The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 26
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
$20,000,000 and that the land at $5 an acre was valued at $40,-
000,000.74 The editor of the Railroad Journal caught the enthu-
siasm and during the next few weeks gave out facts in regard to
the Southern Pacific. He remarked that the donation by the
state of 8,017,000 acres included a strip of land larger than the
states of Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut combined;
that the loan of $6,000 a mile additional made it the greatest
railway proposition ever recorded; that the Texas population had
increased 400%o during the last decade, and that such an increase
during the next decade would give her a population of three mil-
lion; and that twenty-seven miles of iron were on the ground
and a locomotive had been shipped from New York.76
Thus it is seen that prospects were bright throughout the
first half of the panic year of 1857. Material had been purchased
to build at least twenty-five miles of road, and the terms of the
contract with the state called for the completion of that much
road before land could be donated or money borrowed. So the
Company found itself under the necessity of continuing work at
a time when the panic had stopped other such ventures over the
country. By February 27, 1858, the New Orleans Picayune
claimed that twenty-five miles of road had been completed.76
Within the two-year limit from the issue of the charter twenty-
seven miles of the road were constructed. But this was the extent
of the Southern Pacific railroad up to the outbreak of the Civil
War. Of the country's more than 30,000 miles of railway at the
end of 1860 Texas could claim only 307 miles.77
A variety of conditions had retarded railroad building in Texas
during the later fifties. A series of drouth years and the panic
of 1857 have been mentioned, and local political conditions also
were unfavorable. As a censure to Sam Houston for his oppo-
sition in the United States Senate to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill
he was defeated for governor of Texas in 1857 by a majority of
over 9,000 in a total of 55,000 votes.78 His successful opponent,
Hardin R. Runnells, was classed as an anti-railroad governor. In
"American Railroad Journal Weekly, April 11, 1857.
7"American Railroad Journal Weekly, May 9, 23, 27, 1857.
'6Quoted by American Railroad Journal Weekly, February 27, 1858.
"Potts, C. S., Railroad Transportation in Texas, 42.
"Garrison, G. P., Texas, 266. Somewhat different figures are given by
Winkler, E. W., Platforms of Political Parties in Texas, 644.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/30/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.