Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 65
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THE WHEAT REGION. tiO
It was the remoteness and inaccessibility to market, that forced the culture of wheat
on the people of Northern Texas, whose nearest water communication with market,
was at Shreveport on Red River, or Houston on Buffalo Bayou, each at an average
distance of more than two hundred and fifty miles.
THE WHEAT REGION.
The climate of Texas is happily adapted to the growth and maturing of the
cereals. The climatic range of wheat is greater than that of any other staple, as it
flourishes alike in high and low latitudes, where the soil and temperature are con-
genial, and becomes a cosmopolitan in cultivation. Its flexibility in respect to
temperature is very great. In higher latitudes its growth is only limited by a tem-
perature sutlicient to ripen it; in lower latitudes, in temperate climates, by an un-
due humidity of atmosphere. The ripening period varies from May, in the Southern
climates in the United States, to July in New-York, and perhaps August in the
extreme Northern districts in which it is grown. A certain degree of temperature
is necessary to ripen wheat, and varies with the climate. Southern latitudes re-
quire a higher temperature than Northern climates, and the temperature required
depends much on the locality, humidity, or dryness of the atmosphere, etc. In Eng-
land the mean temperature required in the ripening months is 590, and two degrees
under that produces a failure of the crop. The high and equable temperature pre-
vailing through the wheat region of Texas during the ripening period-last of April
and first of May-renders the maturing of. the grain sure and rapid. It may be
said that the whole of Northern and interior Texas, and large districts of Eastern
and Western Texas, are wheat-growing regions, though we by no means assert
that the larger portion of the country named will ever produce it as a staple, as
other crops must be more profitable, and at most, wheat will only be grown for
home consumption. The wheat region proper of Texas-that region peculiarly
adapted by climate, temperature, drynes, and elevated locality, the absence of
humidity in the atmosphere, and the strength and capacity of its soil to withstand
drouth, etc., so far as yet developed, extends from 311 and 32 degrees of north
latitude to Red River, including 2 or 2j degrees of latitude, and reaching from the
96th to the 99th degrees of longitude, comprising the present organized counties of
Fannin, Hunt, Grayson, Collin, Dallas, KEutman, Ellis, Navarro, Bill, Johnson,
Tarrant, Parker, Palo Pinto, Young, Wise, Jack, Denton, Cook, and the new
counties of Montague, Clay, Dimmett, Wichita, etc. It has been grown quite suc-
cessfully the past season in McLennan, Bell, Williamson, and Travis, and contiguous
country extending west of the Colorado; and the country embracing those counties
may soon be ranked in the wheat region. The district however, believed to be
best adapted to its growth, making the largest yield, producing the best grain, and
affording the surest crop, lies between the 32 d and 34th parallels, and is confined
to the prairie country. The soil in this district is chiefly a rich black prairie loam,
resting upon strata of limestone, called in the country "white rock," usually from
3 to 10 feet below the surface, but occasionally though rarely cropping out at the
top. The soil, however, varies in color in different localities, and in places, assumes
a bright copper complexion. Its strength and capacity to withstand drouth is be-
lieved to be in proportion to its blackness. The mulatto or copper colored prairies
are more kindly and easily cultivated. The crop ripens on them from ten days to
two weeks earlier than on the black prairies, and where drouths do not prevail, the
yield is equally as good. Wheat grows luxuriantly on the sandy timbered lands
in the same latitudes, but it yields easily to drouth, the heads are not so large, nor
the grain so full and heavy, the quality not so good, the yield not so great, and the
crop not so certain as on the prairies. It is the prairie land that is peculiarly
adapted to wheat in Northern Texas. That the area of the wheat-growing region
as given above will be greatly enlarged, as the capacities of soil for its culture are
tested in other districts, can not-be doubted. Experimental crops have been grown
about Belknap and further west, with the most flattering results, inducing the be-
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/66/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.