The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 492
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Duval West, Woods 8c myself accordingly left in a wagon to be gone
all night in pursuit of "Christmas turkey." No game killed this eve-
ning. Bitter cold night.8
Thursday, Decr. 25. Christmas. Cold and clear. Breakfast of bacon,
bread, coffee. After two hours tramping, the wind cutting like little
knives, Duval West bagged one turkey. (Hurray for Christmas tur-
key.) He also shot a buck which he afterwards lost. We returned
to camp. CHRISTMAS DINNER
Roast beef with sweet potatoes
Roast Turkey- (Tomorrow)
Good appetites-and The Lord send us as good every Christmas,
and as Tiny Tim says: "Bless us every one!"
Friday, Decr. 26. An uneventful day. I wrote some letters, one to
the Galveston News.9 The "Norther" has subsided, but in its place
returns a cold south wind which is even more disagreeable. Tonight
I am on guard till one o'clock, Duval West relieving me. We have
had the most magnificent campfire tonight and I am writing this
entry by its light, after all hands have "turned in." The moon is
nearly or quite at her "full" and her rays falling upon the tent and
the animals tethered around and sifting through these noble old
live oaks under which we are camped makes a peaceful and har-
monious picture. What a strange fascination this "life in the woods"
has for me and indeed for most men. It is, shall we suppose, a dim
reminiscence of our savage ancestry whose homes were in the forests
and the caves of the mountains.
And whence comes this natural instinct of destruction which nearly
"Mrs. Henry S. Pitts wrote of her father as a hunter: "Before his death in 1893,
I remember one evening we were hiding in the brush and he was calling wild
turkey, when he told me he really hated to kill game, unless it was needed for
food; and that, in the future the sporting thing would be to hunt with a camera.
His turkey call was a little bone contrivance."
9Burr Duval was one of many free-lance, non-paid correspondents for newspapers
in his time. These correspondents recorded historic events in the West. Much of
the color and detail presently available to historians is gained through perusal of
old newspaper files, enlivened by men of education who seemed to foresee that
their eyewitness accounts were worthy of preservation in newspapers "back home."
Duval joined, by his writings, a long list of noteworthy, volunteer correspondents.
Of these men, some recorded events as they saw them, accurately, some with a
flair for imagination. Such men usually hid their identity in literary pseudonyms,
such as "Yeoman," Frederick Law Olmsted of the New York Times, in the 1850's;
"Mustang," used by James L. Freaner of the New Orleans Delta; and "Texas John,"
a name adopted by John C. Duval. This use of pseudonyms caused no end of
confusion to historians, who later had to trace the writer's identity through a
hundred years of musty volumes.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/550/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.