May 25, 1905
WRITTEN BY FRANK LOYD.
MR. EDITOR: Being requested by so many to write something of the sunny South, if you will give me a little space in your paper I will be as brief as possible. Of course if I should even tell the important things I saw and learned it would consume the entire space of several issues. Realizing this I shall only mention a few facts that might be of some interest.
Since leaving Kentucky the latter part of 1904, I have traveled about thirty-two thousand miles, not only the southern states and territories but in old Mexico. I have traveled the plains of Texas and New Mexico and also viewed the plains and mountains of Old Mexico. Receiving a traveling commission I made Houston, Tex. my headquarters. While at Houston I met my old friends and townsmen, Walker, Glenn, Flanary and others, who left Crittenden county to make their fortune in the Southwest. I found S. W. Walker not only benefitted [sic] financially and physically, but spiritually. I came to the conclusion that Sam has concluded to prepare himself to imitate his father in the ministerial work. Sam and his son Oda both have good positions with the Houston Drug company, probably the largest wholesale drug company in the State. Now if Sam can not benefit them physically he will turn his spiritual searchlight on them.
Houston is a beautiful city of some 75,000 people and being the second city in the state, and is claimed by the best posted men that in three years it will be larger than San Antonio, the largest at present. I know of no city in the Union that is growing faster than Houston, Tex. So many people ask me about Texas, and what I thought of them going there, to look for a home, etc. Now as I have traveled about twenty thousand miles in Texas, and been in every town of any importance, I will say that is too broad a question, that you will have to confine your question to some particular part of the State.
While Texas borders for several hundred miles on the gulf she extends as far north as Fulton, Kentucky, and being twelve hundred miles east and west, she has her rich valleys, also her dry sandy deserts, that is worthless; she has the climate and soil to produce everything grown in the Union.
The same questions are asked me about Old Mexico; and if you wish to follow mining I know of no better place to pitch your tent than in Old Mexico. But as to farming, but little of its barren country is suitable only the bottom land and land that can be irrigated is suitable for farming.
Land that can not be irrigated is unfit for anything except to the half civilized Indians and Mexicans, who now own it, and their burrows; yet the two Mexicos and Texas can not be surpassed for beautiful sceneries, and no one enjoys viewing beautiful nature more than your writer.
Often as we would be traveling over the barren prairies we would see the wolf, deer, antelope and bear as they would be walking lazily along and our horse would pass them very quickly.
One of the most beautiful scenes in the southwest is the Pecos bridge on the Pecos river. The train always stops on the center of the bridge for the passengers to get out and view the beautiful scenery. Your writer crossed it a number of times but never failed to go out with the rest, to view the beautiful scenery below us. It is highest bridge in America and second highest in the world, being 2,180 feet long and 321 feet high above water. Just imagine yourself 321 feet in the air.
I will now give a sketch of the most interesting gathering I attended while in Texas and Old Mexico. On the 22d day of February, it being Washington's birthday, and a holiday in the United States, Mexico agreed to join hands with Texas in making it the greatest day in the history of the "gate cities," Laredo, Texas, and New Laredo, Mexico, opposite each other on the Rio Grande, a small, shallow river, separating the United States from Mexico. On that day the best roping contest ever seen in Texas was to take place. It was sure a "red letter" day. Never in their history has the two gate cities conducted a celebration with more festive splendor nor succeeded in carrying out their ambitious designs with such complete fullness and grandness. I never witnessed such scenes as upon that day in the two cities. In the heat of the moment their citizens felt that they were great. Their guests were astonished at what was set before them and all the awakened senses strung to a feverish excitement, and would not let the tire eyelids to close in sleep. To narrate a clear story would puzzle my mind. They came not singly but trooped abreast. They were on a hurrah. King Carnival decreed for madness and misrule sharing the throne proclaimed a ban against order. Every post was in fete attire; the air was filled with confetti like snow, bunting covered the houses in brilliant profusion of parti-colors. Both cities swarmed with hordes of visitors and dealt out to them all the things the pleasure-seekers were after, a high old time. Your writer for future reference jotted down some of the most important scenes, which I will try to describe.
All the morning special trains were rolling in loaded with sight-seers, from the States and Mexico. It appeared that the sides of both cities would spring out and burst from the number of people overcrowding into them. They found plazas where the bands from both republics discoursed music from decorated and banner-hung kiosks. The Twenty-eighth Infantry band from Fort Sam Houston gave a concert on the parade ground of Fort McIntosh. the Twenty-third Battalion Calvary band from Monterey, Mexico, which is one of the finest in the republic, was ordered there by Secretary of War Mena, by special request of Gen. Diaz, President of Mexico. The Brenham celebrated band, the New Laredo band and several others were present. There was no want of music to please each particular taste. Explosive fireworks incessantly bombarded the firmament from housetops and public squares. Yet those wanting to see other amusements could go over the bridge across the Rio Grande and find the Midway, with Ferris wheel and side shows galore. A Mexican company put on the nativity at a quaint little chapel, and attracted crowds of people who were anxious to see for once in their life that almost extinct remnant of the early religious drama, more primitive than the famous Passion play of Oberammergau and as old as the blessed story itself.
And last, and as well patronized, that quaint Mexican border custom rarely seen anywhere in the interior, and fast decaying on the frontier, the Mexican fiesta, in all its delicious, unique phrases, and with a glory all its own, but shorn of its strength, the roulette table; keno and monte, took in their share of visitors and was a scene of humanity by full measure, pressed down and trickling over at the top.
Source: Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, May 25, 1905, Image 3 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]