The economic development of Wharton County

Date

1956

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Abstract

Purpose: In this account of Wharton county the writer proposes to reveal the underlying economic conditions which have contributed definitely to the growth of the county. The extent of the value of economic factors other than oil and farming in the county is too often overlooked. While the principle of self-sacrifice and courage has been of tremendous importance in the county’s development, leadership in fields of research and development merits some consideration. Chapter I covers the background of various economic areas in the county prior to 1930. In addition to this the chapter explains the purpose, methods, and gives a word picture of the physical nature of the county. Chapter II covers the development of sulphur mining. It tells how sulphur was first discovered and how Texas Gulf Sulphur Company has developed the resources at New Gulf. Chapter III explores the story of oil and gas development throughout the various fields of the county from the first part of the twentieth century through the decade of rapid growth following World War II. The evolution of the farming and ranching industry is explored in Chapter IV. The chapter discusses the story of the Colorado river log raft and its effect upon rural development. The chapter also explores the growth of farming with particular emphasis on rice and cotton. A third important section of the chapter is on the development of the cattle industry. Chapter V discusses the development of highway, railroad, and city transportation in addition to the development of various systems of communication in the county. Chapter VI discusses the development of the several types of retail business and manufacturing in the county over the period from 1930 to 1955. Methods: The data int his study has been collected from various sources, but mainly from Wharton county newspapers and materials in the H. F. Estill Library at Sam Houston State Teachers College. Information has been obtained from people in the county, from official records in the county tax office, from records in the other county offices, from Texas Almanacs, from Census Records, and from numerous pamphlets, books, magazines and newspapers. The historical method of research has been employed throughout this study. Findings: Careful study of Wharton county reveals the speed with which the people have operated in taking advantage of the resources of the county. During the early history of the county it languished in a semi-tropical jungle. As inventions were developed to improve living and working conditions the people of this area were quick to take advantage of them. The development of a smallpox vaccine, the invention of the Frasch process, and the improvement of the internal combustion engine gave impulse to development of such things as the sulphur, oil, and gas resources. Revenues from these minerals have greatly improved the living conditions in the county. Also, the rich soil made it possible for the development of the fine farms and ranches of the county. For these reasons Wharton county and the whole Gulf Coast have great possibilities.

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Keywords

Wharton County Texas, economic development| Texas history

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