Cotton 7iniLq i Zcas to 1861
RAYMOND E. WHITE
COTTON has been of long-standing importance to Texas.
The first Europeans to touch Texas shores saw natives
cultivating and using cotton and later the Spanish mis-
sionaries enlarged this cultivation.- It was, however, the Anglo-
American colonists of the 182o's who planted the seeds which
started Texas on the road to becoming the greatest cotton pro-
ducing area in the world.
Moses Austin was the first Anglo-American to speak of the cul-
tivation of cotton in Texas. Late in I82o, when he first came to
Texas seeking a colonization grant, he expressed "his intention
to provide for his substance by raising sugar and cotton."2 Austin's
grant received approval, and in 1822, the new settlers who had
come to Texas planted their first cotton crop.
Stephen F. Austin had faith in the future of Texas cotton, and
he did much to stimulate production and establish the cotton
industry on a firm footing. His confidence that cotton would
insure and secure the prosperity of his colony was so strong that,
before the settlements were securely established, he informed his
colonists he would accept notes for their land payable in cotton.8
Production of cotton in Texas was natural; cotton adapted
easily to the rich virgin soil and hot Texas climate. Also the
settlers were experienced in cotton culture since most of them
had come from the southern cotton producing areas of the United
States. Frontier hazards, poor transportation and marketing facil-
ities, uncertainty of land titles, and the absence of processing
iBethel Coopwood, "Route of Cabeza de Vaca," Quarterly of the Texas State
Historical Association, III, 194-195; Charles Wilson Hackett (ed.), Pichardo's
Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas (4 vols.; Austin, 1931-1946), II, 292;
Frederick W. Hodge (ed.), Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2
vols.; Washington, 1907, 1910), I, 352-353; Carlos E. Castafieda, Our Catholic Her-
itage in Texas (6 vols.; Austin, 1936-1955), III, 112, 115, 117.
2Eugene C. Barker (ed.), The Austin Papers (Vols. I and II, Annual Report
of the American Historical Association for the Years 1919 and 1922, Washington,
1924, 1928; Vol. III, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1926), I, Part I, 370.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed May 28, 2015.