My grandmother was one generation later than the first settlers in my home town. I was recently reading a history of Robertson County, Texas starting with the first explorers and their adventures, up through the last of the 19th Century.
As far as lifestyle and having and owning stuff is concerned, I realized that by comparison, we are uncommonly rich. They arrived on the Brazos River with a determination and a few accessories like horse, a rifle a knife and an axe and had to contend with Commanches and the Mexican Army.
My high school girlfriend's great grandfather (I didn't know this at the time we were going together ... she probably didn't either) had built the only house that had a formal dining room, so during the ten years of the Republic (between the Alamo and being accepted as a State), when the Circuit Judge showed up, they covered the dining room table with a blanket and set up court there. This was Judge "Three Legged Willie" Williamson, what it took to be a circuit judge in those days. He got the nickname because he had a withered left leg below the knee ... possibly from polio ... and had a wooden leg that strapped on at the knee, with a pant's leg on it down to his boot and the real one sticking out behind with another pants leg and shoe on it. Three legs. ) I don't know where the Sheriff was, or if they even had one, but the Judge obviously didn't need one ... the following was in the court records from those years:
One of the locals opined that "We settle our own affairs around here and don't need none of Sam Houston's law."Three Legged Willie placed a shotgun on the bench, laid his pistol beside it and announced, "Oyez, oyez, oyez! .... Court for the sixth district of The Republic of Texas is now in session or By God Somebody's Going To Get Killed."There was no further objection. He held court, settled some disputes and rode off next day to the another county.
Those must have been great days, but I think we have achieved a better style of civilization if we can keep from ruining it completely.