One thing that hasn’t changed here in Texas over the course of a century and a half is the fact that rain, rain, and more rain is a constant source of conversation, worry, and prayer in a large part of the state. Thus was it in the drought of 1886…a year when people could walk across the Brazos without getting their shoes wet.
I’ve heard the following story told a hundred times through the years, and I believe that it happened in that very, very dry year.
Everything I can read about the year 1886 tells me that things were dire here in Texas, and that tempers were as hot as the sun that shone relentlessly. Finally, the people of Comanche set a date to come together at the Methodist Church to pray for rain.
Clayte Carnes, a citizen of Comanche at the time, did not believe in meeting for such a purpose. His thought was that if people chose to live in what was known as a land prone to drought, they had no right to ask God for rain…that they should learn how to make do with what He gave them.
According to T.J. (Troy) Cauley, Clayte was in town on the day that most of its citizens hurried to the church to pray.
“If I was God, I’d slap ‘em down. They knowed it was a dry country when they came here!”
I’m not sure who it was that handed this story down to me, but I must admit that I smile every single time I think of it…and yes, I do think of old Clayte Carnes every single time I pray for rain. Of course, I didn’t choose to settle here…I was born here, and that does give me the right to ask for much needed rain…to my way of thinking.
*According to the death index, Clayte Carnes died in Comanche County on September 24, 1924.