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respecting Texas.  He thinks there is a negotiation on foot, if it has not been concluded, for the sale of that country to the United States for $14,000,000, and if the United States does not buy it, that it will soon be independent, for that it is fast settling with people from the United States who know their rights and are determined to defend them.  And they will never submit to Santa Anna's project of a central government.  He has not been on the coast, and is not acquainted, personally, with the southern part, but says the middle region is highly salubrious and very productive.  He has surveyed a great deal, and acquired land.  He offers a one-fourth league, [1,210] acres, for $500, about 50 miles from Nacogdoches, on the upper waters of the Trinidad.  He ran the line between the United States and Texas, and says the maps are all wrong -- that the line strikes the Red River about the middle of the Raft, instead of at Pecan Point.  He says that the titles derived from the Empressarios and confirmed by the government are indisputable.[ 2]  Mr. Pearce read his papers, and says that his title to the one-fourth league is clear; but it requires a settlement to be made on it by the 1st of June next.  Major Miller thinks it will be a good speculation.  I think better of Texas than I did heretofore.  Bill at Helena--

Monday, Octo. 26, 1835

Monday afternoon, came to at Princeton, a new settlement of about seven or eight houses, in Washington County, Miss.  Major Miller speaks highly of the country, and offers to show me the plantations on Lake Washington and Lake Jackson.  I determined to stop and see the vicinity.  This is the seat of justice, but as yet no court house nor other public building is erected.  One store, one poor tavern, a postoffice, three doctors, two lawyers, one tailor, one blacksmith.  Boat from Helena, $5.

Tuesday, Octo. 27, 1835

Major Miller politely borrowed a horse for me; rode with him to his mill on Lake Jackson.  A steam engine of very simple construction, 25-horse power, designed to work an oil mill (cotton seed), a saw mill and a grist mill.  The saw only in operation as yet.  The oil mill will be at work in four weeks.  He calculates to make 300 gallons of oil per day, saw 3,000 feet of plank, and grind ----- bushels of meal; oil worth -----, plank $2 to $2.50 per hundred.  He says the saw mill will make him $30 per day.  Cost of engine, $1,500.  Whole cost of machinery and houses, $14,000; capital invested in machinery, buildings, Negroes, land, transportation, etc., $30,000.  The saw mill may be made to pay 30 to 33 per cent on the whole investment.  Seed costs nothing, except a small gratuity to the Negroes for saving it.  The timber grows in abundance all around -- costs nothing but the hauling.  The planters will thank him for taking it off.  It grows so

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas