The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 29
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A Trip to Texas in 1855
much more than he could pick. Most planters relied on hired
pickers. Girls were good cotton pickers and could be had for
fifteen dollars a month. A bale of cleaned cotton represented 18oo
pounds of cotton in the seed. When corn was planted, cotton seed
was placed in the hill, its fertilizing effect becoming apparent
the next year.
Among the few congenial persons that the Jameses met at the
Houston hotel were Mrs. Annie Bradford, a writer, and Dr. Ashbel
Smith. Dr. Smith had been surgeon-general for the Republic of
Texas, minister to the United States under Sam Houston, and
secretary of state under Anson Jones. James learned much about
Texas from Ashbel Smith.
James's legal business in Texas made it necessary for him to see
a Judge Buckley who lived on a plantation twenty miles from
Houston. Abby and John were reluctant to throw themselves upon
the Judge's hospitality, but Dr. Smith advised them not to stop
at any place where charges were made, for such places were mis-
erable, indeed. But the planter, said Dr. Smith, would always
receive the traveler and consider it a privilege. The truth of this
was borne out by the cordial reception which the Buckleys gave
the Jameses, though the Buckley daughter lay critically ill in the
house at that time.
Judge Buckley was unable to produce any legal papers that
could throw any light on James's legal problems. But James was
delighted with the plantation. Here he saw the wild peach for
the first time, and sent home to Urbana a branch to be planted
on his grounds. The Buckley mansion was a surprise to James.
It was a fine two-story brick house with a handsome portico. On
the first floor there were five rooms with folding doors between,
as elegant as any Ohio house. The parlor was furnished with a
sofa, a marble-topped table, mahogany chairs, gilded cornices at
the windows, and "all the usual ornaments of a city house." The
yard was planted with evergreens, and the long drive leading up
to the house had just been planted with young black-walnut trees
brought from a long distance.
The next morning, while Judge Buckley attended to his plan-
tation affairs, John walked about the place with a Mr. Gaines
who owned a plantation about twenty miles away. Gaines said that
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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/m1/41/: accessed February 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.