The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
contained at least one mother who, shotgun in hand, had stood off
a raid while her man was away.
Cotton belonged to East Texas, and cattle to West Texas. No one
had heard of Spindletop, Kilgore, Humble Oil, Gulf Oil, Texaco,
or even Popeye. In central Texas Miriam Ferguson was a slight, shy
young Bell County girl, daughter of a well-to-do farmer, waiting
for her destiny to come out of Temple in the form of a persistent
young lawyer-banker named Jim who had the un-bankerish notion
that farmers deserved credit just like city-folks. Down the line the
city-folks would get him for that, but through his wife he'd get
even by thrashing the Ku Klux Klan. But in 1897 no one even
thought of a woman governor in Texas' future; in fact, though they
valued their women, most Texas men thought just voting might
give them notions they'd better not be having.
Vital years, the end of the 1890's. People approached the end
of the century with the same awe and anticipation with which we
bear down on the year 2ooo. They interested themselves in politics,
in earning a living, in getting out and getting under the moon, in
checkers and croquet, and in finding something good in the kitchen.
Walter Lord has dubbed them "The Good Years." As a matter of
fact, they were good only for certain people, and like all memories
have grown in luster as they recede in time. Those times produced he-
roic men, but they also must have produced their share of venal men.
Certain laxities of the 1970's were not condoned, because men did
not live in the anonymity and aloneness that they do in this crowded
There were advantages, of course, besides a slower pace of life.
Fresh sensations did not crop out from the newspaper, radio, and
television daily to give us a surfeit. A town could talk for days about
the fact that the Montgomery's cat had come home and wonder
where he had been for five nights or five weeks. The pranks that the
local hardware store perpetrated on the innocent, blowing out a
telephone, the spilling of High-Life on a dog, could evoke yells of
laughter. Negro baiting was almost on a par with armadillo hunting
with a sort of innocence about it because the white boys did not
realize that black boys had the same desire for triumph and fear of
shame. A townsman who had been to Fort Worth or Houston was
the focus of attention for weeks. If he was fortunate enough to have
crossed that high bridge with its upward-slanting approaches and
its iron or wood runners across the Trinity in the south or Red River
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/14/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.