TEXAS - The Place to Live
The Earliest Book on Texas Ranching
A little while back we came upon a book we had never heard of.
And what a book it was.
The author obviously had extensive experience in raising and driving cattle in Texas. The book was a guide, written for people in the older parts of the country. Its purpose was to tell folks exactly what they would need to know in order to settle in Texas and take up the business of raising cattle.
It was detailed.
It was vivid.
And it was early, published in 1860.
One of the first things that struck us was who the author had been working with. Though he didn't mention the name, it was obvious. When given the facts that his fellow cattle raiser was an Irishman who got his start making saddletrees and was living on the San Antonio River, it could be none other than Thomas O'Connor.
So why was a trove of in-depth information on this important part of our history so rare and little known?
The question was answered by the date of publication, 1860. The author, though he didn't know it, could not have picked a worse time to write a book for Northerners about coming to Texas to make their fortunes.
Very few were sold and therefore very few survive. In fact, we could only locate four copies in libraries worldwide, and not a single copy has been sold at auction in the last fifty years.
That explained the rarity, but who was the anonymous star-crossed author?
We might never have found out had we not found a remainder catalog from 1876. Remainders are books that publishers have been unable to sell and desperately want to be rid of. This book was listed, and the publisher had provided a name.
The voice crying in the wilderness, "Make your way in Texas!" was that of Talcott F. Buck.
We were able to learn that Mr. Buck, originally from New York, had seen the world. He had been to Africa, Central America and even Australia. When he set foot on Texas soil in 1853, he had found his promised land.
After working and living here for six years, he was and evangelist for Texas, screaming to the world:
"Pull up stakes and start for the Lone Star Land!"
Horace Greeley had famously told the youth of that era, "Go West, young man."
Talcott Buck told them what to do and what they would find when they got here.
In TEXAS: The Place to Live he covers:
- Cattle Raising
- Horse and Mule Raising
- Breaking Texas Horses - "A wild and exciting business."
- Stock Driving
- Camping and Storytelling
- Catching Wild Cattle
- Hog Raising
- Sheep Raising and Wool Growing
- Importation and Improvement of Stock
- Goats - Alpaca Sheep - Camels - Jacks & Jennets - Dogs - Fowls
- The Country (its vegetables, fruits, timber, flowers, dwellings and building materials, cisterns, climate and health, Northers, rivers, seaport and interior towns, etc.)
- Fish, Oysters, Shrimp & Turtles
- Game Animals Hunted
- Game Birds Hunted
- Merchants and Planters
- Cattle Shipping
- Beef Packing
- Speculation: Horses, Mules, etc.
- Land Speculation
- Wool and Sheep Speculation
- Teachers, Schools, Churches, Ministers, etc.
- Kinds of Labor in Demand
- Who and How to Go
- The Beauties of Our Land
- Different Routes to Texas
- How to Find a Location
- Emigrants' Camp
There's so much interesting content in this book I can't begin to tell you all about it.
It's the most complete first-hand look at the early days of the cattle industry in Texas ever published.
It was a time when if you worked cattle you were called a driver or a vaquero, because nobody had heard the word "cowboy."
- TEXAS - The Place to Live by Talcott Buck
- Standard Edition Hardcover
- Satin Finish Jacket
- 327 pages
- Shipping for your entire order is 5 dollars, anywhere in the United States.
- Your book will be packed the old fashioned way, in an actual box. No cheap book mailers.
We will gladly buy it back if you decide you don't want it anymore. There's no time limit on that.