The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 45
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D. A. Orviss: Texas Merchant
to have lost all past profits in decline of gold this winter; which
amounts to nothing less than losing their season's labor 8 perhaps
more."68 Freight costs and prices of commodities advanced caus-
ing items such as flour to bring approximately fifty cents more
per barrel in Calvert in March, 1870, than before the decline in
gold.69 Orviss stated that it was difficult to make a profit from
flour and that "Our only recourse is to get a good style of X &
XX that we can sell for XXX 8c Choice. Could not get our money
back on Fine or Shy sf."70 Other effects of "Black Friday" and
the crisis it caused were a tightening of the credit, bankruptcy of
some banking houses, increasing prices on all merchandise, and
difficulty in buying items without coin. Currency was inflated, a
fact that caused debtors to have to pay back more than they had
borrowed. The results were virtually devastating to the small
store owner such as Orviss. The panic of 1873 and inferior cotton
crops around Calvert completed what the attempted cornering
of gold had begun: Orviss's financial ruination.
At times, Orviss became discouraged with business and searched
for a potential buyer. On one occasion, he cancelled his subscrip-
tion to the New York Daily Bulletin because he wanted to quit
the mercantile store.71 Orviss bought a farm and planned to cul-
tivate it but instead rented to tenants for one-third of the corn
and one-fourth of the cotton.72 Bad debts, meager harvests and
perhaps the loss of his fighting spirit forced Orviss to discharge
his clerks and reduce the operation of his store. When he received
an offer in July, 1874, to accept a well-paying position with a
wholesale firm in Galveston, Orviss decided to accept. On Sep-
tember 1, 1874, he gave up his Calvert business and moved to
Galveston.73 This decision brought to a close a part of his life in
which he shared in the experiences of conquering a new country
-or being conquered.
6sD. A. Orviss to J. Hunter and Son, March 2, 1870 (D. A. Orviss Letters,
Archives, University of Texas Library).
69D. A. Orviss to L. H. Durham, Richland Crossing, March 21, 1870, ibid.
70D. A. Orviss to James Brenan, New Orleans, March 7, 1870o, ibid.
71D. A. Orviss to Editors, New York Daily Bulletin, June 25, 1872, ibid.
72D. A. Orviss to E. A. Bush, September 8, 1873, ibid.
73D. A. Orviss to John L. Croom, Matagorda, July 18, 1874; D. A. Orviss to
E. A. Bush, March 19, 1874, ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/63/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.