Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 2
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
and generally he was mighty proud of that. But to understand
clearly the why of the "Dogfight" crossings, it is necessary to
get a clear picture of the region as a whole.
The Piney Woods form a distinct geological, geographic and
cultural division of the state. It is best pictured as a sea of
green-timbered land encroaching along the eastern border. This
timbered land stops abruptly when it reaches the west bordering
edge of the outcropping Tertiary Sands. For the most part it is
a hill country. The hills are short, choppy and green-mantled,
like the waves of a storm-tossed sea. And like the waves of
such a sea, the hills tend to form, in general, ridge-like patterns
with steeper, west-facing escarpment edge, as where waves begin
to overturn to become breakers just off shore.
It was along the general trend of these ridges that the main
roads ran. They clung as close to the divides as the escarpments
would allow, for there were no bridges in East Texas in those
days. Creek crossings were few and far between. Each such was
a "tight pull" up steep, muddy banks, trying on the tempers of
men and mules-and dogs.
Dogfight Crossing was such a place. Here a turkey-track
pattern of roads wound down through the timbered hills to flow
together into a main road at the crossing. The mud of the
crossing was deep. Teams had to be doubled-up for the heavy
pull up the far bank. On certain cold, frosty mornings in late
fall, when cotton was being hauled to the Jefferson Landing, as
many as twenty wagons would sometimes be waiting their turn
to cross. With each wagon would be from one to five dogs, the
number and intelligence thereof varying in inverse proportion
to the reputation of the owner as an upright, intelligent citizen
in his home community.
As each dog arrived within hearing of the crossing, his ears
found the underbrush filled with angry sounds, cracking like
static electricity on a barbed wire fence during a dust storm.
It took a great many oaths and much cracking of blacksnake
whips to make strange mules and horses pull together through
the deep and slippery mud of the steep bank. The dog had ears
for only the lift of anger in these sounds. If he was a good
dog,-and most dogs are good dogs-he would raise head and
Here’s what’s next.
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/10/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.