Part 8, Note 33

Click Here to See All Notes to Part 8

Colorado Citizen, July 29, 1875, November 4, 1875, December 16, 1875, April 27, 1876, July 27, 1876, August 24, 1876, October 19, 1876, December 7, 1876, July 19, 1877, November 8, 1877; Price List of the Pearfield Nurseries, Pearfield Nurseries File, Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library; Colorado County Deed Records, Book P, p. 99. Kessler also had some success in growing apples and pine trees. He lived in the area of the county that now contains numerous pines. The Citizen of July 19, 1877 catalogued the spread of these trees with: "A few days ago I had the pleasure of a visit to Mr. Charles Kessler and his grapery, five miles North-east of Columbus. Mr. Kessler owns the pinery, and surrounding his residence is one of the most beautiful pine groves that can be found anywhere. This is the only pinery in this county or portion of the State, and for the past few years it has rapidly spread throughout the post-oaks; and if the people would be more careful with fire in the winter and spring, young pines would soon spring up all over this county, and in a few years would be of great benefit." Though this might be taken to mean that Kessler planted the trees which grew into the presently expansive piney woods, dendrologists seem to believe that the Colorado County piney woods, like those in Bastrop County, are "remnants of a once-contiguous range from East Texas" (see Paul W. Cox and Patty Leslie, Texas Trees A Friendly Guide (San Antonio: Corona Publishing, 1988), p. 13; Benny J. Simpson, A Field Guide to Texas Trees (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1988), p. 228). However, it should be noted that no earlier mention of pine trees in Colorado County has been found, not even in the extensive descriptions of the countryside provided by William Bluford Dewees (see Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas), or in the list of the area's trees written in 1844 by Johann Leyendecker, who lived just north of the present piney woods (see Anders Saustrup and Jean Gross, trans. and eds., "From Coblenz to Colorado County, 1843-1844: Early Leyendecker Letters to the Old Country," Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 1, no. 6, August 1990, p. 184). And, the January 7, 1860 issue of the Colorado Citizen goes to great lengths to praise a man for arranging to regularly bring "cedar and pine lumber (which is in great demand in our town,)" from Bastrop and Fayette Counties, helping to alleviate "the very extravagant prices" locals then had to pay for such wood. One must wonder why, if pine trees were present in Colorado County, citizens had to pay high prices to obtain pine lumber from elsewhere. Further, in 1923, T. L. Bailey identified the Colorado County trees as "short leaved pines (Pinus echinata)," and reported that the pine forest "occupies only a few hundred acres and is surrounded by post oak woods. . . The pines here seem to be actually spreading and numerous small pines interspersed with post oaks occur on the border of the area" (see Bailey, The Geology and Natural Resources of Colorado County, University of Texas Bulletin No. 2333 (Austin: University of Texas, 1923), pp. 129-130). Most experts identify the pines in Bastrop County as loblolly pines, that is, Pinus taeda, a different species. And, if the Colorado County piney woods are indeed a remnant of a primeval forest, the question must be asked: what caused them to begin spreading through the surrounding post oaks in the mid nineteenth century and to continue spreading through them well into the twentieth?