The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 348
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to Austin. Freighting in Texas in the Fifties was an active busi-
ness, because all trade with the outside world moved overland
When Bill Day was old enough to branch out for himself, he
acquired some wagons and teams and took up freighting. In
eighteen months he managed to save fifteen hundred dollars,
which he wisely decided to spend on an education. With what
supplementary funds his father was able to send him, he went
through Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee. In 1858
he graduated as a Civil Engineer.4
During Bill Day's last two years in school he received numerous
letters from his father in Hays County, which give a flavor of
the times in that section of Texas during 1857 and 1858:
February 23, 1857-. .We are driving (to the port) on as usual.
The spring is opening beautiful and people is planting corn and
some done. I have planted about thirty acres and have the most of
my field ready for planting. Monroe (Dock) and Perry is on the
third trip to the port. Hauling is worth two dollars both ways. The
grass is getting fine and stock doing well. We have had but little rain
since last May and it has been fine for teaming and work of every
kind. Stock is in better order this spring than they have in several
May 23, 1857- Prospects looks quite gloomy with regards to crops.
We have had no rain yet. Our wheat will make nothing on account
of the frost and the dry weather. The corn is dying fast. Prospects
bids fare to make nothing. Corn is not to be had at enny price. There
is a great menny sent to Orleans and bought at ninety cents. Flower
is worth from twelve to fourteen per barrel and money as scare again
as it was when you left here. I have nothing of importance to write
you but that we have had a considerable revival of religion here
within the last few weeks. There has several of the girls profesed
religion, one of Mr. Stevenson's, two of Mr. Bredelov's, Susan Rowden
and Mrs. Walden.
I am going to the port in the morning. There is very little doing.
People has pretty well done working their crops, what little they have
got. They will have nothing to do for they don't think of improving
much while it is so dry. John (Day) is on the road with his teams.
He has a very dead prospect for crops. Nearly all the people in
Stringtown is hauling water from San Marcos and our water is getting
8lbid.; Dudley R. Dobie, A Brief History of Hays County (San Marcos, Texas,
4J. H. Brown, Encyclopedia of the New West, 595.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/452/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.