The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 25
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Wealthy Texans, 1870
neighbor John McNeel lost almost as heavily. In 186o McNeel was
listed in the federal census with 136 slaves and a total property hold-
ing of $316,550; in 1870 no property was listed for him in the census
enumeration. Similar losses were suffered by planters W. B. Davenport
of Jackson County, who owned 55 slaves and $115,66o in 186o, but
held only $2,600 in 1870; John Rugeley of Matagorda County, who
owned 62 slaves and $117,000 in 186o, but only $6,400 in 1870; C. W.
Tait of Colorado County, who owned 63 slaves and $119,o026 in 186o,
but only $6,545 in 1870; and Thomas Clictt of Austin County who
owned ioo slaves and personal property of $150,000 in 186o, but only
$500 in 1870.
The loss of property which occurred during the war years and
Reconstruction was not confined to planters and farmers. New York-
born merchant John Adriance of Brazoria County, for example, had
a total property holding of $112,326 on the eve of the Civil War. In
the 1870 census, however, he was listed with only $6oo in total prop-
erty. Ammon Underwood, native of Massachusetts and a resident of
Brazoria County, was another of the northern-born Texas merchants
who suffered heavily from the war, losing over $200,000 in property
during the 186o's. Merchant J. H. Mackleroy of Nacogdoches County
also sustained major economic reverses in the decade, his total property
listed at $129,000 in 186o but only $980 in 1870. George N. Phillips,
a physician in Montgomery County, was yet another of Texas' ante-
bellum wealthy who sustained heavy personal losses. In 186o, he held
$18o,ooo in property, but in 1870 he possessed only $16,ooo.
This is not to imply that all of the antebellum wealthy Texans suf-
fered major economic reversals in the war decade. While the war had
ended the institution of slavery, cotton was still a major money crop
in the state and many planters and farmers were able to make the
transition from bonded to free labor without a devastating economic
loss. The opening up of the cattle industry with the great drives north
to market allowed stockmen and ranchers such as Richard King and
Mifflin Kenedy to expand their activities beyond the limits of the state.
The rapid increase in population after the war as a result of heavy
migration from the older South afforded ambitious merchants new
census data must be used with some care and with the realization that errors and
omissions are possible. For a full description of the census materials and their use see
Barnes F. Lathrop, "History from the Census Returns," Southwestern Historical Quar-
terly, LI (April, 1948), 293-312, and Sam B. Warner, Jr., Streetcar Suburbs: The Process
of Growth in Boston, 187o-zgoo (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), 169-178.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/37/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.