Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 27 of 58
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TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO. 27
came and Bidias creeks became raging torrents, we were often from
two to four weeks without a mail. In the language of old Tom
Thurman, the mail carrier, all that was necessary to render the
Bidias impassable was one or two lonesome thunders on the head
of these creeks. In the interval between mails, the editor of the
Pioneer had to manufacture news out of his inner consciousness as
best he could. Frequently paper had to be transported from Huntsville
on horseback. Sometimes it could not be obtained at all, and
to save legal advertisements the weekly issue was got out on common
wrapping paper. These were some of the difficulties that
attended the publication of a newspaper in Texas in the early fifties.
At this writing there are five newspapers in Leon county, and
the iron horse goes scurrying through the county four or five times
daily, harnessed to the United States mail car, distributing the
news from every part of the world. The contrast between the present
progressive Texas and that of fifty years ago is indeed wonderful.
The same blue sky, the same serene moon and stars that shone
fifty years ago are still above us, but all else, how changed! We
seem now to breathe another atmosphere, to inhabit another world.
Then was the time of laying the foundation on which the greatness
of Texas was to be builded; now we witness the grand results of
fifty years of progress and development.
In the early fifties, the principal staples in trade were land and
land certificates. Surveying and the location of certificates was
an important business; but land and land certificates were cheap
and could at that time be had for what would now be considered a
song. It was the impression at that early day that only the timbered
portion of Texas was adapted to agriculture. The vast prairies
of the State were considered valueless, except for grazing and
raising of stock. Under this belief, east Texas, the timbered portion
of the State, had been nearly all covered with certificates, and
the prairie portion was of necessity the scene of operations of the
land locator and the surveyor. The section of the State of which
the city of Dallas may be considered the center, and which is now
prized as the farmers' paradise, was believed to be worthless for
farming. It is a fact that the settlers in that section, in the early
fifties, came down to Freestone, Leon, and other timbered counties
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/27/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .