The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 140
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the front cover, the picture endpapers, the excellent pictures in
the body of the book, and the delightful pen-and-ink sketches
at the head of each chapter are, in themselves, worth the price
of the book many times over.
Big Bend is a joy to read in its entirety at one sitting. It is
just as pleasurable, however, to select any one of the thirty-two
chapters or subdivisions and read it at any time one has just a few
moments for reading. The entire book gives a well developed
story of the very interesting and happy experiences of the Lang-
ford family along the Rio Grande. On the other hand, each
chapter is a complete story within itself and worthy of reading
for pleasure and information.
In brief, Big Bend is the story of the life and activities of J. O.
Langford, a traveling salesman from Mississippi, who went west
for his health. In addition to health, however, he found a home,
happiness, and the enduring delight of living close to nature and
among the unspoiled peoples of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande.
In telling this story, Langford with the aid of the classic story-
teller, Fred Gipson of Mason, Texas, has preserved a heart-
warming epoch in his life and in that of the Old West. At the
same time he has presented an excellent description of much of
the Big Bend of Texas.
A homesteader's story, as developed in Big Bend, is that of a
young man who grew up in the cotton fields of Mississippi only
to find himself, at an early age, physically unable to withstand
the recurring attacks of malaria in the "fever-ridden country of
calomel, chill tonic, and quinine." In search of health he became
a traveling salesman in Alabama and Mississippi. Out of the
cotton fields, he showed some physical improvement and soon
thereafter ventured to get married. He and his wife lived for a
time in Montgomery, Alabama. Soon, however, poor health again
forced the young man and his wife to go west. Short stops were
made at Dallas, Midland, and Alpine in Brewster County, Texas.
In Alpine Langford filed on three sections of land as a home-
stead. This land was located in the Big Bend of the Rio Grande,
and on it there were mineral hot springs, which, he heard, would
"cure anything." The homestead was a hundred miles from
"nowhere" and far removed from all evidences of Anglo-American
settlements. Nevertheless, in the spring of 1909, Langford took
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/162/: accessed March 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.