A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 22, 2007
“Other states were carved or born, Texas grew from hide and horn” (Berta Hart Nance)

"Other states were carved or born, Texas grew from hide and horn” is the beginning of Berta Hart Nance’s poem “Cattle” (1932).


Handbook of Texas Online
NANCE, BERTA HART (1883-1958). Berta Hart Nance, known primarily for her poetry about the frontier heritage of Texas, was born near Albany, Texas, on October 6, 1883 the daughter of D. A. and Eugenia (Davis) Nance. Her father was a ranchman, Confederate veteran, Indian fighter, and cousin of Jefferson Davis. Berta attended the public schools of Shackelford County and graduated from Reynolds Presbyterian Academy (later Reynolds Presbyterian College) in Albany, where she also taught. She completed further work through the Extension Department of the University of Texas. She was an accomplished singer and violinist. Miss Nance won a number of juvenile prizes for verse, including a gold medal in 1899 for a young people’s competition in St. Nicholas Magazine for her poem “A Texas September.” Early poems and stories appeared in Holland’s, the Bohemian, Sports Afield, the Great Southwest, Bellman, and Housekeeper. The David C. Cook Publication Company employed her to write children’s stories and verse from 1913 to 1923. Early in the 1920s one of her multipart stories, Captured by Comanches, was published by the Cook Company in book form. In 1926 she published The Round-Up, a long narrative poem about West Texas. In 1927 a second edition of this book appeared. Many prizes came to her in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1927 the Poetry Society of Texas awarded her its Sonnet Prize; she tied for this award again the next year. The Bookfellows of Chicago awarded her the Texas Prize in 1931, and in 1929 she won the Southern Prize from the Chattanooga Writers’ Club. In addition, she won smaller prizes from the magazine Kaleidograph. Perhaps the most widely known passage from her works is the beginning of the poem “Cattle”: “Other states were carved or born, Texas grew from hide and horn.”

Lone Star Verse—Cattle
This poem was written by Berta Hart Nance, born near Albany, Texas in 1883, whose work was popular among readers of periodicals and newspapers during the 1920’s and 30’s.

CATTLE

Other states were carved or born
Texas grew from hide and horn.
Other states are long and wide,
Texas is a shaggy hide.

Dripping blood and crumpled hair
Some fat giant flung it there,
Laid the head where valleys drain
Stretched it’s rump along the plain.

Other soil is full of stone
Texans plow up cattle bones.
Herds are buried on the trail
Underneath the powdered shale,

Herds that stiffened like the snow
Where the icy northers go.
Other states have built their halls
Humming tunes along the walls,

Texans watched the mortar stirred
While they kept the lowing herd.
Stamped on Texan wall and roof
Gleams the sharp and crescent hoof,

High above the hum and stir
Jingle bridle-rein and spur.
Other states were made or born
...Texas grew from hide and horn.

31 December 1933, Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), pg. C&, col. 4:
TEXAS pioneers must have been the inspiration for Berta Hart Nance’s poem which begins:
Other states were carved or born,
Texas grew from hide and horn.

21 July 1935, Abilene (TX) Morning Reporter-News, pg. 3, col. 7:
We nodded our heads and wagged our hands to the lilt of such ditties as “Little Towns of Texas” and a poem by an Albany writer that goes something like this, “Some states are carved or born, but Texas came from hide and horn.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, February 22, 2007 • Permalink