D. A. Orviss: rexas 4ierckait
A. RAY STEPHENS
FROM THE D. A. Orviss Letters written during 1868-1874 in
the Brazos River bottom region of Central Texas, one can
discover the influence of the railroad on business in a new
country and observe a trade territory increase as an ingenious
merchant used his talents to survive, economically, in a competi-
tive market. One can see people migrate to the frontier and learn
of the land speculators and their contribution in the winning of
an unutilized area. The changing modes of transportation are
recorded vividly in the Orviss correspondence. Finding the use
of oxen an inefficient method of freighting, Orviss and other
Central Texans imported mules and draft horses to replace the
bovines. Improved roads were needed for buggies and wagons
since farmers and merchants found it necessary to move about to
attend more suitably to their business activities. With the coming
of the railroads, the whole economic system again took on new
meaning as surpluses were exported more efficiently, and the
interval between order and delivery of merchandise to Texas
from the commercial centers of the nation decreased.
Orviss indicated how much a part in the way of life commerce
played throughout the Reconstruction period in Texas as he
wrote of merchants who sought to expand their trade by specu-
lating in the real estate of a frontier society. Men of this stature
who had faith in the limitless opportunities of Texas were the
veritable builders of that state's economy.
After the Civil War, many discontented persons moved to the
West in search of a new life for themselves and their families.
In the new land there were many opportunities for eager, hard
working settlers to prosper and build for themselves, by their
energy and ingenuity, small fortunes. Individuals who left their
homes in the settled regions to take up residence in Texas, were
potential customers of any merchant who would establish a store
for their trade. A person who discovered in expanding post Civil
War Texas, a place for advancement and opportunity was D. A.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed March 8, 2014.