Harder than Hardscrabble: Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill Country by Thad SittonHarder than Hardscrabble: Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill Country by Thad Sitton

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

EditorThad Sitton

Paperback | March 1, 2004

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Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005
Runner-up, Carr P. Collins Award, Best Book of Nonfiction, Texas Institute of Letters, 2005

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.

Thad Sitton is an independent scholar and writer in Austin, Texas. Among his ten other books on Texas history are three winners of the Texas Historical Commission’s T.R. Fehrenbach “best book” award.
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Title:Harder than Hardscrabble: Oral Recollections of the Farming Life from the Edge of the Texas Hill…Format:PaperbackDimensions:309 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 1, 2004Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292702388

ISBN - 13:9780292702387

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Reviews

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

Editorial Reviews

Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005Runner-up, Carr P. Collins Award, Best Book of Nonfiction, Texas Institute of Letters, 2005Until 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."I found that I was very sorry when the book ended because I enjoyed the stories so much. It is also very informative about the ordinary activities and every day life of central Texas farm folk in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth.” " - Michelle M. Mears, Librarian / Archivist, Texas Historical Commission