The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 560
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Texas Military Board chose Austin, the state capital, to locate the
state foundry where they intended to manufacture ordnance. Austin was
located in Travis County, where the economy was based predominantly on
agriculture, like so much of the rest of the state. Records do not indicate
why the military board selected Austin over Galveston, where Ebenezer
Nichols had already established a foundry and had provided a home to
Gen. John Bankhead Magruder, the commander of the Department of
Texas. If Governor Lubbock and the other board members felt that ord-
nance production was a function of the state, then locating the facility in
the state capital on state land made sense. The foundry's operating capi-
tal came from proceeds of the Texas legislature's disposition of United
States Indemnification bonds, in a potentially controversial decision. It is
possible Lubbock intended to keep the foundry close to the board to de-
flect any questions about the foundry's financial support. Whatever the
reasoning, by the beginning of the summer 1862 the first agent had been
selected and put to work. To acquire the foundry's tools and machinery,
the board secured the release of William Carton from military service in
July 1862, stating that he "is in the employ of the Board as the superin-
tendent of the State Foundry."3
Acting on instructions sent to him in June 1862, Carton began to col-
lect equipment for the Waller Creek facility. Austin was not a manufac-
turing center; the capital city had a saddlery, a wagon factory, tin and
sheet metal works, and other light industry, but no enterprise that could
fabricate ordnance. Cannon production required heavy machinery the
likes of which did not exist in Austin. The intricate business of casting
molten metal required steam-powered lathes and drill presses as well as
experienced men who knew how to use them. Probably because Carton
knew that Galveston had at least one enterprise making steam engines
and boilers, he left Austin for the Gulf Coast. In early July Carton report-
ed the first installment of equipment dedicated to heavy-weapons pro-
duction. From the Star Foundry Company he acquired a steam engine, a
drill press, three pulleys, and an iron flask (a device for securing molds
used in metal casting), paying $3,151. Carton arranged through the
Galveston provost marshal for the heavy machinery's consignment to L.
C. Cunningham and Co., a freight company, for delivery to the foundry
site since no railway line reached all the way into Austin. To augment this
capital inventory, Carton called on Hiram Close, a Galveston industrialist,
who sold Carton three lathes and 835 pounds of two-and-a-half-inch
s Francis R Lubbock, Six Decades an Texas (Austin. Ben C Jones, 1900oo), 363, P. DeCordova on behalf
of the Texas Mlhtary Board,July 31, 1862, box 2-10/304, Foundry Collection Texas received the U S. In-
demnity bonds as a part of the 1850 boundary compromise For further information on the bonds, see E
T. Miller, "The State Finances of Texas," Quateily of the Texas State Hstonrical Assoczatzon, 14 (July, 191o),
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/638/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.