#In another form this article appeared in The Rice Institute Pamphlet, XLI
1Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains (Boston, 1931).
2See especially J. Frank Dobie, The Flavor of Texas (Dallas, 1936) and A
Vaquero of the Brush Country (Dallas, 1929).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed December 27, 2014.