Women on the Texas Frontier
An observer in early Texas declared that “Texas is Heavenfor men and dogs, but Hell for women and oxen.” Why would anyone make such a statement? What was the situation that would give rise to such a comment?
Early Texas was a place blessed beyond all others for the pleasures of the nineteenth century male. Game was plentiful and hunting was the most popular pastime of frontier men. The land was so rich that all the farmer had to do to provide the basic necessities for his family was to throw some seed where he had plowed, and hunt with his dogs until time to harvest the crop. According to one visitor in 1853, the richness of Texas led many good men to become lazy and “shiftless”.
But the richness of the land only added to the work of the female folk. As the ambition of the men waned because of their luxury of ready meat and corn, the women found they often had more work to do. Duties of everyday were clearly divided among the sexes. Men were loath to do “women’s work” while women had to do “men’s work” because the men were often gone.
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