Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 30
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
scalded thoroughly, and dressing and salting down hams and
sides. Even during a blue norther the work must be done with
dispatch. The lard has to be rendered and the chittlings cooked.
The perishable parts, such as the liver and lights, the head and
the backbone, are distributed among the neighbors for immediate
use. Needless to say, help is not lacking, for to help means a mess
of fresh pork, which will be repaid when work is swapped with
the coming of the next norther.
The custom of swapping work is employed by the women in
the form of quiltings and cannings. The quick ripening of ber-
ries and plums creates an emergency that one woman cannot
handle alone, and it is to the advantage of her neighbors that they
bring their fruit jars and help her for a half of what each cans.
Quiltings are still popular and the women spend many an after-
noon together helping each other piece scraps for a quilt cover,
or tacking a comfort on a quilting frame swung from the ceiling
of the front room.
Families get the mayhaws for canning and their scaly-bark
hickory nuts to be used in Christmas cakes by organizing all-day
hunts into the river bottoms, carrying a dinner to be spread on
the ground. At the end of the day the pickings are divided
according to the size of the family of each picker. Similarly,
when a man finds a bee tree, he calls his neighbors to help him
cut it. The honey is divided, the bee colony going to the finder
of the tree. Robbing a bee-gum also requires help, and to the
one who doesn't mind a few bee-stings about his face goes a
share of the rich spoils for the breakfast table.
In pioneer days the lone settler could eventually fell enough
trees, bark and notch them, and build his cabin by himself, but
after getting his logs ready, he invited his neighbors to "hope
him out." House raisings were popular because they gave a
lonely people an opportunity to get together, visit, and eat a
hearty meal. Raisings are still given in East Texas, when a crib,
a cotton pen, a smoke house, or a brush arbor for the summer
revival is needed.
Anyone giving a raising in our community is expected to have
all the materials on hand and ready, and to set a day convenient
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/m1/38/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.