Notes and Documents
Edited by JAMES HOWELL SMITH
TEXAS WAS A SHOCK TO A CONSERVATIVE MIDWESTERNER OF
the 18go's. Charles A. Chamberlain was a close friend,
fellow Congregationalist, and business secretary to Orrin
H. Ingram, Wisconsin timber magnate of the late nineteenth cen-
tury. In 1893 Ingram sent Chamberlain and his family on a vaca-
tion to California via the Southern route through Texas.
The Ingram business interests stretched from Wisconsin to
Missouri, and from California to Alaska. For several years Cham-
berlain had been responsible for corresponding weekly with each
enterprise, exchanging information on the business situation,
the weather, and other relevant topics. On the trip to California,
Chamberlain wrote similar reports to his employer describing the
country through which he passed.
His letter from Texas reveals a good-humored critic and a man
so pious that his friends once chided him for his use of "the
golden rule which you quote so like an angel of light. "7
The letter is a graphic account by an experienced appraiser of
Texas in the 189o's and for that reason is historically important.
Yet its major value may be in the evidence it gives of the existing
lack of exchange between the cultures of the Southwest and the
El Paso, Texas2
Feby 4th 1893
We left Hot Springs on Thursday having been delayed one day
by the illness of Mrs Moon[?]-arriving here at lo.3o a m having
traveled across the great state of Texas which has taken our train
since Thursday evening at 8 p m and a distance of eight hundred
and seventy three miles. We have passed through and over every
conceivable kind and character of country both as to topography
and product. To Texarkana from Malvern [Arkansas]-a distance
'George Scott to C. A. Chamberlain, November 7, 1893, Orrin H. Ingram
Papers (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison).
2C. A. Chamberlain to Orrin H. Ingram, February 4, 1893, ibid.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed April 1, 2015.