Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 16
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
wanted. But when anyone came in and threatened to disturb
the peace of their community, cause friction between whites and
blacks, they arose as Old Dick arose when he saw the mad dog.
And like Old Dick, they dreaded the task at hand, but if it
became necessary, they could grimly carry on to the bitter end.
Of this grim side of life along the Jefferson Road, little has
ever been said. The Department of Justice at Washington esti-
mated that some seven thousand white Republic Party organizers
were killed in the rural districts of the South during the first
three years of Grant's administration. Since Texas was then a
fertile field, magnetic with traditions, and Jefferson was the
principal port of entry, it seems highly probable that it took
more than a rattle of trace chains in a camp ground at night to
convince many "visitors" that their reforming influences were
not wanted. The veterans of the Third Texas had a great deal
of respect for the Union soldiers they met in battle; they had
even more for those who returned to their homes up North and
stayed there. But for newcomers who insisted on riding the Jef-
ferson Road, as conquerors in a conquered land, they simply
mounted whole horses and rode them down and out, in the way
that Old Dick hurled himself against the mad dog. The basic
motive of both was the same. There was little Reconstruction
along the Jefferson Road.
Negroes were kept close to home, fed in the kitchen, an open
door between them and their masters. They slept just across
the camp fires at night. And around the camp fires, in the long
evenings, they furnished music and entertainment. While the
veterans visited around some of the fires, the younger men and
Negroes gathered around others. Banjos, French harps and
Jews ("juice") harps were brought out. The ground was floored
with tailgates from wagons. This for the benefit of the young
bucks with talking feet.
The dancing was descriptive, explained with words in song.
Half-a-dozen or more men would form a half-circle on the Negro
side of the fire, banjos across knees, eyes flashing in the constant
stream of light banter with the complimenting, bragging whites
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/m1/24/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.