Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 41
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THE AUSTIN HILL FOLK
after the water had receded to find crops and livestock swept
away. In the last flood, that of 1936, the old Henry Thurman
home built in the early '40's was destroyed.
The recent exodus was a cheerful event--not a panic-stricken
flight. In another sense it was a sad leavetaking, for this time
they can not come back. Some of these people moved to Austin.
Others found new homes higher in the hills around the lakes.
But with the new development of this region the old ways of
life will be changed.
The inaccessibility of this region until recently accounts largely
for the primitive ways of the people. On the banks of Bull Creek
not more than twelve miles from Austin, stands a house built of
hand-hewn logs, a mountain home since before the Civil War.
Until 1933 the only road to this settlement was a rough trail
along Bull Creek. Sometimes the creek hugs the steep bluff on
one side, sometimes on the other side, so that the road fords the
creek ten times in twelve miles. In such isolation the mountaineer
lives his own life.
The Hill folk have simple wants, which they supply for them-
selves almost without money. Their homes are built near a
spring, and the children learn to "pack" water when quite small.
Most families consider carrying water for all household purposes
as work for the children or women-folks. If the spring goes dry,
as frequently happens in dry years, they walk a mile or more to
another, or in extreme droughts the men haul the water in barrels
from the nearest "water hole."
They practice a policy of self-sustenance: they grow corn for
making meal and hominy and for feeding the stock; cane and
corn fodder for winter feeding; they can fruit, wild dewberries,
wild plums, and mustang grapes, and vegetables; they cure pork
and render lard and make soap. Deer in season (and often out
of season), squirrel, and other wild game supplement the meat
supply. Many mountain families consider a roast possum or coon
a special treat.
Along the Colorado and Bull Creek in narrow fertile valleys
fine vegetables can be grown. One old lady whose farm is now
a part of Buchanan Lake said, "Oh yes, they paid me enough for
my land, but when I think of the fine watermelons I used to
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/49/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.