The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 126
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
entrenched that their control of state politics went virtually unchal-
lenged for a century.2
In 188o most Texans lived in rural areas; Galveston, the largest
city, had a population of only 22,248. Growing cotton and corn or rais-
ing livestock provided the occupation of most household heads. The
value of farm production totaled $64,204,329, or $374 per farm. Cot-
ton, the most important cash crop, accounted for $39,458,916 of that
amount. Cattlemen still trailed their livestock to market. The 3,244
miles of railroad would have to be expanded before the rancher could
move his cattle by train from most areas of the state, or before the
farmer could plant cotton beyond the ooo meridian and still be able
to market his crop profitably.3
By tradition and by necessity, Texans of that period were primarily
tillers of the soil and raisers of livestock. The fourteen nationally char-
tered banks-the constitution prohibited chartering of state banks-
had a combined capital of only $1,420,000, hardly sufficient to finance
an expanding population and agricultural economy, both of which
Texas had, much less provide the means to develop the manufacturing
sector. Manufacturing on a very small scale did exist, of course. The
2,996 plants-and that included even the local bakers-had total capi-
tal of $9,245,561, employed 12,159 workers, and paid annual wages of
$3,343,087-or approximately $275 per employee-and produced
goods valued at $2o,719,928.4
Over the next two decades both the population and the economy
grew. By 1900oo the former had increased to 3,048,71o, but 83 percent
of the people still lived in rural areas, and the largest city, San Anto-
nio, counted only 53,000 souls within its confines. The 9,867 miles of
railroad linked most parts of Texas to a national market. Trailing cat-
tle long distances was no longer necessary. The increased trackage
opened up millions of acres for cultivation, principally for cotton. The
2United States, Depaltment of the Interior, Census Office, Statistics of the Population
of the United States at the Tenth Census, 188o . . . (Washington, D.C., 1883), 63o.
aJohn S. Spratt, The Road to Spindletop: Economic Change in Texas, 1875-I901 (Aus-
tin, 1970), 29o, 294; Charles P. Zlatkovich, Texas Railroads: A Record of Construction
and Abandonment (Austin, 1981), 50; U.S., Population . .. i88o, p. 344-
4United States, Department of the Interior, Census Office, Report upon the Statistics of
Manufacturers, Compiled from Returns Received at the Tenth Census, r88o (Washington,
D.C., 1883), 176, 179; Avery Luvere Carlson, A Monetary and Banking History of Texas,
from the Mexican Regime to the Present Day, 1821-1929 (Fort Worth, Tex., 193o), 43;
Joseph M. Grant and Lawrence L. Crum, The Development of State-Chartered Banking
in Texas, from Predecessor Systems until 197o (Austin, 1978), 27-3o. The capital of the
few state banks chartered before the 1876 constitution and of the eighty-seven private
banks is not available, but it was certainly not very large.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/162/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.