The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 296
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
residential segregation, however, it does not automatically follow that
rates of residential segregation in given towns would indicate accompa-
nying economic and social subordination. If social and economic differ-
ences are great in relatively non-segregated towns, researchers must con-
front the reality that residential segregation may not play a role in main-
taining minority group subordination. It then becomes their responsibil-
ity to determine the underlying factors that are actually responsible. In
addition to learning negative dominant group attitudes and discrimina-
tory practices arising from them, it is important to study cultural charac-
teristics of the minority population to determine to what extent they
independently contribute to group subordination and/or resistance to
assimilation to the values of the dominant group. This study compares
residential segregation in early Fort Davis and Alpine and addresses
their implications for Anglo-Mexican relations in both towns.
The civilian settlement of Fort Davis sprung up with the establishment
of the U.S. military fort of the same name in 1854. However, both the
fort and adjacent civilian settlement were abandoned during the Civil
War, with reoccupation of the fort and establishment of a new civilian
community occurring in 1867. From 1867 through 1884, all enlisted
personnel were "buffalo soldiers" commanded by Anglo officers. Buffalo
troops in 1885 were reassigned to Arizona and replaced by white enlist-
ed personnel. This military population resulted in a high rate of inter-
marriage of both Anglo and black males with Mexican females and the
development of specialized commercial enterprises, notably saloons,
gambling establishments and brothels." The construction and mainte-
nance of the fort required many civilian employees who received high
wages relative to those available for comparable occupations elsewhere
in West Texas.4 The decommissioning of the fort in 1891 caused consid-
erable economic distress. The major functions of the town thereafter
were those of county seat for Jeff Davis County, trade center for the sur-
rounding ranches, and tourism.
Alpine was established as Murphysville in 1882 on the just-built
Southern Pacific transcontinental railroad, which bypassed Fort Davis. It
became the county seat of Brewster County in 1887 and received its pre-
sent name in the following year. Initially it served as a shipment point
for livestock and a commercial center for surrounding ranches. After
the turn of the century it also became a supply and shipping center for
quicksilver mines in the southern part of the county.
'Lucy Miller Jacobson and Mildred Bloys Nored, Jeff Davis County, Texas (Fort Davis. Fort
Davis Historical Society, 1993), 67.
Robert Wooster, History of Fort Davis (Albuquerque: U.S. Department of the Interior, 199o),
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/353/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.