l-forace i. -fall's otterss froim
Sillespie CouAlt, exas, 1871-1873
Edited by JOSEPH S. HALL
N 1945, when my father, Horace Mark Hall, died in Los
Angeles at the age of ninety-one, he left among his personal
effects thirteen letters written during his youth. One of these
was sent, apparently in 1871, from his home in Charleston, Coles
County, Illinois, to his mother, who was in Chicago at the time.
The rest were sent to members of his family in Charleston from
the trail to Texas and from Blanco and Gillespie counties, Texas
(except for one written from Austin). These letters provide ob-
servations of a wide-eyed boy from the Corn Belt gleaned during
the long journey from Kansas to central Texas and contain some
information and comment on life on the cattle range near Austin,
the cattle drives to Kansas (although it is not certain that Horace
went on one of these), the movement of population to the south-
west, the opening of the land to settlement and use, the raids by
the Indians, and similar matters. The letters also convey some of
the zest for adventure and thrills experienced by a hardy youth
from the tame and civilized farm country further east.
In the fall of 1871, a tall and husky boy of seventeen, whose
nickname was "Hod," left his home in Illinois for the Southwest.
Like other boys of his age, he was ready to make his mark in the
world. Perhaps also he was following Horace Greeley's advice. No
doubt the hope of wide-open adventure was a strong lure to this
ambitious youth living in a quiet farm community of central
Horace was born in 1854 in Warrenton, Mississippi, where his
parents were living at the time. When Horace was a boy, his
father, Dr. Jesse C. Hall, a dentist and jeweler in Charleston,
found difficulty in supporting his family in the hard times follow-
ing the Civil War. In later years Horace said that during this
trying period corn meal and molasses were the mainstays of the
family diet, and that "a dollar looked as big as a cartwheel."
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed October 23, 2014.