The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 11
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The Texas Norther
and former Governor Francis Lubbock told of a number of Con-
federate soldiers freezing to death on the Texas coast in the
winter of 1863-1864." Still more people undoubtedly succumbed
from illnesses contracted during a norther or made worse
The norther's main death toll, however, was wreaked against
wildlife and livestock. Cattlemen and sheepmen were sorely put
to save herds and flocks from decimation by some of the more
severe northers. At best, in the days of the open range, a cat-
tleman could count upon his herd drifting many miles from
its home base, as the herd sought to lessen the sting of the wind
by turning tail to it. A San Antonio rancher, Max Krueger, has
given a vivid description of such a drift before a norther:
On the open prairie where they can not find refuge in the cover
of trees or underbrush the cattle begin to drift, and with heads hanging
low to protect them from the icy blasts they slowly succumb to the
storm; and singly or in droves head southward until they find shelter
or until a river or, in later years, a wire fence, stops their advance.
Then they crowd together, an impenetrable mass, rendered helpless
by the icy cold of the polar current. The weaker animals and those
most exposed to the elements and sometimes even the whole herd
freeze to death. ... .
Occasionally cattle would drift as much as four hundred miles,
Panhandle cattle being found down near the Rio Grande."
Thomas Hughes' nephew, Harry, reported that the northers of
1882-1883 nearly wiped out the sheepmen of the Edwards Plateau,
some owners losing 75 per cent of their flocks.60 Wildlife fared
little better; birds and fish particularly have fallen victims to these
arctic blasts. The great ornithologist, John James Audubon, found
many dead hummingbirds on the Gulf beaches after a late norther
in April, 1837;61 and not infrequently severe northers have left
56Cadwell W. Raines (ed.), Six Decades in Texas or Memoirs of Francis Richard
Lubbock ... (Austin, 19goo), 532.
5"Frantz, "Moses Lapham," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LIV, 332.
IsMax Krueger, Pioneer Life in Texas, an Autobiography (San Antonio, 1930),
5olbid., 91; J. Evetts Haley, Charles Goodnight: Cowman and Plainsman (Boston,
O0Hughes, G. T. T., 204.
olSamuel Wood Geiser, "Naturalists of the Frontier-VIII-Audubon in Texas,"
Southwest Review, XVI, 116.
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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/m1/23/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.