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In imagination reverting again to those bygone scenes, I shall endeavor to describe briefly some of the conditions which surrounded the old-time Texas ranchman, his peculiarities and his customs. The country at large was sparsely settled. In a majority of the counties there was barely sufficient population for county organization. The largest and, in most instances, the only town in the county, was the county seat village, with its rock or lumber court house, which was rarely of two stories, and near by, as an adjunct, a one-cell rock or lumber jail. Around the public square were built the few unpretentious storehouses, that flaunted the proverbial signs, "Dry Goods and Grocers," or "Dry Goods, Boots and Shoes," as the case might be. That the weaknesses as well as the social predelictions of the sturdy citizenship might be readily and conveniently catered to, a saloon or perhaps several, could always be found on or near the public square. Clustered about the commercial center, and growing further apart as the distance increased, were private residences which went to make up the hamlet. "After the court house and jail, the hotel— generally a two-story building— was considered the most important, as it was frequently the most imposing structure in the village. In addition to the official and business edifices, there was always a well-constructed school house (there were no free schools in those days) and a commodious, comfortable church house at convenient distances. I purposely use church house in the singular, for in the days under consideration the tabernacle of the Most High was a union structure, erected by the joint contributions of the various and divergent church members, as well as of philanthropic citizens who made no "professions," and in which those pioneer men and women with their families, irrespective of denomination, met together with good and honest hearts and worshiped God in spirit and in truth.
Such, in brief, was the frontier village. Beyond its