Riding a Horse 100 Miles to Go to a Dance and to Court Eliza Hudgins
How some folks got hitched, lived, experienced tragedy, sorrowed, and ultimately triumphed:
"For two and one-half years I never went to the post-office ---- Colorado City, 115 miles away ----- nor looked upon the face of a woman. I allowed my beard to grow and never, never gave the matter a thought, must have become as tough looking a character as ever bestrode a horse in Texas. It is not strange that, when I did finally go to town and attend a "baile," Eliza Hudgins would not see fit to favor me, when I sought a dance. Late in the evening, the party broke up in a fight and it was several months before I saw the fair young lady again. But the memory of her drew me back to town and on to Plainview, where her family resided. The time I was shaved and slicked up like a city dude, or as nearly so as a sunburned, calloused cow-hand could be. She smiled upon me and I rushed the case as rapidly as her breadcrumbs of encouragement would justify. We were married in her father's home and I took her back to the Elwood ranch as a new top-hand. As she accustomed herself to the rigors of the open range, she gradually became as good a hand with cattle as many of the men we had. At the time, she was the only woman in four counties and very rarely did she see another of her sex, except on occasions when we could tear ourselves away from ranch duties to ride a hundred miles or so to a dance.
Later our savings enabled us to buy sixteen sections, which we fenced, the two of us, almost entirely by our own labor ... Then we got a windmill. I will never forget how happy we were, standing at the door of the little dugout, watching the flow of the first water the new windmill pumped for us. Then came the cattle, slowly. We'd buy a cow here and a cow there; then we got a good bull and a few young steers for fattening ... Our first baby, Mary, was born .... She died at seven years ... Then came little Bob Lee, who drowned when he was three years old. Later, after we had proudly built a new house with several rooms, Ruth was born and we were blissfully happy..
From this time on, it seemed like everything to which we placed our hands prospered and multiplied."
----- Frank Norfleet, "Norfleet," 1924
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.