Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 15
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ON THE JEFFERSON ROAD
land during the Reconstruction era. Like all English setters,
Old Dick was a soft-eyed, mild, home dog, safe for small children,
cats and kittens to play with, over, and on. On a certain warm
summer afternoon, Old Dick was sleeping on the front gallery.
Three small children were playing at building houses with sticks
in the shade of the crape myrtles, glowing like a warm fire in
the red of full bloom, which lined the walk to the front yard gate.
From down the road came a jingle of harness and the frightened
call, "Mad dog!" A neighbor down the road had unhitched a
plowhorse and was riding behind the dog calling a warning.
But the mad dog turned in at the half-open gate before the house-
wife could get farther than the gallery door. There she stood,
horror-struck, staring at the mad beast with drooping head,
slobber dripping from mouth, eyes burning like live coals. Her
three children were directly in its path.
Old Dick had never been known to have a fight in the whole
of his long and useful life. He was not a fighting dog at heart,
so they always said. He stood up, trembling all over with fright,
tail between legs, and whined a warning bark. T.he mad dog
paid no heed but continued its purposeful trot toward the children
playing beneath the crape myrtle tree. This was more than
Old Dick could allow. He charged like shot from a gun. He
became instantly a demon possessed of one deadly purpose. He
rode the mad dog to the ground and by timing the direction of
his charges, bodily drove it from the yard. And once out in the
lane, at a safe distance from the frightened children, he finished
the grim task at hand. He never stopped until the mad dog
was stilled in death. A man from town had to be paid ten dollars
to come out into the country and finish the task. Old Dick had
to be shot. Not a man in the community, white or black, could
be hired to do the job.
The men who lived along the Jefferson Road were like that.
They were dominated by loyalties. They came of good stock.
They held all foodstuff, as a matter of practical fact, as com-
munity property. Cotton was their only cash crop. No one
ever sold corn, or hog meat, or potatoes, or canned fruit to a
neighbor in need. If he needed corn to finish out the year, he
was asked to bring his wagon to the crib and take what he
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/23/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.