The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 309
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Texas and the South
WALTER L. BUENGER
A FEW YEARS AGO IN PLAINVIEW, TEXAS, I LISTENED AGAIN TO THE
s tories of my mother's family, the Coxes and the Thompsons.
While the landscape of the South Plains certainly does not look south-
ern, I finally understood that these were southern people and this a
southern place--with a Texas twist.'
One great-grandfather grew up in Mississippi during the Civil War.
For four years he hid his favorite horse from marauding troops. Near
the end of the war great-grandfather heard about another batch of sol-
diers who were stripping the neighborhood clean and responded by
leading his horse into the barn and cleverly covering it with hay. The sol-
diers never found the horse, but they set the barn on fire, burning it and
the horse to ashes. William Humphrey, a novelist from Northeast Texas,
insisted it was a "feeling of identity with the dead which characterizes
and explains the Southerner." That was why families told and retold sto-
ries such as this one about my great-grandfather. Stories bound families
not only to their departed ancestors, but to a separate and distinctive
South. Another Northeast Texas writer, William A. Owens, asserted that
in the early twentieth century "hatred of Yankees and carpetbaggers had
diminished only a little" in his native region and that this passion passed
from generation to generation through stories. Yet after hearing the
story of the horse and the burned barn many times, that day I realized
* Walter L. Buenger is an associate professor at Texas A&M University. He is the author of
Secession and the Union in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984), co-author of But Also
Good Business: Texas Commerce Banks and the Financing of Houston and Texas (College Station: Texas
A&M University Press, 1986) and Texas Merchant: Marvin Leonard and Fort Worth (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1998), and co-editor of Texas Through Time: Evolving Interpretations
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991).
'On how stories determine identity see William A. Owens, "Regionalism and Universality," in
Don Graham, James W. Lee, and Wilham T. Pilkington (eds.), The Texas Literary Tradizton: Fiction,
Folklore, and History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983), 69-79. In the same volume also see
Norman D. Brown, "Texas's Southern Roots," 40-45 and James W. Lee, "The Old South in
Texas Literature," 46-57. For a starting point in comparing Texas and the South see Frank E.
Vandiver, The Southreest: South or West? (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1975).
VOL. CIII, No. 3 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JANUARY, 2000
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/355/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.