For two and a half centuries Tejanos have lived and ranched on the land of South Texas. This modest book tells the story of one family, the Saenzes, who established Ranchos San Jose and El Fresnillo. Obtaining land grants from the municipality of Mier in Tamaulipas, these settlers crossed the Wild Horse Desert into present-day Duval County in the 1850s and 1860s. Through the simple, direct telling of his family's stories, Andres Saenz lets readers learn about their homes of piedra (stone) and sillares (large blocks of limestone or sandstone), as well as the jacales (thatched-roof log huts) in which people of more modest means lived. Cattle raising, marriages and deaths, feasts and droughts, education, medicine, and domestic arts are all recreated through the words of this descendent. The accounts celebrate a way of life without glamorizing it or distorting the hardships. Those who seek to understand the ranching and ethnic heritage of Texas will enjoy and profit from Early Tejano Ranching.
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