Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Analysis of the various nationalities represented in the foreign
populations shows that there were more Germans living in Gal-
veston, the state's principal seaport, than in any other major Texas
city. The percentage of Germans in the total free population of
Galveston, 31.1 per cent in 1850 and 26.3 per cent in 1860, was,
however, much lower than that in New Braunfels, where Germans
constituted 76.8 per cent of the total free population in 1850 and
57.6 per cent in 186o.4 There was a considerable increase in the
German population of San Antonio during the 1850's; the per-
centage of Germans in the total free population increasing from
12.6 per cent in 1850 to 19.3 per cent in 1860. While the number
of Germans in Austin and Houston increased considerably in the
last pre-war decade, the percentage in the total free population
remained about the same.
Galveston, San Antonio, and Houston all had sizable Irish pop-
ulations in the 1850's (Table 1). Houston, in particular, showed
a rather marked increase in Irish population during the 1850-
186o period, the Irish population increasing five-fold while the
total population of the city only doubled.
As might be expected, the border town of Brownsville had the
largest number of Mexicans in 1860; 54.2 per cent of the free
population were born in Mexico. San Antonio had over twelve
hundred Mexican-born residents in 1860.6 The other principal
Texas towns had only a few Mexicans in the late ante-bellum
Galveston and Houston had the largest number of English-
born inhabitants in the 1850-186o period (Table 1). In 1850
Galveston also had a larger number of French-born inhabitants
than any of the principal towns, but by 186o San Antonio had
taken the lead in the number of French-born inhabitants.
4Descriptions of New Braunfels in the ante-bellum period may be found in
Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 183-z1861
(Austin, 19ggo), 111-138; Ferdinand Roemer, Texas, With Particular Reference to
German Immigration and the Physical Appearance of the Country (San Antonio,
1935), 92-102; Frederick L. Olmsted, A Journey Through Texas (New York, 1857),
142-147, 169-172, 177-183.
lIt may be noted that the percentage of Mexicans in San Antonio increased from
15.9 per cent of the total free population in 1850 to 17.4 per cent by 1860. Frederick
L. Olmsted, A Journey Through Texas, 160-165, described the Mexican population
of San Antonio and estimated there were some 4,000 Mexicans in the city in 1856.
Undoubtedly he included the children of Mexican born in his estimate, which in
any event was too high.
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 May 26, 2015.