The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 52
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
L. W. Groce.la The gold cup is still in the possession of the
Groce family at Hempstead, Texas. It is interesting to note that
he was a son of Jared E. Groce, one of the largest cotton planters
of early Texas, who is said to have established a cotton gin on
the Brazos river in 1825, the second in Texas, the first having been
owned by John Cartwright in the "Redlands" of East Texas.
At this time the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows were both firmly established in local lodges, and,
besides, Houston was the seat of their grand lodges. Houston
had its chamber of commerce, its board of health, its medical and
surgical society, its philosophical society, a German society or-
ganized for philanthropic purposes, its committee for the im-
provement of navigation on Buffalo Bayou, its typographical asso-
ciation, its crack military company, the Milam Guards,4 and its
newspapers endeavored to create an impression that they were lo-
cated, not only in a real, but a very important city.
The boat landing at the foot of Main Street was the center of
commercial activity, which was shared by the business houses for
two or three blocks on Main, and to a limited extent on Com-
merce and Franklin Streets. Nearly every merchant handled cot-
ton, hides, and peltries. Cotton was truly king.5 It was not
unusual to see in the newspapers proffers "to sell a likely negro
boy or several of them for cash or cotton." Long trains of many
yoked ox teams hauled the staple from plantations on the Brazos
and Colorado Rivers, and delivered it to these stores at the lower
end of Main Street, and there awaited their return loads of mer-
chandise for planters and settlements in the interior. Weeks were
consumed in effecting these long hauls over bad roads.
The cotton receipts at Houston steadily increased. A state-
ment of the amount of cotton actually shipped from Houston from
13A. S. Ruthven to L. W. Groce, August 12, 1842, in Telegraph and
Texas Register, August 14, 1842.
"For a sketch of Captain Joseph Daniels, organizer and first captain
of the Milam Guards, see THE QUARTERLY, V, 19.
According to official records of cotton production in Texas, kept in the
office of the State Department of Agriculture, the total cotton yield in
the year 1830 (which is the first record), was 335 bales. When we note
that the preceding year Groce had contracted to deliver to John R. Harris
and Zeno Phillips at Harrisburg, from ninety to one hundred bales, prob-
ably one-third of the whole cotton crop of Texas, it is evident that Harris
County established its position as a cotton market, at a very early date.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/61/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.