By Donna Hill
For The Fort Bend Star
The 2,800 people who attended the 33rd annual Texian Market Days – A Festival of Living History in Richmond last weekend learned a lot about four generations of Texas history.
Texian, you ask. Wait a minute; isn’t it Texan?
According to the Texas history, Texians were residents of Mexican Texas and later, the Republic of Texas. After 1845, residents became known as Texans.
Yes – there was even more history to learn at Texian Market Days. The event was put together by the Fort Bend County Museum Association, with proceeds benefiting the educational programs at George Ranch Historical Park and the Fort Bend Museum in downtown Richmond.
About 450 volunteers brought guests right to the heart of each era of Texas history – 150 years broken into four distinct parts – the 1830s, mid-1860s, 1890s and 1930s.
Starting at the first generation in 1830, follow as pioneer life began at the Jones Stock Farm, where you could travel back in time to cotton ginning, cornhusk doll making, and frontier survival. There was information on early Texas medicine and cavalry demonstrations. Early American music at the location was provided by the Tejas Pioneers. Also nearby was Mr. George Heard Sutherland Northington IV (also known as “Bud” Northington), a descendant of the original pioneers, who answered many questions on Texas history.
The 1860s were also re-created at the Ryon Prairie Home, complete with hoops, sack races, and soap making. In the open fields surrounding the Prairie Home, Civil War troops set up camps and reenacted battles. Folk music was by the Celtaire String Band.
Focusing on the third generation of the 1890s was at the largest historical site in the park called The Davis Mansion. There were tug-of-war games, blacksmith demonstrations and a railcar tour. Dr. Bushrod’s Medicine Show, vintage baseball games and the Texas Temperance Rally were fan favorites and re-created by a dedicated and talented group of volunteers.
The last era was held at the George Cattle Complex, showing ranch life of the 1930s, when the “O” brand of the George Ranch entered the cattle show rings for the first time. The Cotton and Cane Vintage and Handmade Market was on hand, as was an archeology dig, and ongoing performances from the Texas Lovin’ Cloggers, The Houston Square Dancing Association and the Fort Bend Rodeo Sweethearts, a horseback riding drill team.
There were cattle demonstrations, cowboys, and of course, plenty of food.
Among the many vendors were The Old West Soda Fountain (with Rowdy Root Beer and Gunslinger Grape Soda), Big Iron BBQ, and Cousins Maine Lobster, a company that made a name for itself by building their business with the help of partner Barbara Corcoran on ABC’s Shark Tank.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the turnout for Texian Market Days this year,” said Claire Rogers, executive director of the Fort Bend County Museum Association. “Everyone I talked to was having a wonderful time and the weather couldn’t have been better. We are so grateful we got to share 100 years of Texas history with such a great crowd.”
Those who missed this year’s event, there’s always next year. In the meantime, George Ranch has plenty of history to keep guests coming back for more; especially the Historic Foodways Program – a Taste of Texas History. For more information, visit www.georgeranch.org, www.fortendmuseum.org, or www.egypttexas.org.