Horses, Colts & Mules — East Texas Trading circa early 1900’s

G.M.C. Massey walking on sidewalkContinuing our run of my Grandfather’s guest posts about horse trading, taken from his memoirs of rural life east Texas during the late 19th and early 20th Century.

And at another time I had bought a man’s entire crop Cotton, Water melons, wagon and team, together with an old horse, and his hogs; And after I had gathered the crops, and sold everything that would sell; and had paid off all the outstanding Indebtedness, I still had the old horse left; So one Saturday, we were going to Yantis as usual, and I tied that old horse behind the wagon, and took him along, And my Father-in-law asked me what did I think that I was going to do with that old horse, And I told him that if I got a chance, that I was going to deal him off to some one while he is able to graze, and pull a plow. So as usual I found an old horse trader there, and he was in need of something to help pull a wagon. I told him that he did not need to go any further, for I had just that, So I showed him my old horse. And he said that if I could find something that he had that I would trade him for; that he would try to trade with me, As the old horse was old but that he could use him.

I looked over what he had, and finally I found a big boned colt about a year old, and about as poor as the old horse, And I told the old man that if he did not think too much of that old colt that we might deal on them; and he said that if I wanted the colt for the old horse; To loose him and take him along; and that is Just what I did.

Then my father-in-law began laughing at me, and if ever a fellow got a roasting; I did. But I took him home and turned him in a good oat pasture, and there is where he spent his days, and I always took him out and put him the lot at night where he could get plenty water, and salt and some dry hay; And by spring, He was able to pull a plow, and I sold him to a fellow to make a crop with, and rented him 15 acres of land to put in cotton, and when the fellow had finished the making of the crop; He came to me and said that he owed $25.00 at town, and if I would take that debt, and give him $15 dollars; that was all that he would ask me to do ; to take the horse and relieve him of that debt. And I told him that he had another trade with me. The horse had been well treated, and was growing fine, and that fall I gathered six bales of cotton, and when I went to teach that winter, I told wife that she and the children could have what they could get out there, and I thought that they might get a bale yet, and they did.

Well that left the colt still mine, and he was growing fast, and by that next fall He was a real horse, and as I was getting to town there one Saturday morning, I was working him to a Buggy, and he was real gentle I met a man that the horse just suited, and he bantered me to buy him, and I just told him that he just suited me too. But that I would sell him to him for $150.00 And he said that he would like to trade me some young mules for him; and he said that there was two horse, and one mare mule and that they were about 18 months of age, and that they were unbroken. Well I went and looked at the mules, and told him that I would trade with him If he would let me have the mules at $75.00 each. He said that he wanted $100.00 each for them, and made as if he did not intend to trade with me, And I told him that the horse suited me too well, for me to do any better than I had offered, and beside that; It would leave me without any way of getting around, and I just believed that I would withdraw my offer for that reason.

I left him at that, and he came back to me that evening and begged me to go ahead and trade with him. And I held out till he came back the third time and this time he offered to trade for $50.00; And I told him to put them in my pasture, and get the horse after that, and he agreed, So I was afoot again. So what?

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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