The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 422
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
nearly 100 per cent. Of the hundred counties in Texas at the
time, it was boasted, only six lost in slave population. Regarding
these six counties, two significant statements (each prophetic
in its own way) are made: Two of the counties, Cameron and
Medina, were on the Rio Grande, where "proximity to Mexico
makes this kind of property a very uncertain one." The other
four counties losing slave population were "in East Texas, and
the decrease probably arises from emigration to counties further
The interest of the publisher of the Texas Almanac in bring-
ing population to Texas is revealed also in the great amount of
space the publication gave to railroad construction. The greatest
need for the material development of Texas in that day was
first, population and second, transportation. Texas lacked navi-
gable rivers; hope lay in the building of a rail network. Only
six years previously, in 1851, actual construction of Texas's
first railroad, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado, had been
started. At the end of 1856, just prior to publication of the
Texas Almanac for 1857, only seventy-one miles had been put
in operation. The Texas Almanac of 1857, however, lists thirty-
six chartered companies, names of many of which indicated
grand ambitions-including the New Orleans, Texas and Pacific
Railroad Company; Texas Railroad, Navigation and Banking
Company; the Vicksburg and El Paso Railroad Company; the
Brazos and Bernard Railway and Plank Road Company; and
the Chambers' Terraqueous Transportation Railroad Company.
This last mentioned seems to have been an early amphibious
enterprise. In all of the early editions of the Almanac, much
space is given to railroad expansion, and Willard Richardson
had a grand vision of a great state railroad system reaching
into the hinterland from Galveston as a hub.
In the desire to promote a greater population for Texas, the
publishers of the Almanac were tracking the state government,
in the official reports of which one recognizes the promotional
effort. For example, the Almanac of 1857 shows that under the
administration of Governor E. M. Pease the largest state depart-
ment was the General Land Office headed by Commissioner
Stephen Crosby with a staff of twenty-nine. Even in the state's
fiscal report of its somewhat embarrassing public debt, printed
in the Almanac of 1857, as good a face as possible is put on the
situation with the frank statement that total obligations of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/530/: accessed July 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.