The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947

Notes amd DocmIeits
Gexas vs. auOisiaHa, 1849
BARNES F. LATHROP
IN THE letter below an uncle "in the back woods" of Texas
explains to a nephew in the Black Belt of Alabama why the
nephew should prefer Texas to Louisiana as a place "to Settle
your self." The explanation makes a charming and informative
document on southern migration and the virtues of Southwest
Texas.
Alva Fitzpatrick, author of the letter, was a forty-eight-year-
old native of Georgia who had moved from Alabama to Texas
in 1843. He lived in Victoria County at the head of. navigation
on Arenoso Creek, which separates Jackson and Victoria coun-
ties. The town nearest him was Texana, then county seat of
Jackson County, located on the Navidad River some four or
five miles above its junction with the Lavaca.' Fitzpatrick was
one of only six planters producing cotton or sugar in Victoria
County.2 His slave force numbered thirty-three Negroes in
1850; twenty of these were children aged thirteen years and
under. Despite the salubrious climate, Fitzpatrick lost two
1J. De Cordova, Map of the State of Texas, 1849.
2The Census of 1850 shows the other five planters thus:
Improved Cotton Crop Sugar Crop
Where Value of Land of 1849 of 1849
Name Age Born Slaves Real Estate [in acres] [in bales] [in hogsheads]
Thomas R. Cocke 23 Ky. 20 $15,000 100 25
Quincey Davidson 36 N. C. '43 10,000 280 50
J. B. Reid 46 S. C. 62 7,000 480 120
William Rupley 29 Pa. . 26 10,000 200 50 40
Preston R. Rose 28 La. 32 270 100
Biographical information on all five men appears in Victor M. Rose, Some
Historical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of Victoria [County], Texas;
Its Progress and Present Status (Laredo, Texas [pref. 1883]), 18, 19,
113-114, 114-115, 178, 179 and note, 184-187. The census enumerator wrote
Quncy for Quincey, Jacob D. Read for J. B. Reid, and Ripley for Rupley.
Ranchers and small farmers predominated in Victoria County. Nearly
one-quarter of the three hundred and twenty-seven families held slaves
in 1850, but only seventeen holdings ran to ten or more Negroes, and only
the six planters herein named held twenty or more. Of one hundred and
forty-two "farms" (the term includes ranches) enumerated in the Census
of 1850, only the five in the table above and five others contained as much
as one hundred acres of improved land. Fitzpatrick's "farm" should, but
does not, appear in the agricultural enumeration. Comparison of his slave
force with the forces of his fellow planters indicates that he cultivated
probably two or three hundred acres.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed January 31, 2015.