The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 596
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the end of the first week, there were forty-one credit customers
on the books, and seventy-five years later the descendants
of twenty-seven of these were still trading with Charles
Schreiner Company. The Schreiner enterprise spread to cattle,
trail driving, and ranching, sheep, goats, freighting, milling,
banking, local utilities; but the store remained the foundation
of the expanding business empire and more than once drained
its resources to repair losses suffered in other fields of develop-
ment. Captain Schreiner managed his business for fifty years,
from 1869 to 1919, and watched his sons, who succeeded him,
with critical eyes until his death in 1927 at the age of
It is an entertaining book to read, and one to think about,
spiced with sound historical observations and with gleams
of the writer's own philosophy showing through vivid, humorous
descriptions of the indefatigable "Captain" and his not too
industrious customers. One gathers an intriguing impression
of a democratic barony made up of the hard-working lord of
the manor and a society of self-sufficient individualists a
theme for a good script writer. Consider this observation upon
the "free range" of the frontier: "It was 'free' from dollars
and cents, but costly in effort and isolation, sweat and anxiety,
blood and life. Grass and water on the frontiers were never
free, but were paid for more than twice over in the sacrifices
and labors of anxious mothers and the blood and brawn of
rugged men." Note the Captain, with pick and shovel on his
shoulder, passing a group of idlers before the blacksmith shop:
one calls out, "Captain, you are going to work mighty early."
"Yes," replies the Captain, "I works and I pays my bills." One
of the customers talked through his nose - "as both adenoids
and articulation were yet to be discovered." Out of abundant
experience, he advised a friend: "I hope you never have any
trouble, but if you do, just get you two or three good witnesses;
it don't make any difference about the lawyers." Another could
never be persuaded that he was decently clothed without his
pistol in his belt, and the sheriff made him a deputy in order
to make "his pistol packing legal." These were customers of
the distant past, but the type survives in the country store
that is still maintained for the convenience of their successors:
"conservatively-clothed old ladies . . . who want credit and
conversation instead of 'cash and carry' when they go to stock
their larders . . . men with choppy steps whose booted feet
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/664/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.