Wood County Late 19th Century

WOOD COUNTY TEXAS.  This is the most westerly of the counties along the line of the Texas & Pacific Railway having extensive forests of pine timber. All of the county is heavily wooded but the eastern half contains the great pineries from which the supplies for the large number of saw mills are drawn. In the western half the forests partake more of the characteristics of the timber of the black land counties, further west. The general surface is more level than in the other woodland counties, though there is little material variation as to soils, climate, temperature, rainfall, or yield of crops per acre. A larger part of the area, which comprises 702 square miles, can, however, be profitably cultivated. There are about 50,000 acres, in 1,400 farms, under cultivation, producing annually a value about $600,000. The harvest generally consists of 10,000 to 11,000 bales of cotton, 400,000 bushels of corn, 50,000 bushels of oats, 30,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of molasses, 6,000 tons of cotton seed, and orchard and garden products to the value of $35,000 $40,000. As in all of the woodland counties, the raising of live stock is part ordinary farming operations. The live stock in the county, in 1897, was valued at $220,301 and consisted of 5,744 horses and mules, 9,607 head of cattle, 1,211 head of sheep and goats, and 12,465 head of hogs.

The county was organized in 1850 and has 14,000 inhabitants, 3,000 of whom are residents of Mineola, the junction the Texas & Pacific Railway, the International & Great Northern Railway and the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railway; 500 of Quitman, the county seat; 400 of Winnsboro, and 250 of Hawkins, smaller trading points in the county. The assessed values of taxable property, in 1897, amounted to $2,695,113, of which $1,619,538 was assessed against real estate, $499,465 against railways, which have 49 23/100 miles of tracks in the county. The school census reports 3,870 children of school age, for whose education 61 houses are maintained and teachers are employed.

The industrial pursuits run mainly in the manufacture of lumber, railroad ties, shingles, etc., there being about 17 sawmills at work . The other enterprises, principally located at Mineola, consist of 81 mercantile establishments, 1 bank, 1 flour mill, 2 fire brick and tile factories, 1 cannery, 1 furniture factory, and the repair shops of the railways.  Improved lands range in price from $5 to $25 per acre; unimproved $2 to $10 per acre.

Source: Along the line of the Texas & Pacific Ry.,  published by the Passenger Department of the Texas & Pacific Railway, Dallas Texas, corrected to and reissued November 1909, pages 35-36. (Digitized version accessed from Google Book Search May 7, 2012)

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