Brush Country Woman

978-0-89096-978-6 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
240 pp. 30 b&w photos., Map.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000


On a few sandy acres in the middle of the harsh, wild prairie of South Texas, young Helen Sewell grew to adulthood, as hardy and tenacious as the brush that grew around her. This is her story.

In 1908, at the age of eleven, Helen moved with her family to what would later become Jim Hogg County. Shaped by her rugged environment, she worked with her father in the field doing a man's work for three years, without benefit of schools, churches, or medical attention. Then, filled with desire for an education, she began to acquire an unorthodox, haphazard one that eventually led to college. She tutored children, taught school for a time, and served as county/district clerk. Then she met and married Texas Ranger, later sheriff, Pell Harbison. On the ranch they bought near Hebbronville, they raised six children and shared a life of challenge, growth, and stubborn hard work. After her husband's death, Helen Harbison herself ran the ranch for thirty more years.

Holland provides an accurate picture of life in South Texas in the first half of this century and a fascinating portrait of a woman of the Texas brush who was determined, independent, and capable in an age when women were not expected to be.

Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University

Published by Texas A&M University Press