The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983

Book Reviews

valuable reference work. It will also suggest to them the need for in-
depth research on many of the commissioners. Scholars who wish to
undertake a full study will want to examine not only the bibliograph-
ical essay at the end of the pertinent sketch, but also the list of annual
reports and Robert M. Kvasnicka's excellent essay on major research
sources. As both a guide to further research and a reference tool, the
purposes for which it was intended, The Commissioners of Indian Af-
fairs makes a substantial contribution.
Memphis State University LONNIE J. WHITE
The Old Home Place: Farming on the West Texas Frontier. By David
L. Caffey. (Burnet, Tex.: Eakin Press, 1981. Pp. x+21l. Intro-
duction, photographs, notes on sources. $11.95.)
For those whose roots emanate from the soil of rural Texas, this
volume will inevitably evoke memories of a bygone era. Focusing his
attention upon his grandparents, Mart and Myra Caffey, who left
their Mississippi home in search of opportunity that the newly opened
land in West Texas seemed to offer, the author has captured the es-
sence of farm life in Jones County, from the days of the agricultural
frontier in the late nineteenth century through the tragic years of the
Great Depression and World War II.
In 1904 the Caffeys acquired a quarter-section cotton farm in the
Elliott community near Anson. As their ten children grew up in a
paternalistic household, Mart Caffey supervised the farm operation
and instilled his beliefs in the virtues of work, discipline, and thrift.
He kept the children occupied tending livestock, killing hogs, clear-
ing shinnery, and gathering wood, as well as plowing, planting, chop-
ping, and picking cotton. Yet life was not all drudgery for the young-
sters, who occasionally engaged in such shenanigans as cotton-boll
fights in the fields, sneaking away to the movie house at night, or
playing hooky from school on April Fool's day. Though contented
with their own lives, the Caffeys encouraged their children to obtain
an education and to seek opportunity away from the home place.
Though the Caffey family is spotlighted, this is a chronicle of the
changing phases of a typical West Texas rural community. Prior to
the 193os Elliott was a settlement dotted with small farms, where fami-
lies like the Caffeys concentrated their efforts on making a living and
rearing their children. Besides the home, the local one-room school-
house, which served as the educational, religious, and entertainment

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/. Accessed September 30, 2014.