I'll Gather My Geese
Texana - Ranching
5.5 x 8.5, 168 pp.
19 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 06/01/1991
Price:        $19.95


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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I'll Gather My Geese

By Hallie Crawford Stillwell

In 1916, Hallie Crawford went to teach school in Presidio, just across the Rio Grande from Ojinaga, Mexico, which had been recently captured by Pancho Villa. Hallie's father, considering this a dangerous place for a young woman of nineteen to live alone, told her he thought she was going on a wild goose chase. "Then I'll gather my geese," she told him, with determination and independence. These traits stayed with Hallie all her life, and were indispensable in her role as a ranch wife. Raised as a "proper" Southern woman, Hallie was not prepared for the difficulties she faced when she moved to her new home, the Stillwell Ranch, in 1918. But she quickly became an invaluable part of the workings on the ranch. She watched and learned from her husband, Roy Stillwell, and she adjusted to the new life-style that she grew to love. The ranch hands, who thought she would only last six months, came to respect her and her abilities to do as much work as any man on the ranch. They became a family. Then Roy and Hallie started a family of their own. Three children were a handful, and the Stillwell family split its time between the ranch and a home in town. On the ranch outside Marathon, near the Mexican border, work was hard and joy came in the simple things. After working cattle all day, relaxing under the arbor in front of the house was a pleasure. Hallie had a favorite rock out behind the house, and she often sat on it to watch the sun set, take a break from her energetic youngsters, or otherwise gain some tranquility and perspective.The ranch and its inhabitants survived two world wars, the depression, droughts, an influenza epidemic, as well as the everyday troubles of ranching in the Big Bend country. Hallie's story, told in a personal and engaging way, is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of pioneering ranching in Texas.

Hallie Stillwell was born in Waco and lived in Alpine until her death in 1997. She has taught school, managed a restaurant, raised children, and been a justice of the peace. She was a rancher since 1918 and a news reporter since 1930.

What Readers Are Saying:

" . . . written with honesty and self-deprecatory humor . . . fast-paced and highly readable." --Dallas Morning News

"The thrill of `taming the west' is captured beautifully through Hallie's bright eyes as she shares photographs and memories with the reader. Her writing style is as comfortable as your favorite old pair of boots." --San Marcos Daily Record

"Hallie's story is full of adventure and spunk, just as her life has been." --Judyth Rigler

"The books about cowboys and ranchmen would fill a good-sized library, but the books by and about ranchwomen would barely fill a modest shelf. Newest is I'll Gather My Geese, by Hallie Stillwell of Alpine." --Livestock Weekly

" . . . a gripping story and well worth --True West

" . . . this would be a great book to take along and read on your trip [to the Big Bend]." --Texas People & Places

"A marvelous record of a spunky, determined, and resourceful lady." --Books of the Southwest

"This is a readable book that will help YAs develop an appreciation for the demands of such a lifestyle. . . . A wonderful book for American history classes, women's studies, and family history seminars." --School Library Journal

"Readers will find much to admire in this unembellished memoir by a gutsy woman." --Journal of Arizona History

"In a refreshingly straightforward manner, the author expresses her feminine perspective on everyday experience in a traditionally masculine way of life. . . . her book is a record of Western folklore expressions as well as history." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly


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