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July 29, 2009
"Bud the Ox" Dies at Barrington Living History Farm
Farm’s Younger Oxen Keep Tradition Alive, Special Events Planned
WASHINGTON-ON-THE-BRAZOS, Texas — Barrington Living History Farm in Washington County northwest of Houston seems a little emptier this week.
Bud, one half of the farm’s yoke of Durham oxen, died Wednesday, July 22.
At sixteen and a half years of age, Bud lived longer than most oxen.
"We are proud and happy to have been a part of his long and productive life and happy that he and his partner, Abe, brought so many smiles to so many people," said Cathy Nolte, Barrington Farm manager.
Nolte said oxen are a vital component in Texas’ history, since early Texas settlers and frontiersman relied on the gentle giants to carry heavy loads across country, break virgin ground and plow and plant the fields.
Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas, settled at Barrington with his family after he retired from his political career and used oxen to develop the farm. An entry in his journal during March of 1847 provides some insight into a Texas lifestyle that continues to this day at Barrington Farms:
"Peach and plum trees commenced blossoming this week. Continued planting corn on the east side of the field, Jerry and Mary breaking up cotton land with oxen."
Bud is survived by his comrades Abe, Slim, Shorty, Tippy and Tex. These oxen still allow visitors to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the 19th century reenacted at Barrington Farm. Interpreters, dressed in period style clothing, also help visitors understand what life was like 150 years ago.
Employees are welcoming the public to pay their respects to Bud at special events like the upcoming "An 1850s Education" weekend Aug 15-16, showcasing how education in pioneer Texas was first done in the home. Visitors can learn the lessons children were taught and the methods used by teachers, as well as the history behind Texas public schools and universities and the folks who first got the ball rolling.
"As Bud nurtured our oxen programs at Barrington, he continues to given even in death, nurturing our lands and, of course as always, our hearts," Nolte said.
For more information about visitor opportunities at Barrington Living History Farm, and other facilities at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, see the park Web pages or phone (936) 878-2214. A short video showcasing Washington-on-the-Brazos can be viewed on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site, or on the department’s new official YouTube channel.
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