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

Paperback | March 1, 2004

EditorThad Sitton

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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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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 Ho...

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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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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Table of Contents

Preface Chapter One. Introduction: Lost WorldsChapter Two. Homeplaces Lay of the LandChoresGardens, Home-Use Field Crops, Fodder CropsDomestic LivestockFishing, Hunting, Trapping, and GatheringMedical Self-Help and Town DoctorsChapter Three. Money CropsCotton and Other CropsCash-Crop LivestockMinor Money CropsPart-Time Cash Labor for OthersPeddlers and Country StoresVisits to TownChapter Four. SettlementsCountry SchoolsSchool EntertainmentsFamily VisitsThe Sporting LifeHouse Parties and DancesNeighbors Helping NeighborsChurches and Religious LifeChapter Five. Modernizations and the TakeoverCommunication BreakthroughsRoads and AutomobilesGovernment Programs and the TakeoverEpilogue: Sixty Years AfterwardAppendix: The Fort Hood Oral History ProjectSelected Bibliography Index

Editorial Reviews

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