Brownsville, Texas in 1850
Historic Accounts of Life in South Texas
From "Texas in 1850" by Melinda Rankin Published 1852

Brownsville, situated opposite Matamoras, has rivalled in its rapid prosperity every other town in Texas.

Although but two years old, it contains a population of three thousand inhabitants, and, according to present indications, will soon be a large and populous city.

The amount of business transacted at Brownsville is immense, far exceeding any calculation based upon the population. By estimation, it is computed that six million dollars worth of goods have been received there during the last year. So great has been the increase of trade between Brownsville and the interior of Mexico, that the two ferries between Brownsville and Matamoras, which the first year were rented for less than one hundred dollars, have this year been rented for nine thousand.

Besides a vast amount of freight, which some two or three steamers are continually engaged in taking from Brazos Santiago round by the mouth of the Rio Grande, and up that river, a single house at Point Isabel, forwards on to Brownsville by land, from ten to twelve thousand barrels per month. The fact is, that much of the trade of Tampico and Vera Cruz now passes through this channel. Brownsville is now the great gateway of entrance into Mexico, and is taking the business almost entirely away from Matamoras.

The situation of Brownsville combines beauty of scenery as well as natural advantages. The vicinity has become hallowed by interesting scenes during the late war. This portion of the Rio Grande valley is associated with scenes of thrilling interest. Here our army first met the Mexican foe, and on the plains of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, were achieved the first two of a series of victories unparalleled in the history of civilized warfare.

Although those scenes of blood and carnage are passed by, no one can look upon those interesting battle fields without feelings of deepest emotion; and though time may work its changes, long will it be ere those sacred places lose their power to interest. The soil which has been wet with human blood for the defence of liberty and justice, has become too deeply hallowed, to be soon regarded with careless indifference.

Considerable taste and expenditure are manifested in the buildings of Brownsville. Some dozen brick houses are now in progress, all of them large and costly buildings, one nearly covering a whole square, and another about half a square.

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