The Monday Mystery posts continues the success of our posts with the Traces of Texas Facebook page on the new Out of the Stacks. We’ll be posting one image every month from our Prints and Photographs Collection in hopes of answering a new photo mystery. All of the images will be available on the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) and we welcome folks to browse through all of the images available on this site. We’re looking to our community of patrons, which includes academic researchers, genealogists, photography historians, and Texas enthusiasts, to help us identify some of our photo treasures.
Description: “The Round Up,” Batson, Texas, about 1890-1910
TDA link: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/file/sdb%3AdigitalFile%7C1e486043-df23-4c03-80f5-c044a5221519/
Collection: L.J. Whitmeyer glass plate negatives collection
Question: We’re curious to know more about Batson, Texas and the Crosby House that is so prominently featured in the “Round Up” photo. What type of event would have drawn so many folks to gather for this image – was there a special event or just a normal market day in town? Or was the photograph itself the spectacle needed to gather such a crowd.
If you find an image on the TDA that you’d like to submit for a future Monday Mystery post please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Monday Mystery” in the Subject line.
According to researcher Robert Pierce who wrote a 1975 thesis about folklore and the Big Thicket, the Crosby House was the site of the following weekly occurrence, referred to in local lore as the Batson Round Up :
In the 1900*s Batson was an oil boom town of more than
6,000 people, and the Roundup was the method of obtaining money to
pay salaries of officials, since there were too many transients to incorporate a tax system* Once a week the law would round up all the
young unmarried women from the hotels and saloons* In the second
floor courtroom of the Crosby House the judge would set a big fine
against each one* Then the young women would be taken out on the
second floor porch facing the street* A deputy sheriff, acting as a
sort of auctioneer, would yell out how much a woman’s fine was* The
first man who got to court and paid her fine could take the young
woman home with him for 24t hours.