The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923 Page: 89
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The History of a Texas Slave Plantation, 1831-63
rather large increase over the 2000 in Almonte's report, although
there had been a rapid immigration in the latter part of 1834
and throughout 1835. Absentee ownership did not exist in Texas,
nor was there much free labor. At this early date land was so
cheap and so easily obtained that even the poor man had an
opportunity to obtain a farm where he could make a living with
a minimum amount of labor. It was the custom for neighbors
to exchange labor. The work was often long and hard; and the
returns, as now, were not always commensurate with the labor.
Crude methods of cultivation, overflows, and drouths were the
principal causes of poor yields.
All authorities agreed that cotton was the most extensively
cultivated crop and the best adapted to the soil. The statistics
of Almonte and Austin bear this out. Mrs. iHolley's information
seems to be inaccurate in her statement that Texas "has for some
years, produced as much as 10,000 bales, with the prospect of
60,000 bales in 1836."42 When it is recalled that 1836 was the
year of the "runaway scrape" and that the men were in the army,
this seems exaggerated, but she may have written this earlier.43
Cotton was planted late in February or early in March and
it was ready for the first picking by the last of July or the middle
of August, according to the season. Frequently they were pick-
ing as late as December.
Indian corn or maize was the staple food for man and beast.
As late as 1856, Frederick Law Olmstead complained of the
steady diet of corn-bread and bacon, which was set before him
in his journey over Texas.44 Two crops of corn were sometimes
planted and harvested. The first one was planted about the
middle of February, after there was little danger of a freeze, and
harvested in the summer; the second crop was planted in June
for fall harvesting. Mrs. lHolley stated that seventy-five bushels
to the acre had been gathered, but that this was not the rule, as
the farmers did not put enough labor on the corn crop to pro-
duce that amount. Most of the crop was required for home con-
sumption.45 The Texas Gazette of May 22, 1830, republished a
"Hlolley, Temas (1836), 61.
"4Telegraph and Texas Register, September 2, 1837.
"Olmstead, A Journey Through Texas (1857), 15, 116.
"Holley, Texas (1836), 62-63.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923, periodical, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101084/m1/95/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.