The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 323
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Analysis of Membership of Texas Secession Convention 323
Fortunately such information may be found in the manuscript
returns of the Federal census for 186o. Data from these returns
permit various analyses of the characteristics of the members of
the convention, which is the purpose of the present study.5
The ages for 176 members of the Texas convention have been
ascertained by the study of these manuscript census returns. The
group was comparatively young, forty years being the median
age." The ages listed in the census returns range from twenty-
four years (for A. M. Hobby of Refugio and Charles Stewart of
Falls) to sixty-five years (for Pryor Lea of Goliad and J. I. Burton
of Houston). Twenty members of the group, or 11.3 per cent,
were in the age group 20-29; 37.6 per cent in the 30-39 bracket;
34.1 per cent in the 40-49 group; and 12.5 per cent from 50-59
years. Only eight members, or 4.5 per cent, were over sixty years
One hundred and sixty-one members, or 90.9 per cent of the
convention, were born in slaveholding states. Eleven members, or
6.2 per cent, were natives of free states and five members, or 2.9
per cent, were born in foreign nations. More delegates were born
in Tennessee than in any other state, forty-three members, or 24.3
per cent, listing that state as their birthplace. The only other
states in which twenty or more convention members were born
convention than that of most other seceding states, as the Journal of the Convention,
Appendix III, 405-407, does give a list of the delegates with nativity, age, date
immigrated, occupation, and post office. The list was originally published in the
Austin State Gazette on February 9, 1861, and reprinted with corrections on March
30, 1861. It does seem, however, to contain numerous errors and includes no infor-
mation concerning economic status of the delegates.
bFor a thorough study and explanation of the use of these returns in historical
studies, see Barnes F. Lathrop, "History from the Census Returns," Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, LI, 293-312. The manuscript Texas returns for Schedule No.
1, Free Inhabitants, and Schedule No. 2, Slave Inhabitants, of the United States
Census, 1860, are in the National Archives, Washington, D. C. The writer used
microfilm copies in the Library of the University of Texas, Austin. The manuscript
returns for Schedule No. 4, Productions of Agriculture, and Schedule No. 5, Products
of Industry, which were also used in this study, are in the Texas State Archives,
Austin, but again microfilm copies in possession of the State Archives were used by
GThe Texas convention was the youngest group of any secession convention in the
lower South. See Ralph Ancil Wooster, The Secession Conventions of the Lower
South: A Study of Their Membership (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas,
1954), 307, which shows that the Mississippi convention, the next youngest body, had
a median age of forty-two years.
7See Appendix I for the ages of individual members.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/386/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.