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1850 Texas Census: Who Were The People


Where did they Live?

1850 Texas Census Data and Statistics Tell a Story

From the Frontier Times, Volume 1, 1923 by Hunter J. Marvin

The first census records for the State of Texas was the enumeration of 1850, the republic having been accepted as a State in 1845, at which time its total population was 212,592, or more than one square mile for each person enumerated.

The city of New York that year had a few more than 50,000.


When Teas was admitted as a State in 1845, it claimed considerable territory not now within its confines.  In 1850 it sold to the Federal Government for 10,000,000 all claimed outlying area which reduced it to the size as shown by present-day maps.  The enumeration of 1850 (the first day) was by no means complete.  The country was thinly settled and the Government facilities of seventy-three years ago were not as complete nor as carefully employed as today.  Only twenty-three cities and their population were separately listed in the first census.  They were Austin, 629; Bonham, 211; Castroville (Medina county), 366; Comaltown, 286; Corpus Christi, 533; Crockett, 156; Eagle Pass, (then in Bexar county) 383; Fredericksburg, 754; Galveston 4177; Hortontown, (Comal county), 139; Houston, 2,396; Indiannola, 379; Lavaca, 315; Marshall, 1180; McKinney, 192; Nacogdoches, 468; New Braunfels, 1,298; Palestine, 212; Richmond, 323; Rush, 355; San Antonio, 3,488; Victoria, 806; and Zodiac (Gillespie county) 160.


Only eleven counties were listed, the largest being Harrison, with a population of 11,822, of whom 6,123 were slaves.

Only 154,034 of the people in 1850 were white.  There were 397 free negroes and 58,161 slaves.  The population given for cities and towns include persons of all classes.  Galveston had 678 slaves, Houston, 527; Marshall, 4221; and San Antonia, 220.


Of the white population throughout the State 84,869 were male and 69,165 females.  The persons of foreign birth were shown to be 17,620 of which 4,459 were Mexicans, 8,191 Germans, 1,403 Irish and 1,002 English.  The greatest proportion of the native population came from Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.


The State had only two members of Congress.  The northern or first district, embraced all the territory of a line running from a short distance above the Southwestern corner of Oklahoma, in a semicircle, including Tarrant and Dallas Counties and down the Trinity to the coast some distance west of Galveston.  The second district reached from the upper Panhandle to Brownsville and including everything west of El Paso.  The first members were David S. Kaufman, of Sabinetown, and Timothy Pillsbury, of Brazoria.  Kaufman died January 31, 1851, and was succeeded by Volney E. Howard, of San Antonio.


The enumeration revealed there were only two schools listed as colleges, with seven teachers and 105 pupils.  The public schools numbered 349, with 360 teachers and 7,946 pupils, and the annual income of the schools was $44,088.  There were 10,583 persons, including free negroes who could not read and write.  Under the classification of professions, 701 persons were listed as "blacksmiths and whitesmiths," 1,361 carpenters, 22,054 farmers, 107 boatmen, 8 fishermen, 44 hat and cap manufactures, 155 innkeepers, 152 "rangers" and 11 sailmakers.


Where Can 1850 Texas Census Data be found?

Texas Census Records - Our directory of census records found online for the state of Texas 1850-1940.

Search Texas Census Records & Voters Lists - What census records are available at Ancestry.com for Texas?

1850 Federal Census Slave Schedules - Search the slave schedules at Ancestry.com

Texas Databases at World Vital Records

FamilySearch.org - The LDS (Latter Day Saints) Library in Salt Lake City also maintains the entire set of US Federal census microfilm and these can also be found or ordered for a fee at Family History Libraries located throughout the United States.  You can search for a Family History Library near you using this search The LDS Church is also putting many census records and genealogical indexes online and these can be accessed on their site.  Search at FamilySearch.org at Discover Your Family History and you may also view the entire list of LDS online records here.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - The archives maintained by the Federal US Government contains all United States Federal census records on microfilm.  They are in the process of placing their census collections online.  On their site, you will find an online catalog of available microfilm and a lot of useful information about what is available for census research.  See Clues in Census Records 1850-1930.

Local libraries will often have history and genealogy departments with a (usually incomplete) collection of microfilm available for research and sometimes they will offer their patrons online subscriptions which can be accessed while at the library.

What questions were asked on the US Census?

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