THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. XLVII OCTOBER, 1943 No. 2
THE DESTINY OF BUFFALO BAYOU
ANDREW FOREST MUIR
Throughout the period when Texas was a republic, and
during the early days of statehood, a disproportionate amount
of the wealth of the area was to be found in the counties along
the lower Brazos and Colorado Rivers. This was due to the
early concentrated settlement of Austin's Colony, for which
the empresario had wittingly selected the most fertile and de-
sirable land. In 1837 the five counties of Austin, Brazoria,
Colorado, Fayette, and Washington had property assessed at
$7,130,571, forty-nine per cent of the entire property valuation
of the republic.' In 1838, the same counties, augmented by
Fort Bend, created in the previous year, showed property
valued at fifty-five per cent of the entire assessment.2 By 1848
the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend,
Washington, and Wharton (which had been created in 1846)
were credited with an assessed wealth of $8,850,850, nineteen
per cent of the state's total.3 The 1850 census showed that
these seven counties contained eight per cent of the white
population of the state and twenty-one per cent of the slave.4
'Harriet Smith (ed.), Journals of the Fourth Congress of the Republic
of Texas, 1889-1840, to Which Are Added the Relief Laws (Austin, 1930),
III, 56. The assessment for Fayette County combines the figures for 1837
and 1838. Therefore, the total was arbitrarily halved. Fort Bend and
Wharton Counties had not been created, and no attempt is here made to
analyze the assessments of the counties from which they were carved.
Matagorda County is not included, for it is presumed that its traffic moved
out of Matagorda, which, however, did not have the facilities for draining
a large trade area. Harris and Galveston Counties are not included inas-
much as they were agriculturally insignificant at this time.
3Reports of the Comptroller and Treasurer, For the Years 1848 and
1849 Made to the Third Legislature of the State of Texas, December 8,
1849 (Austin, 1849), 190-93.
4J. D. B. DeBow (comp.), The Seventh Census of the United States, 1850
. . (Washington, 1853), 503-04.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/. Accessed April 17, 2014.