History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 177
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tfHI'1'ORY OP' TE'XAS.id
The area covered by the Gulf Slope includes
all the region east and south of the
western and northern boundary of the Grand
Prairie plateau, which stretches southward
from the Red river to the Colorado, and
thence westward to the Rio Grande. In area
this comprises fully one-half of the State and
by far tlle most thickly settled portion.
The Central Basin includes all that portion
of tlle State west and north of the Grand
Prairie, extending to the Gaudalupe miountains
on the west.
The Western Mountain System covers the
remainder of trans-Pecos Texas.
The Gulf Slope is in a certain degree a
continuation of the topographic and geologic
features of thle States eastward which border
upon the Gulf, but in some ways its differences
are as pronounced as its resemblances.
Thus, with the exception of a little marshy
ground in the southeastern corner, there is
none along thle entire coast. Differences in
amount and character of rainfall and of teinperature
have also resulted in the production
of a somewhat different topography, especially
toward the Rio Grande, and the soils of
certain formations are of far greater fertility
than those derived from rocks of similar age
in the other States, owing to peculiar conditions
The different sediments which now appear
covering the surface of this area were laid
down by the waters of a great sea, which in
its present restricted basin we call the Gulf
Beginning at the coast in low and almost
level prairies the ascent is gradual toward
the interior, in many places not exceeding
one foot per mile for the first fifty miles.
Through this comparatively level plain, which
comprises the exposure of the strata embraced
under the general name of " coast
clays, " the streams move sll,,gi-lmly inl tortuous
cllannels, and for the most part through
an open prairie country, the only timber be.
ing along such water (.ourses and in scattered
inotts or islands. As we pass inland this is
succeeded by other belts which, having been
longer subjected to erosion, show a surface
more and more.undulatilng as we recede from
the gulf. The ascent is also more iapid, and
some elevations of as iniuch as 700 feet
are found, as at Ghent mountain, Cllerokee
county; but such are unusual south of
the Grand prairie. This character of country
is continuous from the gulf to the western
scarp of the Grand prairie, east of the Brazos
river. West of the Colorado river the undolating
country ends at the foot of the southernl
scarp of the Grand prairie, which is a
line of elevations known as the Balcones,
from the top of which the Grand prairie
stretches away north and west to the Rio
Grande. The eastern portion of these belts
is heavily timbered, but throughout the
greater portion-west of thle . ninety-sixth
meridian-the quantity of timber rapidly decreases
and the prairie conditions become
almost universal. The general elevation east
and south of the Grand prairie is less than
The Grand prairie itself is a great plateau,
preserved in its present extent by the resistence
to erosion afforded by its capping of
limestones. and is a marked topographic feature
of the State. Beginning at Red river
it extends in a gradually widening belt to the
south, until its western border meets the
Colorado in Lampasas county, from which
point it is contracted rapidly until it finds its
narrowest exposure in crossing the river in
Travis county north of Austin. From this
point west it broadens rapidly, until it is
merged into the mountainous trans-Pecos
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/182/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .