The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 229
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Life of German Pioneers.
After we had lived on Fordtran's place for six months, we moved
into our own house. This was a miserable little hut, covered with
straw and having six sides, which were made out of moss. The roof
was by no means water-proof, and we often held an umbrella over
our bed when it rained at night, while the cows came and ate the
moss. Of course, we suffered a great deal in the winter. My father
had tried to build a chimney and fireplace out of logs and clay, but
we were afraid to light a fire because of the extreme combustibility
of our dwelling. So we had to shiver. Our shoes gave out, and we had
to go barefoot in winter, for we did not know how to make mocca-
sins. Our supply of clothes was also insufficient, and we had no
spinning wheel, nor did we know how to spin and weave like
the Americans. It was twenty-eight miles to San Felipe, and, be-
sides, we had no money. When we could buy things, my first calico
dress cost 50 cents per yard. No one can imagine what a degree of
want there was of the merest necessities of life, and it is difficult
for me now to understand how we managed to live and get along
under the circumstances. Yet we did so in some way. We were
really better supplied than our neighbors with household and farm
utensils, but they knew better how to help themselves. Suther-
land2 used his razor for cutting kindling, killing pigs, and cutting
leather for moccasins. My mother was once called to a neighbor's
house, five miles from us, because one of the little children was very
sick. My mother slept on a deer skin, without a pillow, on the
floor. In the morning, the lady of the house poured water over
my mother's hands and told her to dry her face on her bonnet. At
first we had very little to eat. We ate nothing but corn bread at
first. Later, we began to raise cow peas, and afterwards my father
made a fine vegetable garden. My father always was a poor hunts-
man. At first, we grated our corn until my father hollowed out a
log and we ground it, as in a mortar. We had no cooking-stove, of
course, and baked our bread in the only skillet we possessed. The
ripe corn was boiled until it was soft, then grated and baked. The
nearest mill was thirty miles off.
As I have already said, the country was very thinly settled. Our
three neighbors, Burnett, Dougherty, and Sutherland, lived in a
radius of seven miles. San Felipe was twenty-eight miles off, and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/233/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.