The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 3
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The Texas Norther
land." Stephen F.'s cousin, Henry, had no such hesitancy, how-
ever, and once reported after a series of northers in 1839:
I have had a frightful winter of it. I left here the day before
Christmas to return after the holidays and remained here until I
could ... escape from the detestable country-a frightful ride through
ice, mud, and water on a Siberian day. ...
Henry Austin's cousin, Mary Austin Holley, also freely acknowl-
edged the prevalence of the northers but tried to excuse them as
a blessing in disguise, saying that they "contributed much to give
to the climate of Texas a blandness which is rarely enjoyed ... in
the low country of the Southern United States."6 She admitted that
Emigrants arriving at this period of the year, would, of course, be
disappointed in their visions of the climate. It is not at all surprising
that some who have arrived in Texas at this unpropitious moment,
have become disheartened and sighed for home; or, what is much
less excusable, have given vent to their morbid feelings by detraction
and slanderous misrepresentations of the country.7
What would Mary have thought of the future popular poem,
"Hell in Texas?"
The northers' effect on Texas history can also be seen in certain
events of the Texas Revolution and in the War with Mexico.
Students of military history are well aware of the part that luck
can have on the outcome of a battle-as the old adage goes: "for
the want of a nail a shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe a horse
was lost, for the want of a horse a charge was lost, for the want of
a charge a battle was lost"; if luck or a nail can affect a battle, how
much more can a norther influence the fortunes of warfare.
During the Revolution the Mexican army suffered severely from
the cold northers to which many of the men were not well-accus-
tomed. General Jose Urrea, marching into Texas, wrote on Feb-
ruary 25, 1836, "At seven o'clock that night ... a cold and pene-
trating norther began to blow. . Six soldiers of the battalion of
Yucatin died from exposure to the cold."8 Though it seemed that
5William Ransom Hogan, "Henry Austin," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
6Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Lexington, Ky., 1836), 43.
sCarlos E. Castafieda (ed.), The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution by the
Chief Mexican Participants (Dallas, 1928), 214.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/15/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.