From Texana, the newsletter of Texas State Genealogical Society, date unknown: "Mr. Walter Dossett Sr. of Waco sent in the following letter that was printed in the Albany News, August 26, 1954"
Waco, Texas, Dec. 1, 1892
To Pat Cleburne Veterans of Waco, Texas
I am poorly qualified to write an essay for the public. Born on a farm in Kentucky A. D. 1818, educated in a country school with very limited facilities, I, of course can do but little in the character of an essayist. I married young, came to Texas in 1853, settled in Burnet, then a frontier country, 50 miles west of Austin. My husband bought land; we had to live in a tent during the winter, but we soon erected a log cabin and there husband and I, five children and two servants, commenced our career in Texas.
By industry, hard work and great economy and self denial we in a few brief though weary years, had a comfortable home with plenty around us to make us happy and contented. In 1861 the dreadful war between the states commenced. My husband went into the civil service of the Confederate States where he served until the close of the war, being much of the time absent from home and his family, in discharge of his duty. My oldest son volunteered and went into the army, in which re remained until the close of the war. My youngest sons were engaged in taking care of our stock and in aiding a few men who were left at home in guarding our homes from the depredations of savage Indians and cruel Jayhawkers. In addition to these troubles, our frontier country was afflicted with terrible droughts and myriads of grasshopper. Thus our region of country was cursed with domestic war, merciless Indians, thieving jayhawkers, protracted droughts, and last but not least the grasshoppers were destroying our vegetables, our corn and wheat, upon which we were mainly depending for life itself. The few supplies of food and clothing we had at the commencement of the war were soon exhausted. Our family was now increased to five sons and two daughters. The question of food and raiment now presented themselves to us in all their reality and ghastly vividness. "What shall we do?" was the absorbing question with everyone. Fortunately, we had plenty of cows in the country and from this source we could get plenty of beef, milk and butter. We also had sheep from whose fleeces we could make clothing. But to do this required machinery, and this we did not have. But the men we had with us soon began to make looms, wheels, cards, etc., to make cloth to keep us from the cruel blasts of the cold north and the scorching rays of the dry summer's sun. I was fortunate enough to get a few dresses, buckskins to make clothes for my husband and our boys and Negroes. I was also fortunate to be raised on a farm where my good mother manufactured her own jeans, blankets, comforts, socks, etc. for her own family of sons and servants and she had fortunately taught me these same valuable lessons. So as soon as I could have a loom, wheel and cards made, I procured some wool and cotton and went to work in good earnest. It was not long before I had my wool carded and spun into thread for my warp and filling, and my web of jeans cloth ready for dyeing, cutting and making into garments for my men folks.
My next work was to card and spin, weave, dye, cut and make my linsey clothes for the women folks. Then came time for me to make my thick warm flannel clothing for all the family. Then came time for making quilts, comforts, sheets, bolsters and pillow cases, towels, socks, stocking, etc.
Then we needed shoes, hats and bonnets. For shoes we had to substitute buck skin moccasins. For hats we had to use dressed rabbit, fox and wild cat skins and straw. For bonnets we used our old dresses and straw. Our knitting of socks and stockings was done principally at night, when we used tallow candles for light, made by our own hands.
Many of our frontier people suffered for want of bread. Corn and wheat crops failed on account of drought and grasshoppers and bread could not be had for love nor money. Our diet was poor indeed, no coffee, tea, no pepper, no spices, no salt, etc., but we made sorghum molasses and used many miserable substitutes for the others.
When my husband donned his jeans suit made out and out by my hands, and wore it to Austin to attend to his business in the Confederate States district court, he said his suit was greatly admired for it beauty and tailoring. Of course this was very flattering to me, and I felt glad that I had been able to be of some little use to my family. I also made a good warm suit for my oldest son who was far from me fighting the battles for our loved Southland, and oh, how glad I was to see my dear children at home warmly clad by my poor effort to make them comfortable and happy. I was furthermore glad that I was able to aid in furnishing some little to feed and clothe some of the boys who were in the army with my son.
I wish to say to you brethren here and now, that all of our eight children and poor servants who were taken from us, have always been good, faithful and true to me as mother and mistress, and that I am surrounded by my dear children and great-grandchildren and a host of good friends, for which I feel thankful to my God.
Mrs. E. Jane Moore