Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Galveston 1856

Below is an excerpt from the "Incidents of Western Travels" by Rev. George Pierce ©1857 These letters were his reflections on his travels from GA to Nashville, to Oklahoma, to Arkansas, to Texas and back to GA.

Galveston, the " city of cottages," is a charming place. Open to the winds on every side, with wide streets and sandy soil, and a soft and balmy climate, it is eligibly located for a great and nourishing mart. Orange and lemon trees are found in almost every garden. They grow luxuriantly, and were laden with fruit when I was there in December last. The oleander is the common ornamental shrub in the town. It flourishes even along the sidewalks. The plantain, too, with its clustering fruit, is successfully cultivated. What the temperature may be in summer, I know not; but a visitor in winter would conclude that the good people had the productions of the tropics, without the accompanying fervor of a tropical climate. It is wellnigh impossible to conceive of a finer beach than the one around Galveston. An evening ride on these surf-beaten sands is a delightful recreation. The beautiful and the sublime, nature and art, the works of God and the inventions of men, combine in panoramic order. The island, with its human habitations; the Gulf, with its ever-heaving waters; the steamship, bannered with smoke, proudly defying wind and wave; the sea-birds, with tireless wing fanning the air, or descending to ride upon the billows ; the merry voices of the gay and the glad, as they gather shells upon the shore, mingling with the everlasting roar of the tide in its ebb and its flow, constitute a scene where one may well pause to think and feel, to admire and adore.

Galveston cannot be a sickly place, unless it be by the criminal.carelessness of the city authorities, or the bad habits of the people. Yellow-fever certainly cannot originate there, and if it prevail at all, it must be by importation. When Texas shall count her citizens by the million, and communication with the interior by railroads shall be opened, this city on the Gulf of Mexico will become an emporium of wealth and commerce.

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