New PDF release: Built in Texas

By Texas Folklore Society

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But the log house, as romantic as it might seem to be now, was not so to the people of the settled and civilized South who had graduated to houses of brick and milled lumber. " The song begins with a warning about Texans generally, about their uncouth manners and dress, and then describes the living conditions. They'll take you to a house with hewed log walls, And it ain't got no windows at all, An old board roof and a puncheon floor, It's that way all Texas o'er. It's that way all Texas o'er. The journals of early Texans give an even more graphic description of the folk building of the early settlers, many of whom had never built any kind of housing before.

Texas is peculiarly suited for the invasion of immigrants from all directions. From the northeast came the Scotch-Irish. Across the Southern states came the English, Scots, and Irish who had earlier left Virginia and the Carolinas after completing their indentures. Into Galveston and Indianola came Germanic and Slavic people from Europe. And from the south across the Rio Grande came the Mexicans, many of whom were on Texas soil before the outlanders even thought of coming to the state. Each group brought its own styles and methods of building, and each adapted the styles to the material at hand and began building to keep off the rain and to cope with the wild, new land.

A wooden framework to provide general shape to the structure was retained. 4 Some decomposed catted chimneys examined by this author in East Texas are nothing but rained-smoothed mounds of clay. When the Tidewater family found itself in need of more space another room was added to the basic square house on the end opposite the chimney. The new room, normally smaller than the other, was designated the "parlor," while the large room continued to be called the "hall" as it had been ever since medieval times.

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