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it was burned over once a year, in winter or early spring, consequently the undergrowth was kept down, and grass in summer was from one to two feet high, with nothing to obstruct the view but the trunks of the large trees. Many places a deer, or turkey could be seen a distance of half a mile. The most beautiful country I have ever seen, and the best. We had good land, timber, water, range and game, five advantages I have never seen elsewhere. The country abounded in game -- deer, turkey, also varmints, or beasts of prey, such as bear, wolves, wild cats and panthers. Racoons and opossums were numerous, too.

As above stated, we settled in the wild wood; our nearest neighbor being one and a half miles away, and very few in the country at all.

As late as it was when we arrived, my Father and servant, Dock, after building some rude cabins for us to live in, cleared a piece of ground, planted and raised a tolerably good crop of corn, potatoes, melons, etc.

The fall of A. D. 1851, I spent some of my time at school -- teacher, Mr. John H. Lamb. I walked, together with my brother and sisters, about 3 miles, along a dim path, a tree being blazed occasionally to guide us in the way. This my first schooling. The facilities were so far inferior to the present, that I would like to digress long enough to draw the contrast. Instead of the graduate in his comfortable school building, with blackboards, quadrant and globes, we had a teacher fully competent to teach up to simple interest, in a log cabin, cracks rarely lined, seats made of slabs, no back. This was the opportunity of the pioneer of Texas for an education.

During the year A. D. 1851, Dorothy Anna, one of twins, an infant sister died -- the first person I had ever seen die. I had seen one corpse before, a little boy, Alonzo King, in Shelby County; but had never seen an open grave, or anyone buried before, up to that time. I had never had any fears of death; afterwards I became afraid to be alone, especially away from my Mother. I entertained an idea that she could save me; an idea that remained with me, but in a less degree, throughout her life.

The fall of A. D. 1852, I spent a part of my time at school -- the facilities about the same as before, nothing better or worse, except the school house was not more than half so far away, and the teacher Mr. Anthony Lamb (brother of the above) kept better order.

I now remember, after going to school sometime, I caught the whooping cough at a public dinner. All younger than myself had it. Sallie and Nancy, the latter (other twin) died. A short time before this, an infant brother, Benjamin Franklin, died of criop. After a long convalescence, my sister and I resumed our school again.

In the winter of 1852 and 1853, my uncle, John H. Beaty, moved out from the state of Tennessee. They were the first relatives I had ever seen (save our own family). I anticipated a happy meeting, but alas! They had come from a country of fashion and schools, and made sport of

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Life of John C. Porter and Sketch of His Experiences in the Civil War

John C. Porter 1874