The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LIX OCTOBER, 1955 No. 2
Zeia s )Adust, 1860-1880
VERA LEA DUGAS
FOLLOWING THE MEXICAN WAR, which seemed to assure the
continuance of Texas as one of the United States of
America, the erstwhile republic entered upon a period of
booming economy. If few of her citizens were wealthy in terms of
available cash, most were rich in prospects. The rosy future pre-
dicted for the big, new state magnetized thousands of westering
Americans, bringing a measure of real prosperity to prior settlers,
who sold supplies, land, and professional services to the immi-
grants. Though population tripled during the 1850's, less than
half the land area of Texas had been occupied by 186o and even
the most recent arrivals found themselves "on the ground floor"
in a booming business. Like their predecessors, they acquired
more acres than they could cultivate, claimed herds of almost
unsalable cattle, and opened shops or stores or hung professional
shingles along the paths of commerce and migration.'
Although unoccupied western land was always the featured
attraction for immigrants, the 600,000 Texans who had arrived
before 186o awaited the tide of fortune in the older settled
regions of east and south, 4 per cent of them in the five cities
of San Antonio, Galveston, Houston, Austin, and Brownsville,
another 4 per cent in fifteen towns of one thousand to twenty-
five hundred population, and 3 per cent in villages of one hun-
dred to one thousand inhabitants. Among the remaining 89 per
cent, who were clearly rural population, a surprisingly small
number of bread-winners were dedicated agriculturists. Accord-
1U. S. Census, x88o, I (Washington, 1883), 5; Compendium of the Ninth Census,
1870 (Washington, 1872), 92-97; Abigail Curlee, A Study of Texas Slave Plantations
(Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1932), 75; Wayne Gard, The Chisholm Trail
(Norman, 1954), 13. Not all the expected newcomers would arrive by land and sea;
in x86o Texas had the fifth highest marriage rate and the fifth highest "indicated
birth rate" in the nation. U. S. Census, z86o, I (Washington, 1864), pp. xxxvi, xxxix.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed July 12, 2014.