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edges crumble and wash off, and fall into the crevices, and thus make the vicinity of a crack lower than the surrounding surface, while the space between two neighboring cracks becomes comparatively elevated.  When the ground dries again the water lies longest on the low part, or furrow, which again becomes hard baked, and again cracks, and thus each successive season encreases the phenomenon, until the whole extent of that kind of soil becomes furrowed, as if by the hand of man.

We left Cummins' at 4 o'clock, intending to reach San Felipe, but mistook the crossing place, and after going down Mile [Mill] Creek some two miles, found our error and returned.  It being then near sunset, we resolved to remain till morning.

Sat up until 12 o'clock writing and listening to Cummins talk, who, although illiterate, is a shrewd man, who has seen much of life, and observed things attentively.  He first came to Texas in 1806, in Burr's army.  He afterwards visited it a-trading, and has been settled here since 1824.  Owns his own headright, those of his mother and two brothers, and a hacienda of five leagues, where he now resides; is a bachelor, and his house is kept by a maiden sister, now some thirty odd years old, who keeps it well; everything is in plenty and of good kind.  He values the place where he lives at $1 per acre, and his headright on the San Bernard at $2 per acre.[35]  Says the prairie lands over which we have passed will produce a bale of cotton to the acre, and thirty to forty bushels of corn; thinks the lands nearer the coast more fertile, which, together with their greater facilities of transportation to market, makes them doubly valuable.  His observations on Texian affairs, and his delineation of the prominent men, and parties of the State, were shrewd and interesting; thinks well of Austin; execrates the capitulation of Bexar; is not in favor of independence; condemns the provisional government; says Wharton and Austin are the heads of opposing parties; thinks Wharton ambitious and selfish; says he openly abused Austin before they went to the U. S., and he is much pleased to find them acting amicably together.

Tuesday, February 16, 1836

Left Cummins' at 9 o'clock.  Crossed Mill Creek on a log, and drove the horses through the stream, which was still too high to ford.  The road was wet and miry; did not reach San Felipe until 12 o'clock.  Waited on Governor Smith immediately.  Was very courteously received.  Sherman reported his company and received his command.  Dr. Herndon found that Doctor Richardson had resigned the office of Surgeon General, and he resolved to return to the United States again immediately -- that is, to Mississippi.  So he and Sherman returned forthwith to Cummins', in company with a Mr. Phillips from Mobile, who has been buying land here, and is now returning to the U. S., but who will return to Texas


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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