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where we again overtook our Tennessee friends, who had again got the start of us in the morning.  Here is a store kept by Major Wm. Lewis, from Tennessee, who weighs 248 pounds.  I weighed without any coat on 153; I had, however, just eaten breakfast, and had on thick overshoes, which I suppose equal to the odd three pounds, 150 being my maximum.  Four miles further on crossed Hurricane Bayou,[20]  a small stream with very steep banks.  Six miles further brought us to Henry Master's, where our Tennessee friends parted from us.  They went to the right, to examine the lands on the Trinity.  Ten miles further arrived at Colin Aldridge's, on the Salado, or Saline, called also Caney Creek.[21]  Aldridge was not at home, and a Machanick named Little, who occupied a cabin close by, told us all the family was sick with meazles, but he could accommodate us, and we could get nothing further on the road for our horses.  For their sake we stopt, and had them well fed with Aldridge's fodder and corn.  Little's whole establishment consisted of a miserable hut about sixteen feet square, which was kitchen, parlor, chamber, meat house, etc.  There were two beds, and he had a wife and four children.  The youngest sick with measles.  Yet here he was to lodge us.  He gave us a supper of very coarse fried bacon and pork, six boiled eggs, tolerable coffee, but no cream or milk, Indian pone, with so much grease in it that I could not eat it.  I asked for cold bread, which fortunately they had, without shortening.  I ate heartily but unhappily, gave offense, as I afterwards learned, by criticising the boiling of the eggs.  In the meantime Aldridge came home, came over, and invited us to his house, which also consisted of but one room, but a large one.  There were here only two beds, which were occupied by himself and wife, another woman, and several children, all sick with measles.  A comfortable bed was spread for us on the floor, where I should have rested well but for the crying of the poor children, who were very restless.  A stout Negro fellow also slept on the floor near us, sick with measles.  The house was so open that I could see the stars through the appertures.

Supper and lodging and horse at McLean's, 75 cents; breakfast and horse at J. Master's, 50 cents.

The lands today have been improving in appearance; their beauty is such as to call forth continual exclamations from our party.  We begin to see a good deal of prairie, and about noon today enjoyed the sight of a prairie on fire.  It was not extensive, but driven by a strong south wind through the dry prairie grass it was not without sublimity, and enabled us to form a clear idea of what the same phenomena would be on a large scale.

The settlers regularly burn both prairies and woods at this season.  Their object is to clear the surface of dry grass and leaves, to enable the cattle the sooner to get at the young grass, which immediately springs up.  It is now very green on those parts which have been some days burnt.  Some of the prairies


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas