Harder than Hardscrabble: Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill Country

Overview

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.
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Photos Austin, TX 2004 Hard Cover First Edition Near Fine in Near Fine jacket 8vo-over 8"-9" Tall Octavo. Signed by Author x, 297 pp, black cloth covered boards w/gilt ... lettering, SIGNED by the author on the half-title page, glossy dj w/black spine w/gilt lettering w/wht front cover w/black-and-white photo. The author collects the stories of the pre-Fort Hood residents to provide a look at Texas farming life before World War II. The stories recount the hardships and satisfactions of daily life in the Texas countryside. They describe agricultural practices and livestock handling as well as traveling peddlers, visits to town, country schools, medical practices and fox hunting. Read more Show Less

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Overview

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. The anecdotes capture a fast-disappearing rural society--a world very different from today's urban Texas.
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Editorial Reviews

Agricultural History
Harder than Hardscrabble is a contribution to scholarly understanding of the rigors of a past lifestyle that remains remarkably close to us in time. Lay readers, especially those interested in farm life or Texas history, will enjoy the humanity and stories of Sitton's subjects.
— Ricky Floyd Dobbs
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Harder than Hardscrabble brings new life to Central Texas communities otherwise lost to history, and is an important contribution to the history of early-twentieth-century rural life in Texas.
— Gene Preuss
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter One. Introduction: Lost Worlds

Chapter Two. Homeplaces Lay of the Land Chores Gardens, Home-Use Field Crops, Fodder Crops Domestic Livestock Fishing, Hunting, Trapping, and Gathering Medical Self-Help and Town Doctors

Chapter Three. Money Crops Cotton and Other Crops Cash-Crop Livestock Minor Money Crops Part-Time Cash Labor for Others Peddlers and Country Stores Visits to Town

Chapter Four. Settlements Country Schools School Entertainments Family Visits The Sporting Life House Parties and Dances Neighbors Helping Neighbors Churches and Religious Life

Chapter Five. Modernizations and the Takeover Communication Breakthroughs Roads and Automobiles Government Programs and the Takeover

Epilogue: Sixty Years Afterward Appendix: The Fort Hood Oral History Project Selected Bibliography Index

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