Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

For the Ferroequinologists

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on March 11, 2011

Cotton train near Galveston, early 1870s. Written on the back of the original image in the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection at Southern Methodist University is a notation, “Depot Galveston, Houston, & Henderson Rail Road. Galveston.” I suspect this locomotive is a yard switch engine, rather than running the main line. An illustration based on this image, which I used here, appeared in Edward King’s The Great South, published in 1875. During the 1874-75 season, Galveston received 194,938 bales of cotton via the GH&H, which amounted to more than half of all cotton shipments to the seaport, including those by river and coastwise trade.

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5 Responses

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  1. corkingiron said, on March 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Just out of curiosity, how much cotton is in a “bale”? I baled hay as a youngster (hardest work I ever did!) and I’m wondering if it is a standard measure.

    • Andy Hall said, on March 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Rough measure, 500 pounds more-or-less. (That’s clean cotton, with the seeds and other “trash” removed at the gin.) Modern bales are the same weight, but are significantly smaller in cross-section because the pressing machinery in more efficient. The precise weight of the bale was not too important, because each would be weighed individually, and the cotton itself graded for quality, staple length, etc., to determine price per pound.

      • corkingiron said, on March 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

        OK Thanks – the bales I hauled were heavy – but not that heavy. Although, after a long day in the July sun……

  2. Will said, on March 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

    That is one adorable little engine. Looks like something LGB would sell to run around a Christmas Tree!

    • Andy Hall said, on March 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Yep. When I was a little kid in Brownsville, there was a park across the street with a tiny, narrow-gauge steam locomotive on static display. Played on it almost every day, it was like it was mine, personally. Found out much later it ran between Brownsville and Port Isabel around the turn of the 20th century. None of that mattered to me when I was five, though. I had me a real, honest-to-goodness locomotive. That experience marked me for life, I think.

      The locomotive has since been restored and put in a local museum. Didn’t look nearly so nice forty-some years ago, but then I suspect they don’t let visitors get up and play in the cab anymore, either.


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