The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 228
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The effectiveness lies in that quiltpatch harmony between pictures
and words. We are introduced to all manner of country concerns: gran-
ny doctors, boyish pranks, good neighboring, local feuds, murders,
birthing, burying, moonshining, night planting, wild horses and hogs,
plowing, and dogs.
An old man's voice recalls when moonshine was as common as a Nehi
At one time, don't guess there was one house from Meadow Curve up here,
back down between the creeks where you couldn't stop an' git a quart of
whiskey, whatever you wanted. All the merchants in Mt. Pleasant, Clarkes-
ville, all 'round, they was in it themselves, 'cause they got a little trade. You
got a little money, why you spent it with them. They protected you. Rev-
enuers come down, why they'd call an' tell you: "You better take in your
washin'; it's gonna come a rain."
Or an old woman's matter-of-fact comparison of her life to her
My mother never did have anything but just an apple box fer shelves and
sack sheets for sheets, but I'm tellin' you right now, her house was sparklin'.
It was always as clean as a pin. She never did have nothin' like people now-
adays have to keep house on. I said, if she had my house now, an' what I've
got in it, Lord, she'd be in hog heaven. She died a few years after she got
Of the original three communities between the creeks, only one
hangs on, and recently the area lost many families and small farms to
corporate cattle ventures which converted thousands of wooded acres to
pasture. The old life is vanishing. But what that life was like has been
captured and is preserved between the covers of this book.
From the first plate in The Rodeo of John Addison Stryker, the
reader is catapulted skyward as bulls and horses twist, lunge, spin, and
dive across twenty-seven pictures. There was a solid streak of Phineas
Taylor Barnum in Stryker, who had a life-long commitment to pro-
moting rodeos, first as a producer and announcer, and later as a photog-
rapher. He eventually settled in Fort Worth and opened a commercial
Stryker witnessed the beginnings of rodeo as a spectator sport, but as
a photographer he was governed by the thrill-seeker's instinct and the
"thrill" is at the heart of most of his pictures. He is something like a
racetrack photographer whose career could be summarized by thou-
sands of pictures of photo-finishes. The bulk of Stryker's book is con-
cerned with five competitive events. Part of the pictures' appeal is in-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/264/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.