|I closed my last ramble at
Marble Falls. After writing that article, in which I spoke of the
great water power there and what a benefit would be conferred on this
region of country, if some individual or company would place machinery
there of different kinds for various manufacturing purposes, I spent a
night with Mr. Ewing Lacey, a
citizen living near the falls, who informed me that a Californian of
large means is now proposing to buy the lands on both sides of the
river at the property, and of placing various kinds of machinery there
for manufacturing cotton and wool, as well as a merchant mill
establishment. I hope this gentleman, or some other, shall very
soon improve this great water power and thus develop the greatest
natural advantage that I know of in Burnet county, or anywhere else in
this section of the State, I believe. I am sure it will prove a
very great benefit to this county and all the regions round about.
Leaving the neighborhood of Marble Falls, we traveled down the river some three or four miles to Pleasant Valley, the next settlement below the falls. Here I find a large body of fine tillable lands, on both sides of the river, about the mouth of Hamilton Creek, nearly all of which seems to be either in cultivation or enclosed in pastures, as the neighborhood is thickly settled. Mr. Kinser has here a cotton establishment which gins the cotton raised in the valley and surrounding country. The Hay's School House, near the center of the Valley, serves the double purpose of a place of religious worship and of "teaching the young idea how to shoot."
Crossing the river at Eubank's Ford a little below on the south side, I find Double Horn Post Office, kept by Mr. Richter, one of the many thrifty and well-to-do German citizens, which I find in this part of the county. He has been here for nearly twenty years and seems to be in comfortable circumstances. He, like many other Germans, who have grown rich in this county, has a flock of sheep. I suppose that anybody, who will be as industrious and economical as a German, may soon grow rich here with a flock of sheep properly taken care of.
Leaving Double Horn Post Office, I set out for a full exploration of that part of Burnet county lying south of the Colorado River. This is Precinct No. 6 of the county and I find after exploring it fully, that it comprises a territory of country averaging some ten or twelve miles in width, from the river southward to the Blanco line, and about twenty five miles long, from the Llano line on the west, down the river to the Travis county line. Some three or four miles from the Double Horn Post Office, travelling on the county road leading from Burnet to Austin, on Double Horn Creek, we come to Chann's Store and a cotton gin and mill establishment, with steam power. Mr. Hooper also runs a blacksmith shop at this place.
Perhaps three miles further down the county road we come to the Rockvale Church, a large and substantial rock building, the property of the Methodist Church, in which I learn they have regular services, Rev. Mr. South, pastor. The school of the neighborhood is also taught here by Mr. Anderson, a very clever and intelligent gentleman. I regard that community as being highly favored, which enjoys the ministrations of pious and able ministers of the gospel, and the services of competent and worthy teachers. I think such cannot be too highly appreciated.
A short distance from the Rockvale Church stands the Love's Creek Baptist Church, a neat and substantial house, of good size, built of plank, in which there is also held regular services, the Rev. Mr. Talley, pastor. We rarely find two such large and substantial church buildings in a country neighborhood. I believe they are the largest and best church buildings I know of in the whole county. They certainly speak well for the intelligence and liberality of this community. Somehow, Mr. Editor, I have gotten the idea that even a stranger can form a correct opinion of a community, as to the character of its population in the morals, intelligence and liberality; indeed, as to all that pertains to an enlightened civilization, by seeing its school houses and churches, and witnessing the exercises of the one, and attending the services of the others.
The Fowler and Yett neighborhood certainly present a fair showing judging from the standard laid down above, This seems to be one of the best neighborhoods in the county. Here I found some of the finest springs of water; improved in the most elegant manner, and many country residences and farm improvements of a superior character. What a nice and convenient arrangement at a country residence to have good and safe fencing around the farm and lots, the yard and garden neatly enclosed, all with good gates, and they with simple, yet safe fastenings. Plenty of fruit and shade trees planted about the yard and premises generally. Convenient and comfortable arrangements about the barn lots for stock of different kinds, a good well or cistern in or about the back gallery of the house, where there is no spring, and a well or cistern at the barn or some where in the lot for watering stock. All these I have seen at country residences here, and regard them as evidence of industry and good management, which pays very well, indeed id one of the very best investments of labor, and the time required to make them.
At how many farms do we find such poor fences that their stock nearly destroy their crops. There are slip gaps and draw bars instead of gates for going in and out, or if you find a gate at all it is perhaps made by boring a few holes in a couple of short rails or some such sticks and putting round poles in them, then hanging it with a rawhide tug and fastened by tying it with an old rope or a trace chain.
One of the nicest places I have seen in this part of the county is that of Capt Simpson, and oh! such a spring and spring house in the yard. How cool and refreshing was the water on the warm day I was there. What nice, cool pans and buckets of milk and butter were sitting on beds of clean gravel or on flat rocks with the clear, cool water flowing around them, and half way up their sides, and then the bold branch flowing across the back yard into the garden, irrigating vegetables, fruit trees, grapevines, strawberry beds, etc.., etc., and out into the field below to water the sweet potatoes, the corn and the tobacco the old gentleman raises for his own use, which was growing finely.
Oh! the grapes, the grapes, Capt. Simpson has, and so fine, and by the way, Mr. Editor, why don't everybody have grapes? It is the easiest thing in the world almost to have any amount of them, all over the woods, in all the valleys, along the creeks and branches as well as on the river. Over the hills and mountains to their very tops there are thousands of wild grapes growing in the most thrifty manner. It is a very easy and simple process to cut these vines off near the ground and graft time grapes of the different varieties into them, and then in one or two years, you have any amount of the very best grapes.
I know of several persons who grafted improved grapevines into wild ones last year, and now have fine grapes growing on these vines by the wagon load. I would refer any person who may wish information on this subject to Rev. Hoover, of Hoover's Valley, and Dr. Thorpe, of Liberty Hill, Williamson county, both of whom have quantities of fine improved grapes growing from grafts put into wild stocks last year.