Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Denominational oxen

WARNING: Denominational humour ahead. If you can't laugh at yourself, skip this and come back tomorrow.

While at the Rusk County library looking at some early 1900 issues of a Henderson, Texas newspaper on microfilm, I found a short article called "Denominational Oxen". I decided later that I would "google" and see if this was posted online anywhere. The version below is from the
COLUMBUS [GA] ENQUIRER, April 10, 1860, p. 1, c. 5. In addition to the denominational humour, it seems this Georgian may have been taking a little shot at Texas. Here it is:

Denominational oxen in Texas.--Texas is a great State. It has not only a large, growing, mixed population--every variety of climate and soil, game and stock--but its very oxen have become denominational, if not sectarian in name, character, and spirit. In proof of this we give the following incident:

A minister travelling along the road, met a stranger driving his wagon, which was pulled by four oxen; as the minister approached, he heard the driver say, "Get up Presbyterian!" "Gee Campbellite!" "Haw Baptist!"* "What are you doing, Methodist?" The minister, struck with the singularity of such names being given to oxen, remarked--

"Stranger, you have strange names for your oxen, and I wish to know why they had such names given to them."

The driver replied, "I call that lead one in front, Presbyterian, because he is true blue, and never fails--he believes in pulling through every difficult place, persevering to the end, and then he knows more than all the rest. The one by his side I call Campbellite; he does very well when you let him go on his own way, until he sees water, and then all the world could not keep him out of it, and there he stands as if his journey was ended. This off ox, behind, is a real Baptist, for he is all the time after water, and will not eat with the others, but is constantly looking first, on one side, and then on the other, and at everything that comes near him. The other which I call Methodist, makes a great noise and a great to-do, and you would think that he was pulling all creation, but he don't pull a pound."

The minister having his curiosity gratified with the explanation, rode on wondering what he should next see and hear in Texas. This is no dream, but a fact as we have heard it; nor are we influenced by dyspeptic feelings, telling our readers the ecclesiastical relation of Texas oxen.--True Witness.

* [Note for city folk: "gee" and "haw" are right and left.]

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