Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 12
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
profit, those who made their homes along the Jefferson Road
were even more grimly determined to keep their pure pine land
free from the smell of the despised and, to a certain extent,
dreaded Northern flesh. They, too, were conscious of the legal
limits to which they could safely go.
When such a visiting party settled down in the glow of their
fires in the romantic setting of a Jefferson Road camp ground,
smoking their pipes and discussing with serious concern the
ways of the world, and the need for change, they were, on their
first night in particular, privileged to learn of the rudeness of
Before the mystery of night had added the touch of romance
to the camp ground setting, they met many Texans, both white
and black, while going to and from the springs and watering
places for the horses. The white Texans were always looking
at some distant object off through the timber; the blacks were
in a worried hurry. Their chances to get acquainted with the
natives were limited. Once comfortably filled with their evening
meal and engaged in the evening talk, they would be suddenly
lifted alert in stretched-neck silence. Through the woods would
echo a roaring, unexplainable cry: "SORGHUMSEED!" Then
the night would be rent by the blood-chilling squall of the Third
Texas, turned loose by some squatting veteran who suddenly
recalled the breaking of the Union lines at Gaines Mill. The
silence that followed would bring close the cold chill of the
night. This silence would be broken by an angry outcry from a
nearby fire: "I smell a skunk!" The answer to that would cut
sharply back from a dozen fires: "That ain't a skunk! That's
them Damyankees you smell!"
After that, conversation among the visitors would be con-
stantly broken by periods of stretched-neck listening. Finally,
secure in the thought that their cause was a just one, they would
draw new blankets about them and turn in for the night. Sleep
would flirt and flit with a vague aloofness, like the shadows of
the night. The very air would be charged with the threat of
danger. Then they would lie quiet and listen to the chuckle of
a late-coming wagon, the jingle of trace chains. Then, like an
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/m1/20/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.