The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 156
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
States. Most historians have been content, however, with the
facts available in the statistical tables. Professor Lathrop in this
valuable study of the movement of people into East Texas has
done much more than read the tables. By a meticulous study of
the manuscript records of the censuses of 1850 and 186o he has
been able to trace, family by family, migration into an area which
made up nineteen counties in 186o. In 1850 these counties con-
tained one-half of the population east of the Trinity and one-
fourth of the population of the entire state.
By noting the ages and birthplaces of children, that is by using
the "child-ladder method," the author has been able to add
greatly to the customary birth-residence tables. He has been able
in many cases to trace the steps by which a family made its way
into Texas and to estimate with some degree of accuracy the date
of arrival. The census of 1860 showed Alabama to be the greatest
contributor to the population of this area. Tennessee, Mississippi,
Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri followed in the order
The origins of the immigrants are of great importance because
the writer "who would explain behavior--speech and lore, food
and frolic, voting and worship, codes and values, building and
farming-must know whence the people came."
County historians have nibbled at the edges of the census
returns, but this volume cuts a path deep into a maze about
which relatively little was known. The study must be accepted
as a major contribution to the history of East Texas, and it will
be most difficult in the future to write of the area without making
use of it. The reader will appreciate the formal style and will be
greatly impressed by the fantastic amount of work which must
have gone into each of the numerous tables.
The author seems to fear that the abundant evidence of "close
and plodding work" offered by the study will scare others from
the field and hastens to assure the reader that census study has
certain rewards of its own. It is somewhat amusing to find a resi-
dent named Bee Hunter and an illiterate family with daughters
named "Luzyephia" and "Artemisea." Even so, the student who
ventures into the manuscript census returns had best be equipped
with determination and a genuine desire for knowledge.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/176/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.