The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 34
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
be unreliable. But both Abby and John saw many "drawbacks
to the comfort of one's family in the way of living and ... in the
way of society."
Abby was not impressed by Austin. She thought the accommo-
dations there were "utterly doleful." To her children she wrote
that that part of the country which God had made was very
beautiful and fertile, entirely worthy of God's hand, but she
thought it best not to speak of the part which man had made.
Indolence and vice had left their mark everywhere, she said, and
"in this lonely climate and soil people [were] without" what she
considered "the common necessaries of life-every thing [was]
slovenly and dirty beyond description or belief."
John expressed satisfaction with the town. He liked the looks
of the people, and, in fact, he liked Austin better than any place
he had seen in Texas. Land was high and rents higher, he said,
but he could buy from thirty to fifty acres of land about two miles
out of town at twenty-five to thirty dollars an acre.
well as excellent corned beef. Few people in Texas, however, cured their own
meat. They preferred to procure it from the North.
James thought it would be very profitable to operate a dairy and chicken farm
near San Antonio. Poultry could be hatched the year round, and chickens as yet
were free from disease in Texas.
Sheep raising would be profitable, for lambs could be born the year round
with safety. Sheep increased rapidly and the wool clip was good. Sheep were
used more for breeding than for meat. They fattened so readily in Texas that
some breeders allowed their sheep to graze but half the day, for sheep sometimes
died from excessive fat. Mexican sheep had poor carcasses and coarse wool.
James was told that a breeder of horses had recovered his entire cash outlay
at the end of three years. In addition, he had a fine stock of half-breed mares
to commence breeding mules which in two years would be worth fifty dollars each.
Horses sold for from $3o to $6o at the age of three years. Stallions were inter-
changed by their owners every other year.
In breeding his mares for horse foals, he pursued the old Spanish mode of
penning about thirty mares with one stallion, then driving them to the grazing
ground; they rarely left that vicinity unless driven off. The stallion protected the
mares and suffered no horse or man to come near. The herdsman visited each
band every third day to see that all was well. The tails of the mares were shaved
for two purposes: to make more certain that the mares would get with foal,
and for getting the hair to make ropes. Mexican herdsmen saved about a hundred
dollars a year each for their employer by making the ropes they used. Hair
ropes lasted longer than manila ropes.
Horse raising was considered a sure way to make money. A Mr. McKinney,
near Austin, had ten mares said to be worth a thousand dollars each. In 1858,
Charles Anderson of Kentucky went to western Texas to breed horses, expecting
his income to equal 74 per cent a year by the end of his fourth year. At that
time he could buy mares for from eight to fifteen dollars apiece because of the
great numbers being driven in from Mexico to escape from revolutionary pillage.
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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/m1/46/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.