The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 32
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to overcome such a hostile attitude, and that was by way of success-
ful demonstration. Wayne rarely ever loaded the camels to more
than six hundred pounds each, but there is a record left to us of
one instance where he was able to prove the possibilities of the
camels beyond any doubt. This episode occurred before the camels
left Indianola. It seems that Wayne went with a camel to the
quartermaster's forage house to bring up four bales of hay to the
camel yard. A crowd had gathered to watch the performance.
The animal was made to kneel down to receive its load, and two
bales, weighing in all 613 pounds, were placed on him. Doubts
were expressed by the crowd as to the ability of the animal to rise
under the load, and when Wayne placed two more bales on, making
the total load 1256 pounds, the crowd roared with derisive laughter.
"To convey to you the surprise and sudden change of sentiment
when the camel, at the signal, rose and walked off with his four
bales of hay would be impossible.""4
There was, however, one ardent female enthusiast, a Mrs. Mary
A. Shirkey, of Victoria, Texas. This woman sent to the President
a pair of socks made out of fleece of the loose dead hair of a camel.
In her letter to Wayne, enclosing the socks, Mrs. Shirkey said:
"I have been much longer preparing the socks than I thought
I should be when you left my house. I knit one and found it too
coarse. I then spun some finer and knit the pair I have sent you.
If I had the machinery, I could have made you a better specimen
of what the camel's wool could do in Texas. I have spun the first
thread and made the first article of clothing out of the wool in this
country. I think if it was carded in the factory it would do much
better; all the long hair would drop out from the fine wool.""43
Here ends the official account of the purchase and importation
of the camels as recorded in the report of Jefferson Davis. In
March, 1857, the administration of President Buchanan came into
office, with John B. Floyd as Secretary of War. Major Wayne
was transferred to the office of the Quartermaster-General at Wash-
ington and could no longer give his attention to the camels. Early
in 1857, Wayne was awarded a medal by the Soci6t6 Imp6riale
"Report, 198. Wayne to Davis, Camp Verde, February 21, 1857.
4Report, 154-155. Wayne to Davis, San Antonio, August 12, 1856.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/40/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.