17 Chapters
Medium 9781574411751


James J. Cozine Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF

Bibliography to Chapters I–XI

———. Bureau of the Census. The Seventh Census of the United States, 1850,

Embracing a Statistical View of Each of the States and Territories Arranged by

Counties, Towns, Etc. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office,


———. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States Taken in

1900. 10 vols. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901.

U. S. Congress. Congressional Record. 1966–1975.

U.S. Congress. House. Alabama Indians of Texas: Report of William Toker and

Letters to the Indian Department Relative to the Alabama Indians of Texas. H.

Doc. 866. 62nd Cong., 2nd Sess., 1912.

———. Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Hearing on H.R. 12034, Big Thicket National

Park, Texas. 92nd Cong., 2nd Sess., 1972.

———. Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Hearing on H.R. 4270 et al. Proposed Big

Thicket National Reserve, Texas. 93rd Cong., 1st Sess., 1973.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574411751

CHAPTER XI Conclusion

James J. Cozine Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF




he Big Thicket National Preserve now moved from the legislative to the administrative phase, but it was a stage no less critical. A shortage of federal land acquisition funds delayed the purchase of all the Preserve units for a number of years. Meanwhile, timber interests, hunters, fishermen, cattlemen, land developers, farmers, and oil prospectors continued to compete for the natural resources of the Thicket until title to the land passed to the federal government. Nevertheless, by creating the

Big Thicket National Preserve, Congress ensured that the Big Thicket would continue to exist and to influence, as it always has, the way man lives in southeast Texas.

More than any other group, the Texas congressional delegation must shoulder the responsibility for permitting the struggle over the Thicket to last for nearly a decade. Both the timber industry and preservationists desired to save the timber resources of the Big Thicket, although for vastly different reasons. The desire to conserve the timber resources of the region was a common denominator, which the Texas congressmen could have exploited to forge a compromise solution.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574411751

CHAPTER VIII The Yarborough Years

James J. Cozine Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF


The Yarborough Years


enator Ralph Yarborough had heard tales about the Big Thicket during his childhood days in Henderson County just north of the Big

Thicket region. As a youth, Yarborough listened to his father spin yarns about his hunting exploits in the Thicket. The Big Thicket became an almost legendary land to the impressionable boy. Fired by these stories, young Yarborough envisioned the Thicket as the “Bali Hai land.”1

However, as his youth passed, the vision of the Big Thicket faded as other pursuits captured his interest. At age eighteen, Yarborough left Texas and journeyed to Europe on a cattleboat. One year later he returned home, entered college, and eventually graduated from the University of Texas

Law School. An appointment as assistant attorney general by Governor

James Allred whetted Yarborough’s political appetite, and in 1938, he ran for attorney general. During this campaign, Yarborough renewed his acquaintance with the Big Thicket. As he drove along the unpaved roads of the region, he was awed by the beauty and solitude of the woods. It was during this campaign that the Big Thicket “physically impressed itself” on his conscience.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574411751

CHAPTER VI Oil Exploration in the Big Thicket

James J. Cozine Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF


Oil Exploration in the Big Thicket


n addition to timber, the Big Thicket also contained vast deposits of a natural resource that was to become synonymous with the name of Texas: oil. During the first decade of the twentieth century, thousands of wildcatters, roughnecks, and roustabouts poured into the Big Thicket searching for petroleum deposits. When oil was discovered, boom towns sprang up over night. The crude early drilling methods, combined with the neglect of the operators, spelled disaster for several acres of the Big Thicket wilderness. Oil spills killed trees and polluted waterways. The social institution of the Thicket was also strained by the influx of loose women and gamblers who followed the oil workers. Indeed, it was a tumultuous period, marked by a lack of concern for the wilderness. Men were determined to extract the precious fluid even if it meant destroying the wilderness. The mania of large-scale oil exploration in Texas dates from the discovery of oil at Spindletop, just a few miles south of Beaumont. On January 10,

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574411751


James J. Cozine Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF



hat follows is an effort to complete James Cozine’s narrative, taking off roughly from the point at which he ends his account and bringing it up to the present time. To write such a concluding narrative is to confront serious problems. The creation of the Big Thicket National

Preserve was a single event, one which tied together innumerable strands of history. The development of the Preserve was, and is, a many-sided series of events, which branch out, grow, and only occasionally interact. In the first case, one has many strands of history becoming a single strand; in the second, one has the Preserve becoming many strands of events.

It would seem at first glance that these events could be approached as a simple chronology: that is, as a series of dates of significant events listed according to the order in which they took place. The apparent simplicity of such a rubric, however, conceals its weakness. The history of the Big

Thicket National Preserve is too complex to be constructed as a single series. Too many of its factors are contemporaneous, taking place at the same time but without affecting each other. Too many take place in areas outside the Preserve. Too many culminate at different times—if they do indeed culminate. All of these must be described in the present essay. Their sheer diversity in time, place, and character forbids their being nailed down on a “time line.” Inevitably what follows must be like the Neches River: a

See All Chapters

See All Chapters