Life in Turn-of-the-Century Texas by Celia Yeary


Thanks to Petticoats and Pistols for hosting me today on their very popular blog. I appreciate this opportunity to visit. Please leave a comment and I will reply to each and every one.

I want to tell you about  newest book Wish for the Moon. It’s a story about sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis who lives with her family on a self-sustaining Texas farm in 1901. She has two older brothers.

They live in a North Texas farming community, the kind in which almost everything the family needs is provided by their own hands. However, once a month, they dress up and ride in the horse-drawn wagon into town to sell eggs, buy a few supplies, and treat themselves to pie and coffee in the cafe.

I wrote this story with my grandparents’ farm and home in mind. I was born ‘down the roaCelia1d’ from their farm, and even though my birth was in 1940, they still lived much as our ancestors had.

Taking creative license, I placed Annie and her family in my grandparent’s home.

The old farmhouse was constructed of weather-beaten boards that had grayed with age. They used kerosene lanterns, a pot-bellied stove in the front room for warmth, a wood-burning cook stove in the kitchen, and a smokehouse for curing meat. Water came from a well  just outside the screened-in porch. Lowering a tin tube into the well, one pulled a trigger and the tube filled with water. When it was brought to the surface, someone “released the trigger” and the water filled a bucket. They used an outhouse which sat back from the house.










At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save Max Landry from a bogus charge, she follows him and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.

Excerpt One: celia3

With one thumb, Max pushed back his worn felt hat so the men could see his face. He stood casually with his hands in his back pockets and one bony hip cocked. He waited until the group washed at the well. No one had looked his way.

One of the sons lowered the tin tube down by the rope and pulled the trigger, filling it with well water. When he brought up the tube, he emptied it into a galvanized bucket on the ground.

The older man talked as he took a rag from his pocket, dipped it into the water, and washed his face, hands, and neck.

“If we hurry, we might finish up tonight. Sure hope so. I’m afraid we’re gonna have some rain tomorrow or the next day.”

The girl pulled a rag from her pocket. “Kyle, move over, dang it. You’re hogging the bucket.”

“Ahhh, what a sissy.” He laughed as she pushed at him, not budging him an inch, but he moved over for her. “There you go, baby girl. Have at it.”

“Stop calling me that,” she muttered, and went about the business of washing up just as the men did. Being a girl, though, she took a little extra care, he noticed, making sure she hadn’t missed a spot of dirt somewhere on her face or neck.



Excerpt Two:

“Hi, y’all,” she said in a sweet sounding voice, sort of like water gurgling and sliding over smooth rocks, that swooshing, humming sound a person never gets tired of. “What are you doing here? I’ve never seen you around here before. Are you from over to Granbury? Or maybe Mineral Wells or Dublin?”

“Uh-uh. I’m from nowhere,” he said without grinning or anything. “I’m just a wanderer.”


“Why? Because I don’t have a real home, that’s why,” he answered. He never took his eyes off her big, pretty, blue ones, a little turned down at the corners, and framed all around with dark brown lashes.

“Everybody has a home, don’t you know that? Except maybe those hoboes that stay over yonder under the railroad trestle. Are you from over there?”

“Nope.” He shook his head and chuckled a little at her persistence and curiosity. “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Why should I be?” she asked with a mock frown. “Are you a crook who robbed a bank, or a bootlegger who runs whiskey, or maybe you’re just a no-account bum.”

Now her face split into the widest grin that made his cold empty heart jump to life. More than anything right now, he wanted her to keep smiling at him.


Free Copy: I will Gift an eBook copy from Amazon of Wish for the Moon to one visitor who leaves a comment.

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40 thoughts on “Life in Turn-of-the-Century Texas by Celia Yeary”

  1. welcome,,love the post,,as a true southern belle,I moved from TN to VT 12 yrs ago,,and still have ppl talk about my southern drawl,,,I dont mind im proud to be from the south,,,cant be in the running for a prize though,,I dont have anything to read a ereader on,,Im a paperback kind of reader,,I love turning those pages,,anyway thanks and welcome

    • Thanks for visiting, Vickie. I hear you about a paperback kind of reader. As much as I love my ereader, I find myself picking up old paperbacks from the Free racks at the library, or searching the New Book Shelf for a treasure. Thank goodness those won’t go away.

  2. Howdy there, Celia! It’s good to see you at Wildflower Junction. 🙂

    This young couple has a passel of challenges to overcome, but that’s part of the charm of the story. Like all the rest of your stories, this one delivers a sense of time and place so real readers will believe they’ve literally stepped through a portal into the past.

    BIG HUGS, dear friend!

    • Hi, Kathleen–I wish books like this would sell better. If it’s not a pure romance, etc., it’s difficult to get in front of an audience.
      I have vivid memories and have found those very useful when writing scenes. This is why I stick with Texas..a place I know so well.
      Thanks for you help and support–you’re a peach. No, wait that’s from Georgia. Okay, you’re a pecan. No, that’s a nut–you’re not a nut. Better stop now.

  3. Celia, I just loved this story of yours. I’m so glad you placed it with us at PRP and I’m hoping for wonderful things from it, because it’s one of those “unforgettable” stories that stays with you once you read it. Like Kathleen says, it really draws you in and makes you part of the time and place. Very real! I loved it!


    • Cheryl–actually, it’s doing pretty well now. It got off to a slow start, but I’m hoping for a wider audience. Thank YOU, for taking my book and getting it out there.

  4. You chose a great time period for this story, just before the industrial revolution.
    I really like that you used your grandparents’ farm as the stage for your story. It’s reminiscent of homes from that period and I can relate to it since my grandparents lived much the same as yours, except they lived in Pennsylvania. I found the metal tube for fetching water very interesting. Now that is something I’ve never encountered or heard of before now. I am familiar with hand pumps, but not those tubes.
    I enjoyed both excerpts. From them I think I have a good idea of the two main characters and I like them.
    I know this story is going to be wonderful. I enjoy reading everything you write. All the very best to you, Celia.

    • Sarah-I see you don’t have a Gravatar, either. I could have sworn I had a WordPress account, but they say I don’t,…but I’ll stop someplace in this rambling and try to get one.
      It surprises me so many have not heard of the water tubes. I began to Google them so I’d have something to show or tell, but so far, no luck. I’m not Googling the right thing, I guess.
      I do hope you like the book. You and I share that deep love of our past and our ancestors.
      And I’m glad you liked the excerpts–it’s difficult, but a fun part of writing a post–those perfect excerpts.
      Thank you so much for being part of my world.

  5. Love learning new things about our past! Had never heard of the tube thing for getting water.Thanks for sharing!

  6. I enjoy novels that work into the story a bit about life in the period, how they lived, what they ate, and so on. Sounds like an interesting book. I worked in details of life in 1880s Texas and Mexico in in my The Hardest Ride. Best of luck.

    • Yes, I, too, love a story in which I can see the characters and the life they lead. Too many books are a little dry around the edges because these details are not there. I’ll find your book.

  7. This sounds really good. I remember my grandparent old house and it still sets there today but its not the same. It has been remodeled and has running water. I remember we had to draw the water up with a bucket and carry it to the house. I can’t wait to read your book.

    • Hi, Quilt Lady–Houses are never the same when remodeled. These old houses had their own charm. This one in my memory burned down long ago. It sat vacant for a long time, and one day just burned down–as if it became weary of sitting there all alone.
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I do love visitors!

    • Sarah–I still cannot do it. It tells me my name is XXX,so and so, which I don’t recall, and then my PW is simply not right.
      I am totally befuddled. Now on some blogs that use WordPress, it will say, ‘You can sign in with your FB account.” Yes, so if I do that, they’ll accept it. Nothing else, absolutely nothing else I write in will do. And..I try to start all over and they don’t like that either! But hey! If you did it, I’ll keep trying.

      • It took me several tries to do it. It was kind of aggravating because, like you, it had me as starcriter and wouldn’t let me change it to my name. Finally, I let them have their way because figured I could go back later and change my I’D. Then mysteriously, they let me put in my name. It can make you crazy…and I was already half way there. You might need some hard liquor or some Prozac with you when you go back to try again. Good luck!

        • You have given me hope! Although I wonder, why am I wondering how to figure out something so trivial as a WordPress account for an Avatar! However, I do not like to give up.

  8. I can understand Annie’s desire to see the world beyond her family’s farm. For some of us, the need to explore and see what out there is strong. It doesn’t mean we love home any less, just that we want to see more.
    Thank you for the pee into your family’s history. I grew up in an 1865 or so farm house. Unfortunately, it had been remodeled in the 1950’s and much of the unique historical details were taken out. I heard they had a brick fireplace with oven in the kitchen. There was also a summer kitchen which was still there but closed up and never used. The one feature we children laughed about was the 3 hole outhouse attached to the house. There were 2 large holes and a small one for children.

    • Hi, Patricia–Now, I have never heard of a three-holer, and one was small for a child. Of course, that makes perfect sense. Surely everyone at one point in life wants to see more of the world, even if it’s only one country over. It’s a shame the vintage farmhouse you grew up in had historical details removed. I suppose that’s typical, unless the house were in a Historical District.
      I appreciate your visit–thanks so much for the comment.

  9. Celia, I’m delighted about this book. I can remember feeling that angst of wanting things to be different and new and exciting. The outside world that came to my world through radio and TV might as well have been on another planet. So your Annie seems like a kindred spirit. I love your voice and I’m sure this will be another great read. Maggie

    • Maggie-I’m sure this is why we love watching movies or tv or reading. We are transported into another place and time. Thank you for stopping by. Knowing how wildly busy you are right now makes it more special.

  10. Hi Celia, I’m a day late (and a dollar short?). I enjoyed your blog. YOu could have been describing my grandparents’ home where I spent a lot of time except for the well. We used a bucket drawn up from the well. Had never heard of the tube. I’ve read this book and it is wonderful. Linda

    • Linda–Thanks for the plug on the book! I think most of us who know about this tube live in the south or west. Texas, Oklahoma, etc.
      I always appreciate your visiting whatever blog I’m on.
      Do you have all your posts written for yours yet?

  11. Hi Celia! I’m so excited to have you visit us. I loved your blog. It’s always great when we can weave pieces of our past into our stories. It seems to add richness and more depth. I’d love to have seen that old farmhouse of your grandparents’. Old houses silently protect pieces of the past and its secrets. I’ve often wondered what those houses might say if they could talk.

    Congratulations on the new book! It looks great. I can relate to Annie’s yearning to see something other than her small world.

    Wishing you much success!

    • Thank you, Linda B., for having me as P&P’s guest. I knew it would be a fun experience. I’ve always loved old houses, and out in West Texas, many stand abandoned and forlorn. If only the walls could talk!

  12. I lived in a house like the one above between the ages of 6-9. No bathroom, no running water. Sis and I together lowered a wooden bucket down in the well, pulled on the rope, threaded through a pulley, then tugged and tugged to bring up the bucket.

    I can’t brag enough about Ceila Yeary’s books. Her characters are real–the Rhett Butler-Scarlett O’Hara types. Alpha male heroes and sassy female heroines who will keep you glued to the page.

    Even if Ms. Yeary’s plots weren’t intriguing, the personalities of the hero and heroine would keep you turning pages.

    • Laurean–I always love to read your comments. You are so sweet and generous, and I do appreciate your remarks so much. I was born in such a house but we moved away when I was four to join the 40’s oil boom in Texas..right after WWII. So, even though I was young, I do still remember.
      I appreciate your thought about my characters, too. Oh, I surely do.

  13. That old farm house looks a lot like my grandparents home in Boyd Texas. We always loved visiting with them and that farm. Brought back fond memories. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hi, Livia. Thanks for stopping by. I love photos of old houses. This one I think is a rather familiar look, for my grandparents’ home did resemble this one.

  14. Celia Yeary it’s wonderful to meet you. I am so happy you have visited the blog today. Historical fiction is my favorite genere to read and your book sounds marvelous. I love the fact you’ve modeled your house in your book after your grandparents house. I also love that you’ve used so much research to write it. I love fictional books that actually teach me things about the past. I often find myself looking things up on my computer to learn more about what I read about. Like the water tubes, I will be looking those up to find out more. Wow, I have found a new author to me. Thank you for this ! I hope to read this soon. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity !

    • Thank you, Deanne, for visiting the blog today and leaving a comment. You have said what every author wants to hear, and that is you learn something new from the past. Like you, I’m constantly going to Google to research some little thing. Then I become lost in that task and almost forget to return to my writing.
      I do hope you like Wish for the Moon. Most of my books are set in Nineteenth Century Texas.
      Wishing you a wonderful day!

  15. Celia, the best stories have their roots in “reality” and that’s why I always enjoy your stories. You capture the heart of the setting. Your characters are well rounded. I liked the first excerpt where Max is watching what’s going on. I can just see him chuckling.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Celia, I am so sorry to be late getting here! What a great book. I love the idea of a sustainable farm more than a century ago. Best wishes for much success with it, my friend.

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