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A Gala Ball is Held in Early Texas

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A letter written in 1830 by an early Texas settler named "J.C.R" to her friend Florence, who lived back east in Virginia:


"My letter has been delayed, as the boat we expected did not come. I am not sorry, as it gives me a chance to tell you of a ball we attended last week. It was given in honor of a young bride, Mrs. T., whose husband owns large tracts of lands. She was a New Orleans belle. The guests came from miles around the country. The bride was as pretty as a picture ; she was dressed in pink silk trimmed with exquisite lace ; her diamonds were superb. All the ladies were out in their best dresses. 'Twas a merry crowd. What difference did it make to us if we didn't have smooth floors, fine music, or brilliant lights? We were happy. The entire evening I found myself asking, "Can this be Texas?" If you could have looked round upon the bright faces and pretty dresses, or if you had heard the sparkling conversation, you'd have wondered too.

However, ere midnight we had a taste of Texas. In the midst of the "Old Virginia Reel" a piercing shriek was heard. " The Indians!" was the cry that burst from each and all. In a second the gentlemen had dropped the hands of their fair partners and seized their rifles, which are always kept near. Out they rushed, under the lead of our host. Captain Y. While no attack had been expected that night, yet Captain Y. had placed four of his servants to keep watch. They could not resist the temptation of occasionally coming near enough the house to see the dancing. On returning to their post, one of them fell, pierced by an arrow; his dying scream was the alarm of the approach of the savages.

I could not but admire the courage of young Mrs. Y. While some of the ladies were crying and wringing their hands, she coolly placed in her sash the pistol her husband had given her on leaving, and then advised us to sit where we would not be exposed to arrows or bullets shot through the windows. In half an hour the worst was over. The savages, being disappointed at not taking us by surprise and finding their men falling fast, retreated. Only two of the gentlemen were wounded, nor were the wounds severe. You may rest assured, however, that we did not sleep much that night, nor did we go home for two days, as the Indians were skulking near to waylay us.

Hoping you may make up your mind to make us a visit, and
with much love to all my friends,

I am, ever yours,

J. C. R."


From "A Texas Scrapbook," DWC Baker, 1875

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 27th January 2020 7:32 pm