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exhibit the appearance of the most extensive and beautiful wheat fields.  Herds of cattle and some sheep begin to appear.

The practice of annually burning the woods, I have no doubt, is, in part at least, the cause of the scarcity of timber.  Almost all the woods we have passed through being stunted and scraggy black jack and hickory, very sparse, and little or no undergrowth.  Some few oaks and pines grow to a large size, but generally the trees on the uplands have the appearance of disease.  Many of them have the hard, irony appearance mentioned by Irving as characterizing the cross timbers.  Query, may not these be the running out of the cross timbers?  They cross the Red River about the mouth of the False Washita, and run on southward, about in this longitude.  May not the causes which produced them extend partially this far south?[22]

Wednesday, February 10, 1836

Rose early, intending to give our horses a good feed, take an early breakfast and make a good start.  But the rascal who had in a manner cheated us into his house last night to supper, it seems, took offense at our not lodging with him, and now refused to give us breakfast, on the plea of the sickness of his wife and child.  All a flam.  After a while Aldridge had breakfast got for us, but his family were really sick, and it delayed our departure until almost 9 o'clock.  Supper, 25 cents; mending greatcoat, 25 cents; lodging, horse and breakfast, 75 cents.  Aldridge rode with us a few miles, and was very civil.  He is a Yankee; had been a settler at Fort Towson for some years.  Came here and took the place he lives on as a headright.  Intends planting and improving his place.

We were also joined at Aldridge's by a Mr. Whitely, who is going to Washington to attend the court which is to sit there on the fifteenth.  He has business in A-----.  He, too, is a Yankee, and came to this country with Aldridge.  Took one-fourth league for his headright, he being a bachelor, and has bought more.  Bought a league from a Mexican for $400, which he showed as we rode through it.  It is pretty looking land; offers it for 50 cents per acre.

Leaving Aldridge's, in about three miles we passed the Mustang Prairie, the largest yet seen, being about ----- miles[23]  across, and very beautiful, extending up the country as far as could be seen.  About 2 o'clock we crossed the Trinity, which we approached through a boggy, miry, nasty prairie, or rather marsh, of several miles extent, which is subject to overflow when the river is high.  The Trinity is here about fifty yards wide, and runs rapidly between steep banks, some twenty or twenty-five feet above the present stage of the river, which is somewhat up.  Crossed in a flat.  The ferry is owned by a Mr. Robbins, who lives on the west bank, and has got a town laid off there.  A large number of towns


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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