Texas History - No Frolicing & Marrying Peas

“Mother I Don’t Frolic Now”

Young J. T. Bostick had left his home in Georgia and headed for Texas to make his fortune. That brought him to what is now Hood County and a place then called Comanche Peak, now Acton. That’s forty miles SW of Fort Worth near Lake Granbury.

That was the frontier in 1860, so you know his parents back in Georgia were worried. On Christmas Day J. T. sat down and wrote a letter to put them at ease.

It was discovered on the the old Georgia homestead sometime in the sixties. In reproducing it here his original punctuation and spelling are preserved. His spelling gives you an idea of how he sounded.

Dear Father & Mother Brother & sister friends in jeneral. I am permitted to inform you al that I am not dead yet not knowing though how long I may live. I am in as good health as yousal hoping that these few lines may find you are injoying the same health.

I have nothing aninmateing to write you all, the scearcity of money & the abolishionist & the dam Indians is making the times in this country look verry gloomy.

Tell Cas I would have like for him to bin with me some time ago. I took a trip some time ago out in the Indian Country some two hundred miles weast of where I now live.

I got in a little fight with a Camanche Indian & by the by he found his self shot dead on the ground and me taking his skelp. I infold in this letter a lock of his hair to prove to you what I have stated a bove. (A lock hair about eight inches long was folded in the letter.)

The Indians has bin mity troubblesome in this Country for the last two months back; the Indians has kill about ten or twelve whites stolen pretty near all the horses.

Texas is making up Companies to go out and kill them all off. I expect we will see some bloody times this winter.

The health of the people is generally good in this Country but verry few deaths. Produce is verry scearce & hie here this fall & winter. Corn worth $2.00 per bushel, wheat the same & none to be bought at under one hundred miles. Coffee twenty five cents per pound. Sugar 20 cents per pound; the people generally make there own molasses in this country.

Bording is generally runs from six to ten dollars per month. Stock, Horses & cattle is tolable low for cash. I have a stock of cattle now of my own; they will be by next spring between one hundred & fifty & two hundred head.

I have let a man have my cattle to keep on shears. I give him the fourth calf that is rais.

I want to starte down to the railroad to morrow or next day to see if I can make some money there. Mother I dont frollick now like I use to when I live at home.

Father & Mother you musent think hard of me for not coming back to see you for the Country is wide between us & the road long & exspencive one.

So I must come to a close. William is well & says that he would like to see you both once more in life.

Tell the Ladies howdy for me Mother.

Your 1st Son,

J. T. Bostick

A Texas Recipe

J. C. Hutcheson served under Stonewall Jackson and was a company commander when the war ended. Then he became a lawyer and left Virginia for Texas.

While serving in the Texas Legislature he authored the bill that created the University of Texas.

About the same time, he also authored this recipe for “Cornfield Peas.” You probably call them blackeye peas.

Mr. Hutcheson contributed it to the cookbook published by the Presbyterian Ladies of Houston in 1883.

To Cook Cornfield Peas

Go to the pea-patch early in the morning and gather the peas, take them home in a split basket. Take them in the left hand and gouge them out with your right thumb until it gets sore, then reverse hands.

Look the pea in the eye to see it’s color, but cook them anyway, as no color exempts a pea from domestic service, still the grey eye and white lips and cheek are to be preferred. Throw the shelled peas mercilessly into hot water and boil them until they “cave in.”

When you see they are well subdued, take them out and fry them about ten minutes in gravy - a plenty of gravy, good fat meat gravy, and try to induce the gravy to marry and become social with the peas.

When you see that the union is complete, so that no man can put them assunder, and would not wish to if he could, put them in a dish and eat them all.

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