True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 184
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184 4TRUE STORIES OF OLD
ucts that were brought here to be marketed and all goods for
the interior, purchased in Houston, were taken back over this
bridge. Farmers and merchants from as far north as Waco
came to Houston to sell their produce and to purchase their
goods. Both for the sake of company and for mutual protection
they traveled in companies of four or five, and it was no unusual
thing to see a row of wagons, each drawn by from eight to sixteen
oxen, crossing "Long Bridge." Then, too, Main Street and
Market Square would present a strange sight when crowded with
oxen and ox wagons. It used to be a hard pull from the end of
the bridge on this side to Louisiana Street. Preston Street has
been cut down and graded since then, but in the early days it
was uphill from the bridge to Louisiana Street, and it was all
deep white sand. It was a regular sandhill and a big wagon
loaded with several bales of cotton had need of all the oxen
obtainable to get through safely. I have seen teams doubled up
more than once and two or three trips made to get the wagons
Of course, from over on the Brazos the wagons came in over
the San Felipe Road, but the great bulk of the commerce of
Texas passed over the Preston Street bridge. All the cotton
raised in Texas at that time was brought to Houston and sold
here and all the goods consumed in the interior were bought
here. The cotton crops in those days were small affairs as compared
with those of today, hence it was possible for the Houston
merchants to finance the whole crop. Of course the fact that
very little cash was paid out, the cotton being traded for both
goods and cash, rendered it possible for even a small merchant
to do a big business and in this way the foundations were laid
for some of the big fortunes many of the Houstonians made.
In these days a favorite sport among the boys was sledding.
The sleds were made by rounding off the ends of two pieces of
plank, to serve as runners, and then joining them together by
nailing a stout piece in front and a broad piece behind to serve
as a seat. A long rope was attached to the front end and the
whole thing was ready for use. When an ox wagon came along
we would slip up behind it, pass the rope around the rear axle,
or whatever it is called, and then drawing it far enough back so
as to be able to sit on the sled and hold the loose end, we would
mount the sled and ride to our heart's content, or until the
driver discovered us. If he showed hostile intentions, all we
would have to do was to turn loose the end of the rope, grab
our sled and get away. It was lots of fun then, but looking back
on it now, I can see that there was lots of hard work about it, too.
But I have wandered from the point I wanted to make, that of
showing how appropriate it would be for the Cotton Exchange,
the Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, or all of these organizations,
to take steps to mark appropriately the point where
the commerce of the State of Texas passed, long before the
days of railroads.
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/184/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .