The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

ForeigNers il the Pricipal rowims
of A Hte-ei (dllw retas
RALPH A. WOOSTER
FOREIGN POPULATION WITHIN ANTE-BELLUM TEXAS, as in other
Southern states, was relatively small in comparison to the
total native born population. The majority of the aliens,
however, were concentrated in the larger river and coastal towns
where they comprised a considerable portion of the free popu-
lation. It is the purpose of this study to examine the influence of
that foreign element in the principal towns of Texas prior to 1861.1
Unfortunately, the printed returns for neither the seventh nor
the eighth United States Census provides a breakdown of places
of birth for residents of Texas towns. A tabulation of the birth
places listed in the enumerator's manuscript returns shows, how-
ever, that in five of the six largest towns in 186o Texas foreigners
constituted a third of the free population.2 Only in Austin, fifth
largest city in Texas in 186o, did foreigners constitute less than
a third of the free population. These figures may be compared
to the 10.3 per cent of foreign population in the 186o total free
population of the state.8
The 1850 foreign population in the largest late ante-bellum
Texas towns ranged from 15.1 per cent of the total free popula-
tion in Austin to 77.3 per cent of the total free population in New
Braunfels (Table 1). By 1860 the percentage of foreign born in
Austin had increased slightly, but in New Braunfels had de-
creased. Comparison of 185o and 186o figures compiled from the
1Attention was first directed to the importance of foreigners in ante-bellum towns
of the lower South by Herbert Weaver, "Foreigners in Ante-Bellum Towns of the
Lower South," Journal of Southern History, XIII, 62-73. Weaver placed stress upon
towns of the older portions of the South, however, and gave little specific attention
to Texas.
2The six Texas towns in 186o with a free population in excess of 1,5oo were
San Antonio, 7,643; Galveston, 6,129; Houston, 3,776; Brownsville, 2,727; Austin,
2,517; and New Braunfels, 1,740o. Eighth Census of United States, i86o (Washington,
1864), I, Population, 486-487.
8Ibid., 487-488.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed October 1, 2014.