Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 47
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CENTRAL TEXAS HISTORY 47
Waco's first train was the Waco & Northwestern,
also called the Waco Tap, built from Bremond in 1871 to
connect to the H&TC. The H&TC was completed be-
tween Brenham and Austin in 1871. The town of Gid-
dings, named for Jabez D. Giddings of Washington
County, a Texas transportation pioneer, was estab-
lished in Lee County as a shipping point. Many of the
early settlers of Giddings were Wends from nearby
The International and Great Northern (I&GN),
which some wags called "the Insignificant and Good for
Nothing," reached Rockdale in 1874 and stretched to
Georgetown and Austin by 1876. By 1875, the H&TC and
the Texas & Pacific Railway (T&P) reached Dallas. The
International Railroad laid tracks north out of Hearne,
extending across Robertson County the same year. San
Antonio welcomed its first train, the Galveston, Harris-
burg and San Antonio line, also called the Sunset Line,
on February 19, 1877. In 1881, the I&GN reached San
The tracks of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe
Railway Co., (GC&SF) originating in Galveston,
reached Cameron, Milam County, and Belton in 1881.
Where its tracks crossed those of the I&GN, the town of
Milano Junction, now Milano, Milam County, devel-
The GC&SF also finished the stretch of tracks be-
tween Temple and Fort Worth in 1881. The same year,
the I&GN extended from Austin to Laredo, and the
Texas & St. Louis of Texas connected Corsicana with
Even after railroads linked most of the larger towns
in Central Texas, stagecoaches transported passengers
and freight from outlying areas to the rail stops. A typ-
ical rural stage stop was the limestone structure built
by Marsden Ogletree southwest of Gatesville at pres-
ent-day Copperas Cove in 1878. It served not only as a
stop on the Lampasas-to-Belton stagecoach line, but
also as family home, feed store and, from 1879, post
Stagecoaches and trains were popular targets for
bandits such as Sam Bass. Originally from Indiana,
Bass worked as a teamster around Denton. He went
north to Nebraska with a cattle drive and fell in with a
group of outlaws. After the gang held up a Union Pacif-
ic train in the fall of 1877, Bass returned to North Texas.
He planned to rob a bank in Round Rock, just north of
Austin, in 1878, but one of the gang members alerted the
Texas Rangers. When the Bass gang rode into Round
Rock on July 19, Rangers confronted them. In the ensu-
ing gunfire, Bass was mortally wounded.
While cotton and railroads surged across Texas,
immigration continued to add new flavors to the Cen-
tral Texas stew. During the 1860s, two Texans, Travis
Shaw and John Hester, journeyed to Denmark to re-
cruit Danes to settle in Central Texas. More than 20
Danish families followed the men back to Texas and set-
tled about eight miles west of Lexington in present-day
Lee County. So many other Danes joined them in the
next two decades, the northern part of Lee County was
called "Little Denmark." There is no longer a recogniz-
able Danish colony in Lee County; it was gradually
absorbed into the surrounding community.
The first Polish immigrant to settle in Bremond was
Joseph Bartula, who arrived with his family in 1875
from Galveston. More Polish families followed, and the
Bremond area soon became the focus of a maior wave
of Polish immigration. By 1877, Bremond was home to
about 50 Polish families. Polish settlers also were living
in Marlin, Falls County, as early as 1870.
Bryan first welcomed Polish immigrants in 1873.
The influx of Polish families, coming either from other
Polish communities in Texas or directly from Poland,
continued for three decades.
As the H&TC laid tracks out of Millican after the
Civil War, Isaac, Lehman and Philip Sanger were right
behind it. The brothers followed the H&TC from Bryan
to Hearne, then to Calvert, Bremond, Kosse, Groesbeck
and Corsicana, opening stores one after the other. By
1872, the Sangers were in Dallas. (Prior to the war, they
had opened stores in McKinney, Decatur and Weather-
ford.) Later they opened branches in Waco, Sherman,
Fort Worth and Clarendon.
Farmers, encouraged by the drop in freight rates
with the coming of the railroads, were becoming in-
creasingly restive. Rates were now going up, commodi-
ty prices were decreasing and land was getting more
expensive. Feeling the economic pinch, many farmers
blamed big business, particularly big railroads, and pe-
The Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the
Grange, organized its first Texas chapter at Salado,
about 40 miles north of Austin in Bell County, in 1873. By
1877, they claimed 50,000 members statewide. The
group's aims were to buy less, sell more and make their
farms self-sufficient. They urged crop diversification
and discontinuation of the credit system. However,
their goals were contrary to the trends in the economy,
and the farms were often too small to support a family.
What were needed were larger farms, fewer farmers
and more machinery to increase efficiency. The
Grange planned to establish a network of stores, mills
and factories that could charge members lower prices
than most retail stores through cooperative buying and
selling agreements. The gins, warehouses and tanne-
ries they established were poorly managed and under-
capitalized, and they overextended the granting of
credit. Farmers, not merchants, were installed as man-
agers, and they made many disastrous mistakes. By
1879, there were only 4,000 members left.
The Grange did, however, give voice to the farmers'
frustrations at being at the mercy of big business,
although its spokesmen tended not to distinguish be-
tween corporations and monopolies. As many as half
the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1876
were Grangers. They pressed for restraints on cor-
porate actions, particularly railroads; denying state
agencies the power to charter banks; reduction of
taxes; lower salaries for public officials; biennial legis-
lative sessions rather than annual; and a homestead law
protecting a certain portion of property from forced
sale. The constitution they helped create is basically the
one governing Texas today, although in a considerably
amended version. The Grange also influenced the de-
velopment of agricultural experiment stations. And it
paved the way for the Farmer's Alliance and the Popul-
ist political movement.
The Grand State Farmers' Alliance, founded in 1875
in Lampasas County, was reorganized in Poolville,
Parker County, in 1879. By 1886, it had become a nation-
al organization with more than 3,000 chapters. Its basic
purposes, as with the Grange, were improving the wel-
fare of the farmer and promoting agriculture. The alli-
ance's co-op stores suffered the same fate as those of
the Grange, and for the same reasons. In 1887 it merged
with another national farm organization.
Opportunities for higher education in Central Texas
expanded following Reconstruction. Southwestern Uni-
versity, Georgetown, was formed in 1873 by five Texas
Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South,
from a merger of Rutersville College, Fayette County;
Wesleyan College, San Augustine; McKenzie College,
Clarksville; and Soule University, Chappell Hill. The
new university, initially named Texas University, en-
rolled 63 men by its second year. The name was
changed to Southwestern University on Feb. 6, 1875. Af-
ter the I&GN reached Georgetown in 1875, enrollment
increased to 109. A Female Department was added in
1878, enrolling 52 women. By 1900, total enrollment
Southwestern joined Baylor University, founded in
Waco in 1849, and St. Mary's University, which had been
operating in San Antonio since 1852.
The first public college in the state was founded
near Bryan in 1876. Named the Agricultural and Me-
chanical College, it evolved into today's Texas A&M
University (see article, "The University of Texas and
San Antonio was a colorful crossroads in the dec-
ades following Reconstruction. Poet Sidney Lanier de-
scribed the view from the Commerce Street bridge over
the San Antonio River in the early 1870s - canvas-cov-
ered "bathing houses"; covered freight wagons drawn
by 14-mule teams; burros bearing cargos of mesquite
firewood; and many odd and distinctive characters.
Construction began in San Antonio in 1876 on a per-
manent military post, called at first "Post of San Anto-
nio," later renamed in honor of Sam Houston. The fort's
first building, the Quadrangle, opened in December
1879. A hospital and officers' quarters, begun in 1881,
opened in 1886. The 4th Cavalry brought a famous
"guest" to Fort Sam Houston in 1886: Apache chief Ge-
ronimo and his followers, including wives and children,
camped there for more than a month as prisoners.
San Antonio's first water system was completed in
1878, using water pumped from the San Antonio River.
Later an artesian well was added to the system.
Also in 1878, mule-drawn streetcars began operat-
CENTRAL TEXAS HISTORY
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/51/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.