From Can See to Can’t: Texas Cotton Farmers on the Southern Prairies

Paperback | January 1, 1997

byThad Sitton, Dan K. Utley

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Cotton farming was the only way of life that many Texans knew from the days of Austin's Colony up until World War II. For those who worked the land, it was a dawn-till-dark, "can see to can't," process that required not only a wide range of specialized skills but also a willingness to gamble on forces often beyond a farmer's control—weather, insects, plant diseases, and the cotton market.

This unique book offers an insider's view of Texas cotton farming in the late 1920s. Drawing on the memories of farmers and their descendants, many of whom are quoted here, the authors trace a year in the life of south central Texas cotton farms. From breaking ground to planting, cultivating, and harvesting, they describe the typical tasks of farm families—as well as their houses, food, and clothing; the farm animals they depended on; their communities; and the holidays, activities, and observances that offered the farmers respite from hard work.

Although cotton farming still goes on in Texas, the lifeways described here have nearly vanished as the state has become highly urbanized. Thus, this book preserves a fascinating record of an important part of Texas' rural heritage.

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From the Publisher

Cotton farming was the only way of life that many Texans knew from the days of Austin's Colony up until World War II. For those who worked the land, it was a dawn-till-dark, "can see to can't," process that required not only a wide range of specialized skills but also a willingness to gamble on forces often beyond a farmer's control—we...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 inPublished:January 1, 1997Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292777213

ISBN - 13:9780292777217

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Introduction2. Texas Cotton3. Lay of the Land 4. Midwinter5. In the Fields6. Picking, Ginning, and Hog KillingEpilogue: A World EndsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

This is an important contribution to the study of rural Texas on the eve of the Great Depression and represents, as far as I know, the only study of its kind that weaves together memoirs and oral interviews...into a richly textured tapestry of cotton culture in south central Texas. - Neil Foley, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin