Water quality not an issue
Cowboys who’d herded stock across it, or worked along its banks, liked to josh newcomers to their outfit by “recalling” a time they’d seen a coyote venture cautiously out from the brush, take a long drink from the river, and then whirl around as if he’d been shot only to begin frantically licking its rear end.
But its not nearly as bad as a certain 19th century military record says.
The U.S. Army, which garrisoned a string of forts along the state’s western frontier to protect the populace from hostile Indians, was particularly interested in water.
And compiling statistics.
“In making our report to the Chief Quartermaster of the Department it was necessary to convey an accurate idea of the adequacy and character of the water supply, that being a most important item in the practicability of any point for military as well as domestic purposes,” wrote cavalry veteran H.H.
McConnell in the ponderous prose of 1889.
McConnell came to Texas in 1867 with the 6th Cavalry and spent much of his time in the military at Fort Richardson in Jack County.
After his discharge from the Army, he stayed in Jacksboro as a newspaper publisher.
Thinking fast, the orderly grabbed a handful of salt, threw it in the container, and poured in enough water to make a half-gallon.
The only problem was that his finding had absolutely nothing to do with the actual water quality of the Brazos.