Anecdotes and history of an East Texas town, with a corncob-pipe theme.
Nostalgia and old-fashioned community spirit rule in the series of anecdotes about the lives and times of the 150 farming and small-business people who lived in Fairdale, Texas. Its lifespan was little more than a century before it disappeared under the waters of the Toledo Bend Reservoir in the 1960s. Oglesbee (San Augustine County, 2010) portrays the town’s social, economic and daily life during the early 20th century, based on reminiscences of residents and their descendants. It was hard going splitting wood, plowing by mule, nurturing crops threatened by the vagaries of nature, tending cattle and worrying about feeding a large family. An iron will, a belief in God and a cheerful community spirit seemed to pull everyone through. Livestock and domestic animals were almost part of the family. Bossy, one family’s cow, had the habit of munching on wild onions and bitter weeds, which made her milk undrinkable. Old Devil, a mule, possessed a cantankerous spirit but reliably pulled the plow and did the heavy lifting around the farm. Snip and Goode, two faithful dogs, showed astonishing instinct in looking after a herd of cows one night when a farmer was too ill to move. Children grew up surrounded by nature, amusing and enjoying themselves, without any of the luxuries available to big-city families. Fairdale’s claim to lasting fame is a possible/probable link with Aaron Burr, the U.S. vice president under Thomas Jefferson. Oglesbee researched the link meticulously (many of the town’s inhabitants were named Burr). A question that arises in the mind of the cynical reader is whether all the folk in the town were so openhearted and full of good spirit. Not a breath of scandal touches the chronicle. “No one knows where this place is but God and us,” is the comment of one former citizen. That is about the best epitaph any small town can have.
A golden-hued, folksy account of a generous farming community.