Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 31
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"HOPING OUT" IN EAST TEXAS
for all. When my father wanted to raise a mud-chimney on our
house, we spent days in preparations. During the hot days of
late July while we waited for cotton to open, we found a postoak
clay of good texture and gathered moss from the creek bottoms.
We spent several days cutting and hewing timbers and cross-
pieces for the framework of the chimney. It was not until he
had all the materials hauled and laid down at the house that we
set a day and sent word around that we were giving a chimney
raising and that there would be a good dinner for everyone who
came. As it was a slack time of the year, most of the men of
the neighborhood showed up with their families, as we expected.
With two hands for every job, the raising proceeded quickly.
A hole was cut in the house wall for the fireplace and a founda-
tion laid for the chimney. Then four upright oak timbers,
squared with adz and broad-ax, went up, and on these closely
spaced crosspieces were nailed to complete the framework. The
postoak clay was mixed with water and worked to a stiff con-
sistency; then a double-hand portion of the mud was kneaded
around a wisp of Spanish moss. The result was a pliable brick,
or "mud-cat," about eight inches long and two inches in diameter.
When completed, the mud-cats were thrown to a man on the
chimney framework, who deftly wrapped them about a cross-
piece, one after another until a tier had been completed. The
waterboys, claymixers, catmen, and wrappers performed this
chain of tasks. There was no interruption, because there was
always a man standing around waiting to take over when another
wanted to blow a while. There was no let-up either in the laugh-
ing, hurrahing, and bragging that went on, and the fun was
redoubled when dinner was spread under the shade trees and
the women joined the men for a rest during the heat of the day.
Perhaps those practices of mutual aid that best preserve faith
in human kindness are the traditional customs that have no
selfish end in view, but are purely Samaritan in character. The
sick and the afflicted, the widows and orphans are a community
responsibility, and a man is bound to help as he can. "Setting
up" with the sick is a deep-seated obligation assumed by the good
neighbor, for the ill and the harassed family must be relieved by
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/39/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.