The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970

The Revolutionizing of the Texas Cotton Trade,
1865-1885
L. TUFFLY ELLIS
W ITH THE END OF CIVIL WAR HOSTILITIES THE TEXAS COTTON
trade, diverted from its normal channels during the conflict,
resumed its natural flow to the coastal cities of Galveston, Houston,
and New Orleans for shipment to the Northeast and abroad. Several
years passed before cotton production reached its prewar level, but
factors and merchants at the ports reestablished contact, if it had been
broken at all, with their planter friends in the interior and their con-
nections in eastern markets and Europe.
New Orleans traders were reaching out to again make Northeast
Texas tributary to their market. Following the spring rise each season,
again, as before the diversion of the staple during wartime, the Cres-
cent City fleet of Red River boats moved the bulky bales down to the
Mississippi and the levees at New Orleans. Cotton merchants in East
Texas wanted "to be kept posted as promptly as possible on what is
doing in cotton." In 1866 New Yorker Charles Morgan reopened his
steamer service between New Orleans and Galveston and the Texas
coast, giving the former city access to the area and its cotton.
Galveston, with her trade practically obliterated during the war and
her population halved, showed an especially remarkable recovery. As
in prior times, her merchants and factors sought the best outlets for
their country friends and also posted them on market conditions. Be-
lieving the English market offered better prices in September, 1865,
Messrs. Labuzau and McGar of Galveston notified a planter that, "we
have concluded to ship your 25 bales to Liverpool. . . ." With buyers
and sellers unable to agree on prices later in the season, it was quite
natural for island merchants Dean &c Co. to write W. F. Hill, a planter
'Joseph Nimmo, Jr., Report on the Internal Commerce of the United States (1881),
House Executive Documents, 46th Cong., 3rd Sess. (Serial 1966), Doc. No. 7, Part 2,
Appendix No. 14, p. 10o3; James P. Baughman, Charles Morgan and the Development of
Southern Transportation (Nashville, 1968), 126; Ellis, Bagby & Co. to Messrs. Golsan
Brothers, April 8, 1872, Golsan Brothers Papers, Box 11, Folder 59 (Department of
Archives and Manuscripts, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.). Quote is from
letter to Golsan Brothers.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed August 20, 2014.