Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 30 of 58
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30 TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
The writer's first retainer in a land suit, after his arrival in
Texas, grew out of the generosity and hospitality of an old Texan
towards a new comer and stranger. A man came from Tennessee
with a wife and several small children and in the early spring
stopped in the range of the old Texan's cattle. As soon as the latter
heard of the arrival of the stranger, he hastened to see him, and
informed him that he was welcome to gather as many of his cows
with young calves as he might need to furnish his family with milk
and butter; and that all he would charge him was to divide the
milk of each cow with its calf, to which the new comer thankfully
agreed. In the fall, when the old Texan went to see about his cows,
he found that more than half the calves had died, and that those
still living were at the point of starvation. He felt outraged that
his hospitality had been so abused, and demanded pay for the calves
that had died. On the refusal of the newcomer to pay for them he
instituted suit before a justice of the peace for damages, and employed
the writer to prosecute it, which he did, obtaining judgment;
at the cost, however, to himself of incurring the ill-will of the
defendant, which it took years to remove.
The social and friendly feeling that existed among the early settlers
of Texas was strong and peculiar. It was the natural product
and outgrowth of hardships and dangers which these pioneers
mutually shared that joined old Texans one to another with hooks
of steel. This statement may be illustrated by the following story:
The burning of the Adjutant General's office, at Austin in 1855,
with the military records of the Republic and State, created a
great sensation. It soon became rumored that two citizens of a
certain county, old Texans, were the guilty parties, and they were
indicted by the grand jury of Travis county. The writer was informed
that in due course capiases for the arrest of these parties
were forwarded to the sheriff of the proper county, who was also
an old Texan and friend of the accused. The sheriff after receiving
the process summoned a posse, with directions to meet him at
a certain place, on a certain night to aid him in the arrest of one of
the parties. The sheriff and his posse made the descent on the
home of the accused at the appointed time and searched his house,
but found no one except his wife and children. It was told the/
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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/m1/30/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .