The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 28
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
expected. He noted that most of the houses were built of wood,
that the sidewalks were nothing more than elevated ridges of
waste brick covered with earth, smooth and firm in dry weather.
The street crossings were filled with squared logs, the gutters
covered with boarded footways. The shops were shaded by "wide
sheds covering the sidewalks." The large warehouses and new ones
building gave evidence that Houston was the head of navigation
and the only permanent navigation point in Texas. It was the
point of embarkation as well as the point of distribution and
supply for a large district.
Teams and teamsters were a colorful feature of Texas. Like
the desert caravans of old, they wound in long lines over the
rolling plains. The wagons had bodies shaped like sled runners,
each wagon drawn by four, five, or six yoke of oxen, moving at
a surprisingly rapid pace. The drivers, riding alongside on Mex-
ican horses, cracked their long whips and made a great show of
lashing the laggards as they came into town. In the busy season,
the streets of Houston were crowded with these wagons. In late
winter, when the farmers had little corn, the teamsters had to
wait for grass "to recruit the cattle" and "to support them on the
way." The Germans, west of the Colorado River, had better
wagons and usually drove mules." Most of the hauling in that
region fell to the Germans. Texas newspapers gave the hours of
arrival and departure of wagons in the same way that the papers
of port towns announced the arrival and departure of steamboats.
Most of the planters around Houston raised cotton and bought
food. Generally speaking, cotton planters were not so prosperous
as corn growers. In 1855 corn sold nowhere in Texas for less than
fifty cents a bushel in late winter. In all western counties it sold
for a dollar, and even higher in some of the eastern counties. Corn
was planted in February and harvested in July, usually yielding
from forty to fifty bushels per acre. The advantage of raising
corn in Texas, compared with raising it in the North, was that
one hand could cultivate from twenty to thirty acres in Texas.
At the end of the season, there was little sound corn for bread,
however, because of the ravages of the weevil.
Cotton was planted the first of May. One man could cultivate
"The breeding of mules was profitable. Mexican mares could be bought for ten
or fifteen dollars apiece. Ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/40/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.