11
DAILY LIFE IN TEXAS

LIVING CONDITIONS AND CUSTOMS

THE SOCIAL PICTURE in Texas tended to vary with the topography and climate of its extensive area. Residents of the eastern and southeastern portions suffered from the Civil War to a greater extent than did those of any other section, since they were more interested in raising cotton. Negro slaves had been widely used in this region, and it is not surprising that planters encountered difficulty in adjusting to free labor.

People who lived nearer the center of the state were not so materially affected, for there cotton farming had not acquired the importance it had attained in the older eastern section. Frontier settlers in the north, west, and southwest were virtually undisturbed, economically, by the outcome of the war but of course faced a greater challenge to economic development in the constant Indian depredations.

The breakup of the plantation system after the war, the increased immigration in the early seventies, and the homestead act passed by the Twelfth Legislature all tended to increase the number of small farmers. The following description of these agriculturists, however, applies particularly to those who resided in the eastern and northeastern portions of the state.

The small farm of the early seventies usually possessed a limited number of livestock: ten or fifteen cows, a yoke or two of oxen, perhaps twenty sheep, a horse or two, a dozen razorback hogs, and a number of chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Usually each family had a garden and an orchard producing vegetables and fruits for home consumption. Several cattle would be killed every year, the meat cured,

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