Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Texas

TEXAS, a State in the South Central Division of the North American Union; bounded by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas in Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico; admitted to the Union Dec. 29, 1845; capital, Austin; number of counties, 253; area, 265,780 square miles; pop. (1890) 2,235,527; (1900) 3,048,710; (1910) 3,896,542; (1920) 4,663,228.

Topography—The surface in the N.W. is covered with mountains, which, in proceeding S. E., subside into hills and undulating plateaus, succeeded on approaching the Gulf of Mexico, by low alluvial plains. These extend inland from 20 to 80 miles, are furrowed with deep ravines, and consist for the most part of rich prairie or forest land. The hilly region behind this is formed chiefly of sandstone and limestone ridges, separated by valleys of considerable fertility. In the mountainous region many of the summits are lofty, and covered with snow several months of the year. The general slope of the country gives all the rivers a more or less southerly direction. The Rio Grande, rising in Colorado, forms the W. and S. W. boundary of the state, from the 32d parallel to the sea. The Red river, which has its source in the Staked Plain, forms the greater part of the N. boundary. The other important rivers are the Colorado, the Brazos, the San Jacinto and Trinity, and the Sabine, which, during the greater part of its course, is the boundary between Texas and Louisiana. A long chain of lagoons stretches along the Gulf of Mexico.

Geology—The Alluvial, Tertiary, Cretaceous, and Carboniferous periods are well represented in Texas. The Alluvial extends along the coast, and is bordered by the Tertiary, with wide expansion in the E. N. W. of the Tertiary are extensive tracts of Cretaceous formations, extending W. along the Red river and S. to San Antonio. The W. portion of the state is principally of Carboniferous formations with extensive coal measures.

Mineralogy.—Coal is the most valuable mineral product, but extensive beds of iron, lead, silver, bismuth, and gold are also found. Salt, building stones, clay, arsenic, antimony, mineral oils, and fertilizers are among smaller productions. There are numerous mineral springs and oil wells. In the latter part of 1900 extensive oil fields were discovered near Beaumont, and produced a great boom in the Texas oil industry. The mineral production is of great importance. Its value has been increased in recent years by the enormous development of the petroleum fields. This was especially notable in 1918, 1919 and 1920. The production in 1918 was 38,750,031 barrels valued at $74,867,537. The production of coal is of great importance. There were mined in 1919 about 1,600,000 tons, compared with 2,204,266 tons in 1918. The production of natural gas in 1918 was valued at $3,192,625. Other important mineral products are quicksilver, salt, gypsum, granite, clay products, asphalt, and zinc.

Agriculture.—The soil of Texas is, as a whole, extremely fertile. The two staple products are cotton and maize, both of which are largely cultivated in the lower or coast region, where sugar cane and tobacco also grow luxuriantly. Wheat, rye, oats, and barley thrive best in the black land prairie regions; and both there and at lower levels fruits in almost endless variety are abundant. The forests contain large tracts of oak. The pastures are often covered with the richest natural grasses, and the rearing of cattle is carried on to the greatest advantage. Texas is one of the most important agricultural States. It has over 420,000 farms, with about 120,000,000 acres of farm land, of which about 30,000,000 acres is improved land. In the arid region a large area has been reclaimed under the Federal Reclamation Act. The acreage, value, and production of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 6,760,000 acres, production 202,800,000 bushels, value $239,304,000; oats, 2,250,000 acres, production 94,500,000 bushels, value $60,480,000; wheat, 1,900,000 acres, production 31,350,000 bushels, value $62,700,000; hay, 662,000 acres, production 1,258,000 tons, value $22,644,000; potatoes, 52,000 acres, production 3,796,000 bushels, value $7,972,000; peanuts, 222,000 acres, production 5,550,000 bushels, value $13,209,000; sorghums, 1,798,000 acres, production 59,334,000 bushels, value $65,667,000; cotton, 10,346,000 acres, production 2,700,000 bales, value $472,500,000; rice, 218,000 acres, production 6,998,000 bushels, value $19,594,000.

Manufactures.—In 1914 there were 5,084 manufacturing establishments employing 74,853 wage earners, with an invested capital of $238,544,000. The amount paid in wages was $44,821,000; the value of the materials used $253,144,000; and the value of the product $361,279,000.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 546 National banks in operation, having $58,473,000 in capital, $42,237,000 in outstanding circulation, and $158,327,000 in United States bonds. There were also 834 State banks, with $25,080,000 in capital, and $8,577,000 surplus. The exchanges at the United States clearing house at Dallas and Houston for the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $2,291,966,000.

Transportation.—The railway mileage in the State in 1919 was 20,074.

Education.—There are about 1,000,000 pupils enrolled in the public elementary schools, and about 65,000 in the public high schools. The teachers number about 30,000. There are separate schools for white and colored children, and the employment of illiterate children under 14 years of age in factories, etc., is prohibited. There are six normal schools. The most important universities and colleges are the University of Texas at Austin, Agricultural and Mechanical College at College Station, College of Industrial Arts at Denton, Baylor University at Waco, Baylor College at Belton, Texas Christian College at Fort Worth, Southern Methodist University at Dallas, Howard Payne College at Brownwood, Southwestern University at Georgetown, Austin College at Sherman, and Rice Institute at Houston.

Finance.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1919 amounted to $21,287,911, and the disbursements to $20,641,335. There was a balance at the beginning of the year of $4,035,840, and at the end of the year of $4,682,416. The bonded debt amounts to about $4,000,000. The assessed value of real property is about $2,000,000,000.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Methodist Episcopal, South; Regular Baptist, South; Regular Baptist, Colored; Roman Catholic; African Methodist; Disciples of Christ; Methodist Episcopal; Cumberland Presbyterian; Presbyterian, South; Lutheran, General Council; Protestant Episcopal; and Primitive Baptist.

State Government.—The Governor is elected for a term of two years. Legislative sessions are held biennially and are unlimited in length. The Legislature consists of two houses, the Senate composed of 31 members and the House of 142 members. There are 18 Representatives in Congress.

History.—The first settlement in Texas was made at Taleta by the Spanish in 1682, 12 miles north of the present El Paso. It afterward in conjunction with Coahuila became one of the States of the Mexican Confederation. Several colonies of American citizens, invited by the Mexicans, settled in the central and E. section, and gradually increased in numbers. When Santa Ana overthrew the federal system Zacatecas rebelled but was soon subdued. Texas then revolted from the Mexican government, and in 1836 declared itself independent. Santa Ana attempted to reduce it, but failed, being himself beaten and taken prisoner at the battle of San Jacinto by General Houston. Texas now managed its own affairs as an independent republic, till 1845, when it became one of the United States, and thus gave rise to the war which proved disastrous to Mexico. It joined the Confederates during the Civil War, and was the last to submit. It was under military control till 1870, when it was restored to the Union.

Collier's 1921 Texas and Oklahoma.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921

Collier's 1921 Texas - cement works.jpg
Photo, Ewing Galloway