Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and Henderson counties; there were some two hundred Swedes
in the state, and Karnes County had the first Polish colony.
Platted on a map, the 186o population statistics reveal that the
frontier line had practically reached the edge of the Great Plains.
The more thickly populated counties lay on the main highways
into the state: the route across Red River from Arkansas, the road
from Shreveport to Marshall and Jefferson, and the Brazos River
bottom with rail access by Harrisburg and Houston from Galves-
ton Bay. Bexar and Cameron counties, lying off the well-traveled
entrance ways, had large Mexican populations, and Brownsville
also had a port with active trade up the Rio Grande dating
from the Mexican War period. Islands of population scattered
along the Rio Grande marked the important river crossings and
the locations of Federal army posts. Most of the slave population
was found in counties of relatively dense population, with Bexar
and Cameron counties providing the exceptions. Bexar had less
than two thousand slaves, and Cameron, because of its proximity
to Mexico, had less than one hundred.
In terms of density of population, Texas' 237,321 square miles
(approximately her present area as arrived at after the Compro-
mise of 1850) had o.98 persons to the square mile in 1850 and 2.55
in 186o. These people possessed 27,988 dwellings in 1850, or 5.22
persons to the house. In 186o the number of dwellings-varying
from an adobe hacienda to a board and batten cabin to an Abner
Cook designed mansion in Austin, had increased to 77,428, and
the average number of occupants was 5.45.10
Washington County, in the heart of the cotton-growing area,
had the highest average valuation per acre, $8.44 in 1859, while
Starr County's average valuation per acre in 1858 was sixteen
cents. Wichita County, not yet organized, had a land value of
$1.62 per acre.1 The presence of railroads worked both ways;
lines were built to tap the cotton area, and where the rails were
laid, the land value increased. To October 1, 1859, eight lines,
the Galveston, Houston, and Henderson; the Buffalo Bayou,
Brazos, and Colorado; the Houston Tap and Brazoria; the Hous-
ton and Texas Central; the Washington County Line; the San
lolbid., xvi, xvii.
11Texas Almanac for x861 (Galveston, 1860), 218-219.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed January 26, 2015.