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.
Thad Sitton and Dan K. Utley are Austin-area historians and writers with extensive experience in collecting oral history.
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
2. Texas Cotton
3. Lay of the Land
5. In the Fields
6. Picking, Ginning, and Hog Killing
Epilogue: A World Ends
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