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Title Harder than hardscrabble : oral recollections of the farming life from the edge of the Texas Hill Country / edited by Thad Sitton.

Published Austin : University of Texas Press, 2004.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  976.4287061 HARD    AVAILABLE
Physical description x, 297 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Series Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas heritage series ; no. 6.
Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas heritage series ; no. 6.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Chapter 1. Introduction: Lost Worlds 1 -- Chapter 2. Homeplaces 17 -- Lay of the Land 17 -- Chores 29 -- Gardens, Home-Use Field Crops, and Fodder Crops 35 -- Domestic Livestock 44 -- Fishing, Hunting, Trapping, and Gathering 51 -- Medical Self-Help and Town Doctors 60 -- Chapter 3. Money Crops 71 -- Cotton and Other Crops 71 -- Cash-Crop Livestock 90 -- Minor Money Crops 98 -- Part-Time Cash Labor for Others 107 -- Peddlers and Country Stores 115 -- Visits to Town 120 -- Chapter 4. Settlements 193 -- Country Schools 193 -- School Entertainments 208 -- Family Visits 213 -- Sporting Life 222 -- House Parties and Dances 226 -- Neighbors Helping Neighbors 235 -- Churches and Religious Life 241 -- Chapter 5. Modernizations and the Takeover 251 -- Communication Breakthroughs 251 -- Roads and Automobiles 257 -- Government Programs and the Takeover 263 -- Epilogue: Sixty Years Afterward 280 -- Appendix Fort Hood Oral History Project 283.
Summary Until the U.S. Army claimed 300-plus square miles of hardscrabble land to build Fort Hood in 1942, small communities like Antelope, Pidcoke, Stampede, and Okay scratched out a living by growing cotton and ranching goats on the less fertile edges of the Texas Hill Country. While a few farmers took jobs with construction crews at Fort Hood to remain in the area, almost the entire population -- and with it, an entire segment of rural culture -- disappeared into the rest of the state.
In Harder than Hardscrabble, oral historian Thad Sitton collects the colorful and frequently touching stories of the pre-Fort Hood residents to give a firsthand view of Texas farming life before World War II. Accessible to the general reader and historian alike, the stories recount in vivid detail the hardships and satisfactions of daily life in the Texas countryside. They describe agricultural practices and livestock handling as well as life beyond work: traveling peddlers, visits to towns, country schools, medical practices, and fox hunting. Many of the anecdotes are from a world very different from today: a world where you asked the phone operator to dial "I-W" to reach your grandmother, where a mother cut and sewed the tough skin of an old basketball into a pair of shoes, and where people walked for miles to dance a "stomp" or "dose-e-doe."
The stories also describe a fast-disappearing rural society. Modernization made kerosene lamps and mule-drawn ploughs less common and enabled the radio, automobiles, and the Sears catalog to become regular features of rural life. The Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration also left their mark on the isolated communities, until finally the military necessities of World War II required the entire area being supplanted.
Other author Sitton, Thad, 1941-
Subject Country life -- Texas -- Fort Hood Region -- History.
Ranch life -- Texas -- Fort Hood Region -- History.
Farmers -- Texas -- Fort Hood Region -- Biography.
Ranchers -- Texas -- Fort Hood Region -- Biography.
Oral history.
Fort Hood Region (Tex.) -- History.
Fort Hood Region (Tex.) -- Social life and customs.
Fort Hood Region (Tex.) -- Biography.
Texas Hill Country (Tex.) -- Social life and customs.
ISBN 0292701993 (alk. paper)
0292702388 (paperback: alk. paper)