The Hawkins Ranch in Texas: From Plantation Times to the Present

Overview


In 1846, James Boyd Hawkins, his wife Ariella, and their young children left North Carolina to establish a sugar plantation in Matagorda County, in the Texas coastal bend.
In The Hawkins Ranch in Texas: From Plantation Times to the Present, Margaret Lewis Furse, a great-granddaughter of James B. and Ariella Hawkins and an active partner in today’s Hawkins Ranch, has mined public records, family archives, and her own childhood memories to ...
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The Hawkins Ranch in Texas: From Plantation Times to the Present

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Overview


In 1846, James Boyd Hawkins, his wife Ariella, and their young children left North Carolina to establish a sugar plantation in Matagorda County, in the Texas coastal bend.
In The Hawkins Ranch in Texas: From Plantation Times to the Present, Margaret Lewis Furse, a great-granddaughter of James B. and Ariella Hawkins and an active partner in today’s Hawkins Ranch, has mined public records, family archives, and her own childhood memories to compose this sweeping portrait of more than 160 years of plantation, ranch, and small-town life.

Letters sent by the Hawkinses from the Texas plantation to their North Carolina family in the mid-nineteenth century describe sugar making, the perils of cholera and fevers, the activities of children, and the “management” of slaves. Public records and personal papers reveal the experience of the Hawkins family during the Civil War, when J. B. Hawkins sold goods to the Confederacy and helped with Confederate coastal defenses near his plantation. In the 1930s, the death of their parents left the ranch in the hands of four sisters, at a time when few women owned and ran cattle operations.

The Hawkins Ranch in Texas: From Plantation Times to the Present offers a panoramic view of agrarian lifeways and how they must adapt to changing times.

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Editorial Reviews

Lewis L. Gould

"in the expert hands of Margaret Lewis Furse, The Hawkins Ranch in Texas offers to her fortunate readers a well-researched account of more than 160 years of a working ranch, a fascinating ttale of an engaging lively family, and a warm personal memoir brimming with insights. Getting to know the Hawkins clan is a treat!" -- Lewis L. Gould, Author of Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Creating the Modern First Lady
Paula Mitchell Marks

“I’m impressed with the author’s style. She is consistently precise and clear through the telling of a complicated story with multiple players, and she drops in lines of such beauty and insight—for example, the Periodic Table of Elements as taking ‘unruly and savage, beautiful and indefinable’ nature and imposing on it a ‘rational order.’ Again, this is a memorable book. I feel that I have had the advantage of sitting with the author on a front porch, ice tea in hand, as she brings her heritage to life and shares her wisdom.”—Paula Mitchell Marks, Professor of American Studies, St. Edwards University
Frances B. Vick

“Furse uses letters, research, oral history, and her own experiences to tell the story of the old ranch, which makes for a very interesting, well written story. The value of a descendant involved in the ranch telling the story, warts and all, makes for a good narrative. It is a very compelling story and of course one that has never been told of this particular ranch as far as I know.”—Frances B. Vick, author, Letters to Alice: Birth of the Kleberg-King Ranch Dynasty
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Product Details

Meet the Author


A member of the Hawkins family, MARGARET LEWIS FURSE now lives in Austin. She has taught in Rice University’s religious studies department and in the American studies program at the University of Texas at Austin. Furse is currently a general and managing partner of Hawkins Ranch Ltd.

 

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