The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 33
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A Trip to Texas in 855 33
the air. The capitol building, which was destroyed by fire in
1881, was built of this stone. Some of the houses were built of
rough concrete at the reasonable cost of a dollar and a half per
cubic perch for both labor and materials. Lumber was expensive,
being hauled from Bastrop County, more than twenty miles
away, and costing three dollars at the mill. Cedar, being plentiful,
was cheaper than pine.' From Bastrop to Austin the common mode
of making fences was by planting cedar pickets in a trench about
eight inches deep, sinking one picket deeper than the others at
regular distances, and binding the whole together at the top by
nailing a strong piece of cedar on the tops of the pickets. The
fence was not handsome, but it was quite durable. The Osage
orange, called the "bodarc" (bois d'arc) in Texas, was indigenous
to the state and fine hedges could be formed of it within five years.
General supplies were brought into Austin from Lavaca at a
cost of $1.50 to $3.00 per hundredweight. All lands around Austin
were priced high, and building lots on the principal streets of
the town commanded high prices.
Ham White said that he thought the best business in Texas
was that of the money-lender. Four per cent a month could readily
be had on good security. Wherever he turned, John James could
see opportunities to make money.8 He soon learned that a good
lawyer could do well, because so many Texas lawyers were said to
?Pine was abundant in East Texas on the Sabine and Trinity rivers. In Bastrop
County, pine grew along the Colorado River. West of the Colorado, timber was
scarce. Middle Texas had little timber. Post oak abounded near the Brazos River.
Cedar grew in large compact bodies called cedarbrakes. Cedar land brought a
higher price than any other. Cedar was sawed into boards for fencing and for
the interior of houses. Fences were sometimes built of cedar rails. It was consid-
ered economical to buy cheaper land and buy rails for fencing-the black locust,
the China tree, and the catalpa. The China tree, which flourished in Texas, was
good for shade and ornament, and made good furniture. Ibid.
sJames was certain that the breeding of hogs would yield more profit than
any other kind of farming. Hogs could live through the winter on acorns in
the woods. Between acorn crops, a little corn could be fed. If not fed regularly,
hogs became wild, but they could be caught with dogs. The increase was very
great. Sugar cane was an excellent fattener of hogs. Cut in October, it supplied
feed for months, lying in heaps on the ground. Fattened on sugar cane, hogs
could be raised very profitably on the coast. The hams could be salted and the
rest could be converted into lard by the steam-tank process. From the San Jacinto
River, for instance, pork products could be shipped three time a week to Gal-
veston whence they could be shipped twice a week to New Orleans and once a
week to New York. Few cotton planters produced their own pork, therefore pork
always commanded a high price. James found good cured hams in Texas as
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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/m1/45/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.