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Posted: 2/17/2021 12:55:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2021 12:55:39 PM EDT by Eastwood123]
Other than coal which would only likely have been available in or near a town that was along a rail line, what did others use for heat?  Buffalo chips?  Or settle near some near a creek or draw where there were at least a few scraggly trees to use?
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 2:08:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2021 2:08:46 PM EDT by ARTNC10]
Being that in that time frame there wasn't a huge population of people to support in west Texas, there was probably enough wood within wagon range to collect for a reasonable fire in the size houses and cabins prevalent then.  Now with morons trying to have massive square footage in a home with two or few people, some may be seeing the error of their ways.

On the buffalo chip deal, I have no experience with buffalo chips, but I do have an interesting experience with cow chips.  Me and a buddy went on a backpacking trip to southern Utah in my pickup with pickup camper.  We camped by the Henry mountains in a place that didn't have any firewood to speak of, but we were near a water hole on BLM land where a lot of cattle were run.  

For fun we built a fire with some dead sagebrush and started trying to burn dry cow patties...they were everywhere.  They burned like a mofo and oddly didn't have much smell.  It was awesome.  I'd post a pic of the blazing inferno, but it was on 35mm film...LOL!  I'd assume buffalo chips would do the same.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 4:47:25 PM EDT
In the 1880s people prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. Since nearly all Texans used either wood, coal or oil as a heat source for cooking and staying warm it meant just throwing extra material onto the fire.

Back then in Texas the land was a less populated place and the demands on it were few.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 6:57:45 PM EDT
My family ranched from 1892 in Archer County, roughly 110 miles west of Ft Worth.  The old 2 story wooden home, built in 1890's, no fireplaces were built, all heating/cooking was done on 1 huge iron kitchen stove and the 4 bedrooms/2 bathrooms shared 2 other iron stoves, the only fuel was Mesquite wood.  Lamps/lanterns were oil, kerosene.  Water was well-drawn by hand or by bucket from creek.  A diesel generator was used in the barn from the 30's on.  The only time I can recall cow chips being burned by my grandfather was when branding needed to be done and there was no wood at hand.  Many rural areas did not electrify until Lydon Johnson's time as a Congressman from the late-30's on and you can see it in the cemetery stones across Texas, folks died before 2 years of age or lived until their 80's with very little in between.

Link Posted: 2/17/2021 8:48:11 PM EDT
My grandpa was a farmer and didn’t believe in spending money on frivolous things like electricity or indoor plumbing.  Heat was a wood burning stove in the living area and there was a wood burning stove/oven in the kitchen.  He usually burned cedar because it was plentiful and easy to get.  Sometimes used oak. Still remember spending some winter days in that house. Wake up to the smell of smoke, bacon, and coffee.  

The house was built in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It’s still standing.  Sort of.  Small living area.  Kitchen barely big enough for the stove. 2 small bedrooms on first floor and 1 on the second floor.  That was my Dad’s room when he was a boy. The stairs to the first floor ended right at the stove. Had to be very careful coming down.
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 10:38:17 AM EDT
My mother was born in a little village outside of Hays, KS, in 1921.  This is an area of rolling prairie with very little wood available to burn for fuel.

As a small child it was her job to take a burlap “tow sack” and collect dried cattle manure to be burned in the stove for cooking.  Dried manure burns hot and cleanly.

Mom was 9th of 16 children born into that Volga German family.  Grandma cooked a lot, and she lived to be 103.
Link Posted: 2/26/2021 12:38:30 AM EDT
I remember in the mid to late '60s of heating bricks in the fireplace, rapping them in news paper and placing them under the covers at the foot of the bed.  You might of woke up cold but you were able to start off with a good sleep.  its also surprising how much heat a wood burning stove will put out with very little wood.
Link Posted: 2/26/2021 2:35:28 PM EDT
I thought mesquite trees were damn near everywhere.

My grandfather had a 125 acre farm in Hill County, rolling hills with not much else. He was constantly fighting and uprooting mesquite trees. Guess what got cut up for firewood? It pops but burns hot.

He had an old US Army wood stove like this one.

Attachment Attached File

The body was steel and rusted out, but his brother-in-law owned a welding fabrication shop, and they rolled a new body for it and they fitted the cast iron parts to it.

My dad (72) is the oldest of nine kids, he said it got so cold one year, they brought all the mattresses into the main room of the house with that stove and they slept there. My grandfather kept it stoked red hot. Probably would have been in the 1950's. Dad couldn't remember if they had indoor plumbing yet or not, so no pipes to freeze, but it was a long ways from Leave it to Beaver and Sandlot baseball.

If you go back to the 1880's I bet you'd find the same. Nobody lived in a big house unless you were rich and you went outside to poop. So there was less to heat and less to take care of. You were probably more worried about getting water for your cattle.
Link Posted: 2/27/2021 1:21:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2021 1:21:46 AM EDT by Skibane]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By joemama74:
I thought mesquite trees were damn near everywhere.

My grandfather had a 125 acre farm in Hill County, rolling hills with not much else. He was constantly fighting and uprooting mesquite trees. Guess what got cut up for firewood? It pops but burns hot.
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And if you feed the beans to your livestock, you also get a lot of methane to burn.
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