I Remember

The Texas Story Project. Inspired by Mary Maverick's Eyeglasses and Case.

The author holding I Remember
The author holding I Remember

My father’s family moved to Kimble County from Scotland in the late 1800s to take up ranching in the region where Central Texas meets the Edwards Plateau. In 1898, my great-grandfather, Peter Paterson, founded Little Paint Creek ranch in southwestern Kimble County. His wife, Mary Barton Hall Paterson, had moved from England to work as a governess for Peter’s brother, James. Peter and Mary met, and after a few months, they married.

Mary Hall Paterson’s life is recounted in I Remember, a self-published, 104-page memoir. Her memories recount her early life in England, her move to Kimble County in 1890, her marriage to Peter Paterson, and their life at Little Paint Creek ranch on the South Llano River. Her tales often remind me of a much different epoch. For example:

“We had to haul all our water from the river and every day Peter took a big canteen on his saddle and filled it at the spring at the head of Little Paint for drinking water. Next year we dug and cemented a rain water cistern and always had cool drinking water in summer. Every year we did some big job – a chicken house had to go up, a house for the man and his family, a corn crib and stables. We drilled a well near the house, put up windmill, tank and cistern, and irrigated the field and garden, and most wonderful of all, piped water to the house. I had only to turn a faucet and behold, there was water!”

I am proud that her life memories have been collected and passed along as a family heirloom. They keep me grounded to my family’s past and make me feel more Texan, because I know that my father’s family was close to the land in Kimble County. They homesteaded, living out of doors much of the time, since there was no electricity and air-conditioning to temper the summer heat. Reading my great-grandmother’s memoir makes me feel gratitude for the comforts that I too often take for granted.

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