"Mink and Manure": Rural Gentrification and
Cattle Raising in Southeast Texas, 1945-1992.
THE GENEALOGY OF GENTLEMEN FARMING GOES BACK TO THE EARLY
national period. Captains of industry popularized the second home
in the country as a place where they could seek leisure in the late nine-
teenth century. Specialized breeding farms with distinctive landscapes
emerged in the Kentucky bluegrass before 1900.' However, what is now
called rural gentrification did not emerge on a significant scale until
after World War II. The term gentrification, which was first applied to
population change in urban areas in the early 1970s, signified an alter-
ation in the composition of a neighborhood when members of the mid-
dle class replaced working-class residents. Rural gentrification, which by
definition took place in the countryside, saw low-status individuals, often
small farmers, displaced by middle-class settlers who wished to take
advantage of the country ambiance.?
The impetus for rural gentrification came from various directions.
Obviously a rural second home offered leisure opportunities for a city-
based family. Government farm programs-like the Agricultural
* Mark Friedberger is the author of Farm Families and Change in Twentzeth-Century America and
Shake-out- Iowa Farm Familzes in the 19801 The research for this article was supported by a grant
from the Summerlee Foundation.
'Harriet Rivo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Vzctornan Age (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1987), 45-81; for the rural settlement of New England and the Middle
Atlantic countryside by elites, see Tamara Plakans Thornton, Cultivatzng Gentlemen. The Meaning of
Country Lzfe Among the Boston Elite, 1785-186o (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 85-137
and Richard L Bushman, The Refinement of America. Persons, Houses, Citzes (New York: Knopf,
1992), 3-29. For elite country living in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, see Clive
Aslet, The American Country Home (New Haven: Yale University Press, 199o), 63-83, 135-153;
Gerald Alvy, Kentucky Bluegrass Country (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1992), 153-163,
and Karl B. Raitz, The Kentucky Bluegrass, University of North Carolina Studies in Geography no.
14 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carohna Press, 1980), 24-26, 93-149.
2 Martin Phillips, "Rural Gentrification and the Processes of Class Colonization," Journal of
Rural Studies, 9 (No. 2, 1993), 123-124. Hereafter, the term gentrfiers refers to urban residents
who moved to the country, purchased farmland, and displaced the old farm population.
VOL. CII, No. 3 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed December 28, 2014.