Immigration to Texas

    The steamship journey to San Francisco went well for the colonists, but the trip to Texas was marred by an accident as the group's train approached Houston.  Little Taro was playing near a portable stove, which his family used to heat water for tea, when the train suddenly lurched, spilling scalding water over Taros legs.  The burns were treated in Houston by a Dr. Eskridge, a woman physician who, with her husband, took an immediate interest in the Kishi family.  Dr. Eskridge noted that Taro was extremely small for his age and that he was in generally poor health.  She learned from the family that doctors in Japan had predicted that the boy would not live to maturity.  Dr. Eskridge prescribed a better diet for Taro, one with added vitamins and protein.  Over the next several years he slowly acquired strength and grew in size.  He eventually went on to play football for championship Texas A&M teams in the 1920's. Because he was a blocking halfback, Taro's only chance to carry the ball was on a reverse, so this play became known among his teammates as the "Kishi play."

    The Eskridges' interest in Taro and the Kishi family soon turned into a close friendship.  The couple made frequent visits the Kishi farm, and several years later they invited Taro to live with them in Houston so that he could attend school there.  Dr. Eskridge wanted Taro to have a better education than was possible in the one-room schoolehouse in Terry.  In all, Taro stayed with the doctor and her husband for two years.  He spoke fondly of this couple who were the Kishi family’s first friends in America.

    "There is a saying in Japan," said Taro, "If you have a son you love, make him travel.'  'He will appreciate his home."


Walls, T. W., The Japanese Texans, 1987, The University of Texas Institute of Texans Cultures, San ANtonio, TX