Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 85
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HONOR THE FIDDLER!
with him when he sailed in 1870 from Georgia and landed at
Galveston. En route he played for European royalty, who hap-
pened to be aboard the ship. Just as he was building for himself
a coveted reputation as a fiddler-in addition to his work as a
ranch hand in Eastland County-he suffered a severe blow.
Returning to the ranch house one evening, he found his beloved
violin in the yard in a sad state; the ranch owner's children had
tied a string to it and made themselves a miniature wagon. A
fiddler without a fiddle can grow as sad as a cowboy without
a horse, and Hugh was becoming extremely despondent. One
day, however, a poverty-stricken cowhand happened by with
an old Hopf violin. Hugh bought it for $8 and used it until
he got married.
Then he exchanged it for a housekeeping outfit-cooking
utensils, a cook stove, two chairs, a wash tub and washboard,
a bed and mattress, some rag rugs, a black-and-tan hound,
dishes, a red table cloth, an iron wash pot, a water bucket and
dipper, a mule, and several head of cattle which were more or
less domestic and quite a few others which Hubbard was told
went in the trade if he could find and catch them. Also, the
man with whom he traded threw in an auger, which the pioneer
declared was "a dandy" and which saw some forty years of
service. He is said to have been willing to part with his fiddle,
at least temporarily, because the neighbors, discovering a fiddler
in their midst, came visiting almost every night, keeping him and
his wife up late. A successful ranch foreman, still he was even
more expert at scraping the fiddle strings. Once Hubbard won
fifty dollars by playing the fiddle and carrying on four separate
conversations with four different women simultaneously. Bill
Luke of Mineral Wells held the stakes. Another vivid moment
in Hubbard's life was the time he was riding a mule through
snow and ice to play for a "blow-out" across the Brazos. When
he reached the river, it was frozen over, and the mule balked.
Undaunted, Hubbard put the mule in reverse and backed it
across. He played for the dance.
Many strait-laced members of the Protestant churches have
frowned on square dancing, though the lines have not been
too clearly drawn always. Bud Browning, one of the Mata-
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/m1/93/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.