On the prairies the voyager discovered wild grapes in such
abundance that he predicted superior wine or raisins there would
some day make Texas "America's vineyard."
The area was "... to a remarkable degree free from all natural
causes of sickness, and it enjoys such pure, fresh air as is found
only in the most desirable regions." Reiersen no doubt rued the
day he wrote those words because diseases of strange origin later
were to dishearten his followers and lead to their virtually com-
plete disintegration in Northeast Texas.
Reiersen was quick to note that the Sam Houston government
was eager for more settlers, as evidenced by generous land grants.
It is refreshing to read of primitive Texas as seen through the
eyes of a prospective settler whose duty was to portray a land to
persons who would come there sight unseen. Johnson, the editor,
has helped Reiersen's account with the use of footnotes to correct
and clarify facts Reiersen could only surmise.
Another article in the association's volume is of particular
interest concerning Reiersen the man. Entitled "J. R. Reiersen's
'Indiscretions'," it delves into the settler's questioned past in
Norway. Written by Einar Haugen, the article reveals that there
was something of the con man in Reiersen.
Other articles in the volume tell of Norwegian experiences
elsewhere in America.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed March 16, 2014.