The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 455
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Cotton Marketing in Antebellum Texas
Meanwhile Mills forced his brother, Judge William Mills, to sell
land to pay Richard Patrick and Company, New York, for goods sold
to a Mr. Rice for whom Judge Mills had vouched. Robert Mills him-
self was often prepared to vouch for the credit of men he believed in.
When a creditor protested Mills' continuing to furnish supplies to
Stephen Winston, Mills replied that Mr. Winston was a man of re-
spectability and good intentions. If he considered a debtor solvent,
Mills might accept drafts to help the man "complete his stock and keep
his business a-going," so that he could pay all his creditors."o
Within a little less than four decades, Texas cotton-grown from
seed brought to the Texas frontier by caravan, by ox-cart, by man on
horseback, or by ship, planted in lush soil with the energies of an
immigrant making a new home, and nurtured by the elements of her
vast region-was supplying industrial areas of the United States and
of foreign lands. Such expansion could not have occurred without the
activities, the optimism and gambles, the profits and the losses of the
cotton merchants. Changes would soon be coming. The uncertain
and expensive credit system would still be dominated by commission
houses, merchants, and money lenders even though the frustration of
log-cabin living had already been largely replaced by more comfortable
houses and even mansions. The river landing and villages would hear
less often the echo of the whistle of the steamboat, for the railroads
would line up the towns along their routes as they carried Texas cotton
and produce more certainly and swiftly to market. The communication
lag would yield before regular mail service and the telegraph. How-
ever, before most of these developments could proceed the War be-
tween the States would disrupt all trade patterns and permanently
alter the procedures for marketing cotton.
May 27, July 17, 1850; Johnston to Dean, September 22, 1850, May 26, 1851, February 18,
August 28, 1852. See also Ballinger's notes from Deeds of Trust in Book G of Deeds,
Bonds, pp. 250-254, Cherokee County; Book M, pp. 333-337, September 22, 1859, Hen-
derson County; Book E of Deeds, pp. 302o-305, Smith County, December 10, 1852. Addicks,
Van Dusenz and Smith to W. P. Ballinger and Tom Jack, February 20o, March 23, 1857,
January, September 1860; Addicks, Van Dusenz and Smith, vs. Johnston, Dewbury and
Gideon, June, 1860, in Undated Papers for 1859-January, 1860, September, 1860, A1/77,
Ballinger Papers. Robert Mills vs. Johnston and Dewberry-Judgment March 2, 1859,
in Undated Bundle of 1858, December, 1859, under March folder; May 3, 1859, in May
folder; and July folder, Ballinger Papers.
6oR. and D. G. Mills to Richard Patrick and Company, January 13, February 17, 1855,
January 30o, 1856; R. and D. G. Mills to John O. Woodruff and Company, March 23, 1855,
Ballinger Papers. R. and D. G. Mills, although reputed to be worth millions in the late
1850's, went down in the debacle of the War between the States. This failure, however, is
outside the scope of the present study.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/501/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.