TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 

On The Way To Texas
And
Stopping off a time or two

by Nolan Maxie
Nolan Maxie

Splitting rails to build a fence was extremely hard work. But honestly I have to tell you, all work during the early days of this country was Ďback breakingí hard. Everything done to produce food, fiber and shelter involved manual labor, long before the invention of power tools. And the routine daily chores of cutting, splitting, chopping or sawing wood was highly labor intensive. It was very physical; considered a manís domain and took a strong manís muscle.

Soon after the Civil War was over; along about 1867 - Ď68, my great grandfather, John Bruin Maxey, arrived by horseback in NE Texas from Itawamba County Mississippi. Born in 1848, he was now a strong young man of robust physical ability. Apparently he left all other family members behind in Mississippi. I am not aware of others coming to Cass County with him.

In the early 1870's he entered a countywide rail splitting contest. And he won! The following year he entered the same contest again. And he won again! Rail Splitting Champion two years in a row! I know he and his family must have been pretty proud to hold that distinction.

Rail splitting was mostly done with a double bit chop axe. Although some men may have used a broad axe. Smooth oak logs without many knots, from 12 to 14 feet long, some maybe 16 feet, were chosen to be split. A straight grain in the wood splits much, much easier. Knots where tree limbs once were only make it harder to split. A large log may be split into 8 to10 rails. For fencing, the rails are taken and stacked about 6 to 8 rails high with the ends woven together and placed is a zig-zag row, forming a fence. Stacking more rails on top can make the fence higher.

Grandfather John Bruin died in 1877 of pneumonia at the early age of twenty nine. He left a wife, one son, (e.i; my grandfather, David Alfred Maxey-Maxie) and two daughters in Cass County. Of his parents and family he had left behind near Fulton, Mississippi, many still remain there today.

His (our) forefathers had migrated over the years from Virginia through Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama into Mississippi. Our ancestor, Jesse Maxey, came out of Virginia in 1780 soon after the American Revolutionary War ended. After coming through the Cumberland Gap and down the Cumberland River, he helped establish and set up Fort Nashboro. That was the leading edge of the American Western Frontier which had not yet reached the Mississippi River. The fort later turned into Nashville, Tennessee.

Jesse was scalped by Indians in1788 and left for dead on what today is the site of the Tennessee State Capitol Building. But he survived and lived another twenty years, to 1808 at age 58 years.

This brief is only a short glimpse of the hard times all our frontier forefathers and families had in settling this great land. It wasnít easy! It involved hard work and long hours. Iíve heard my dad tell of working from sun to sun; meaning they worked from sun-up to sun-down. And, of how I, a fourth generation Texan, came to be in Texas. Iím mighty glad I finally made it here, too.

© Nolan Maxie
"Nolan Maxie"
August 1, 2010 Column
piddlinacres@consolidated.net

Related Topics:
Texas | Online Magazine | Columns | Texas Town List

ALL ABOUT TEXAS:
PEOPLE >
PLACES >
THINGS >
TE Online Magazine >
 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: August 1, 2010