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How Hard was Life in Early Texas?

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Think your life is hard?  Frederick Law Olmsted wrote this about life in early Texas:


"We arrived in a norther, and were shown, at the hotel to which we had been recommended, into an exceedingly dirty room, in which two of us slept with another gentleman, who informed us that it was the best room in the house.

The outside door, opening upon the ground, had no latch, and during the night it was blown open by the norther, and after we had made two ineffectual attempts to barricade it, was kept open till morning. Before daylight, a boy came in and threw down an armful of wood by the fireplace. Afterwards, we made a fire.

He appeared again, an hour or two later, when the breakfast bell rung. We all turned out in haste, though our boots were gone and there was no water.

At this moment, as we were reluctantly pulling on our clothing, a negro woman burst into the room, leaving the door open, and laid a towel on the wash-table. " Here!" we cried, as she ran to the door again; "bring us some water, and have our boots brought back." She stood half outside the door, and shaking her finger at us in a weird manner, replied : " Haant got no time, master " got fires to make and ebery ting ;" and she vanished.

We naturally began to talk of changing our quarters and trying another of the hotels. Then up spoke a dark, sad man at our side, "You can't do better than stay here; I have tried both the others, and I came here yesterday because the one I was at was too dirty." And the man said this, with that leopard-skin pattern of a tablecloth, before him, with those grimy tools in his hands, and with the hostler in his frock, smelling strongly of the stable, just handing him the (No. 3). Never did we see any wholesome food on that table. It was a succession of burnt flesh of swine and bulls, decaying vegetables, and sour and moldy farinaceous glues, all pervaded with rancid butter."


----- Frederick Law Olmsted, "A Journey Through Texas," 1857


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

Posted : 24th January 2020 10:14 pm