Forest McNeir of Texas
What Life Was Like
I've been yacking about this book since I first read it two decades ago.
Most of us never got the chance to talk to anyone who grew up in Texas before electricity and the internal combustion engine. And most of us don't have writings left behind by our ancestors telling us how they lived. That's why books like this are treasures.
Forest McNeir (1875-1957) grew up at Smith Point on Galveston Bay in Chambers county. He actually drew the map on the cover, showing that world he grew up in. It was drawn and the book written the year before he died.
"I have written the story of my life as a record for my children and their children, and for anybody else who may find something interesting in it. I started writing it after I got to be eighty years old, or old enough, I thought, to tell it."
A Vanished World
"I have written a good deal about when I was growing up in Texas over half a century ago because those times have vanished forever, and not many people alive today have any idea of what life was like then. If that part of the story sounds like ancient history, that's because it is. Even the weather was different then and I can prove it!"
Forest McNeir was still boy when his father died. It fell to him to help take care of his his mother, grandmother, and little brother. Something he mostly did with his shotgun.
"By the time I was ten years old I had killed enough ducks to buy my little brother a double barrel muzzle-loader shotgun for three dollars."
Once they were both equipped, Forest and his brother Paschal were acknowledged far and wide as the equal of grown men when it came to putting dinner on the table.
"It was always boom or bust with us. Most of the time our guns supplied the boom to keep us from going bust."
It wasn't just hunting. The McNeir boys took every opportunity to earn a buck.
"In the late spring and early fall we ran oyster shell up to Houston. Part of it went to pave Harrisburg Road, which was the first paved road in Texas. Sometimes we stopped at the big islands in the San Jacinto River to pick wild red peppers for a dollar a gallon."
Forest went on to become a builder in Houston. Some of the houses he built are still standing in Houston's fine old neighborhoods
But he never gave up shooting. He won gold in trap shooting at the 1920 Olympics. He tells you all about that. (He was inducted into the Trap Shooting Hall of Fame posthumously.)
Only one batch was printed back in 1956. They are now hard to find, and quite expensive in good condition.
We are proud to bring it back to life for today's Texans.
- Forest McNeir of Texas
- 370 pages
- Satin Finish Jacket