Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 55 of 58
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TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO. 55
pared with those of the present fast age. They were in no hurry
to make money and get rich, and did not live by steam and electricity.
Kerosene was unknown, and the saucer lamp and the tallow
dip were the illuminants in those days. Wherever night overtook
the teamster he stopped, unyoked his oxen, and hobbled them
and turned them out into nature's pasture to feed on the nutritious
grass that grew everywhere. He built his camp fire, cooked
and ate his frugal supper, and slept on his blanket under his
wagon. In the morning he awoke early, recruited his fire, cooked
and ate his breakfast, gathered and yoked up his oxen, and pursued
his journey, and as he moved on his cheerful song kept time to the
rifle-like report of his long whip. In those days the teamster was
a lord. Kings might well envy him in his high state of content
Much of the cultivation was done with oxen. The farmer would
plow one yoke from morning to noon, then turn these out upon the
grass and yoke up another pair for the afternoon's plowing.
In those days every traveler carried his water-gourd, his stake
rope, coffee pot, provision wallet and blanket, and should night
overtake him with no house in sight, he dismounted, staked his
horse, built his fire, cooked and ate his meal, spread his blanket
under the stars, and slept the sleep of the contented.
Such were the manners, customs, and surroundings of the people
when the writer came to Texas, in 1851. While they did not enjoy
the advantages and privileges of these modern days, yet they
enjoyed more real pleasure, were better contented'and were in close
contact with life on natural lines than we in these rushing, struggling,
discontented times. The lives of the people then moved
along the ways of Arcadian simplicity. There was no complaint
of trusts, no strikes, no contention between employer and employee.
no demand for legislation favoring one class at the expense of,
another, no war on capital, no ambitious struggle for social distinction,
riches, power or place. Content and good feeling among the
people was universal.
Nor were the people in the early fifties unmindful or neglectful
of education, morality, or religion. In the village of Centreville,
when the writer arrived there, they had a well ordered and well
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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/m1/55/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .