NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850-1880.
By Randolph B. Campbell. (Austin: Texas State Historical Asso-
ciation, 1983. Pp. xvii+443. Acknowledgments, introduction,
tables, map, illustrations, footnotes, bibliography, index. $19.95.)
There have been two kinds of county histories. The traditional his-
tory was largely genealogical, recounting the stories of the leading
families. More recent works are representative of the new social his-
tory, where the authors exhaust the sources, both public and private,
in order to answer the most important questions about the socio-
economic changes that have taken place. In this way, local history
sheds light on the history of a region, of a state, of a nation. This
county history by Randolph B. Campbell is an excellent example of
the second type. Campbell's principal sources are the censuses of 1850o,
186o, 1870, and 188o, but the statistical analysis has been buttressed
by quotations from private correspondence found in many collections
of personal papers.
Harrison County, on the eastern edge of Texas, was the most typical
example of the Old South in Texas. Ninety percent of its antebellum
population were natives of the slaveholding states. At first they came
from Tennessee and Virginia, but in the last decade before the Civil
War the Lower South contributed a much larger share of immigrants.
Louis T. Wigfall of South Carolina was the most prominent ante-
bellum lawyer; a member of a Harrison County family, Lucy Holcomb,
became the wife of the wartime governor of South Carolina. These ties
illustrate the push-pull of that society.
The Harrison County of the 185os was preeminently a planter's
society. Cotton production during that decade increased 368 percent.
Slaveholding farmers produced more than 94 percent of all the cotton.
There were consequently more slaves in Harrison than in any other
county in the state. The productivity of slaves jumped markedly in the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/. Accessed September 1, 2014.