Cash for Cows

During the early 30′s there were no buyers for livestock. President Roosevelt had this idea that if cattle and hogs were destroyed reducing the numbers, the price of those commodities would rise. The county agent would pay $2.00 per head to the farmers for allowing their livestock to be slaughtered. Trenches were dug and the government men would drive the animals in, shoot them in the trenches and then bulldoze dirt over the dead animals. If this sounds similar to a recent government program, it had about the same result.

I have a haunting black and white picture of my father, his brother Lester, and their parents after the government slaughter at the Bowles’ Ranch. They all appeared to be in a state of shock. It had to be a terrible experience for everyone. Little is said in the history books as it was a subject that rural families did not want to remember nor city dwellers were aware of. Had this history been known to the present administration, they might have had second thoughts about cash for clunkers and other recent government giveaways.

After the herd was culled, the ranch had a few head of cattle and lots of sheep. Wool prices were so low it wasn’t worth shearing or dipping the sheep. There being no market for sheep, they just existed on the ranches like the deer and multiplied. Similar to the emu market a few years ago, you just kind of hoped they would go away.

In an upcoming post, I will tell a humorous story about how Granddad Bowles got the worthless sheep off his ranch.

Nine Million Words

Literary experts estimated that author Zane Grey wrote 9M words during his lifetime. Like most writers, he had dry spells. When in the mood, he could write 100K words in a month. Born in 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio as Pearl Zane Gray, he set up a dental practice in 1896 as Dr. Zane Grey, DDS. He wrote to escape the boredom of dentistry.

He met his wife Lina “Dolly” Roth on a canoe trip in 1900. They married 5 years later. Dolly, a teacher, liked his writing and encouraged him to write. His first novel Betty Grey was rejected by Harper Brothers in 1903. He self published it successfully and Harper came calling. Grey wrote over 90 books; he created the Lone Ranger. His works were turned into the first movies and were the start of Paramount Pictures.

He lived a great life doing what he loved to do. After Zane Grey’s death, October 23, 1939, Harper continued to publish his works up until the 60’s. The Lone Ranger became a popular TV series; Zane Grey Western Theater produced 145 episodes. Pearl Zane Gray didn’t have the confidence to be a writer; fortunately, he married Dolly who recognized his talents when the publishers of the time didn’t.

Austin’s First Born

Presbyterian minister Amos Roark took a census of the new Capitol City, prior to Austin being incorporated on December 27, 1839. It was more of a marketing plan for the Presbytery than an official census. Regardless of his motive it gives a good description of Austin and its earliest settlers, during the Republic of Texas.

Rev. Roark counted 75 families: 5 with no religious affiliation, 10 Baptist, 10 Catholic, 11 Episcopalians, 10 Lutherans, 17 Methodists and 12 Presbyterians. Only the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches were finished; other congregations worshipped in members homes, some held services at the wood planked capitol building on a hill at the northwest corner of Hickory (now Colorado) and East Eighth.

He tallied 856 full time residents; 550 adult men, 61 women of which 6 were young maidens, the rest children. The minister targeted 20 gamblers and 4 lawyers in need of salvation. He noted there were 6 inns, 6 gaming houses, 9 saloons and a billiard parlor.

There was little night life as few could afford candles at nine dollars a pound. Venison, turkey and buffalo meat were abundant at the Eberly Inn. Paying $75.00 a month room and board at the Eberly was Senator Anson Jones of Brazoria County and Lorenzo Van Cleve. Both bachelors served in the Texas Army during the revolution. Each bought city lots nearby to build their home and business; Jones an MD, Van Cleve a master craftsman, would make furniture for Dr. Jones’ new home on Pecan Street.

The doctor was engaged to Mary McCory; Van Cleve was courting 19 year old Margaret Smith. They would be the second and third couple to marry of the six recorded during 1840. Mary McCory-Jones gave birth to Sam Houston Jones on February 26, 1841. The boy was named Sam Houston Jones at birth, but after a fall out with President Sam Houston, the parents changed the boy’s name to Samuel Edward Jones. Margaret Smith-Van Cleve had Elnora Van Cleve on April 14, 1841. They were the first recorded births in Austin.

Thomas W. Ward – 1807-1872

Captain Thomas Ward was a hero of the Texas Revolution before it began. The Irish-born member of the New Orlean’s Greys lost a leg at the “Siege of Bexar” in December of 1835, months before Texas had declared its independence from Mexico. Thomas Ward lost a leg to cannon fire in San Antonio. Colonel Ben Milam lost his life two days later from a well-placed rifle shot. It is legend that Ward’s leg was buried with Colonel Milam’s body.

Ward was fitted for a peg leg in New Orleans and returned toTexas to receive a Colonel’s commission from President David Burnet. He served under General Thomas Rusk during the remainder of the war; receiving 2,240 acres for his service to Texas. After the Texas Revolution, Ward settled in Houston where he was awarded a contract to build the Capitol. “Peg Leg,” as he was now called, served as a clerk in the second session of The Republic of Texas congress.

He followed the government’s move to Austin in 1839, becoming Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives during the fourth congress. Ward became Austin’s second mayor, then commissioner of the General Land Office.

During a San Jacinto Day celebration in Austin, Peg Leg lost his right arm in a cannon salute. He would face fire from the cannon again December 29, 1842 when Angelina Eberly fired it toward the General Land Office; stopping Ward’s removal of the state archives away from Austin. His friends now called him “Lucky.”

Church of the Patriots

Philadelphia’s Old Pine Street Church is known as the “Church of the Patriots.” The Presbyterian Church founded by Rev. George Duffield in 1768, still stands at Fourth and Pine Streets. George Duffield led the Continental Congress in prayer. He joined George Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1776-1777 as Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Militia. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail worshipped there prior to moving to the new capitol in Washington.

The cemetery that surrounds Pine Street Church contains the remains of a signer of the U.S. Constitution, members of the Continental Congress and numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. This early American church helped set the moral compass for our founding fathers, which is why I wrote of it in Adam’s Daughters and Children of the Revolution. Should you visit Philadelphia, be sure to take a tour of the Old Pine Street Church.

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