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Save Texas History

W.H. Gamble, County Map of the State of Texas Showing also portions of the Adjoining States and Territories (Inset: Plan of Galveston and Vicinity), S. Augustus Mitchell, 1873, Map #93696, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

County Map of the State of Texas Showing also portions of the Adjoining States and Territories

Drawn and engraved by William H. Gamble (1827–1892) of Philadelphia, this map illustrates the relative density of settlement in East and Central Texas. In 1873, much of the western areas of the state had not yet been defined into counties.

By 1873, rail lines connected the relatively densely populated areas of southeast and central Texas. Houston, and to a lesser degree Austin, emerged as hubs of transportation in the region.

The expansion of important railroad lines is featured prominently, as are county lines, towns, waterways, and geographic features.

The railroad lines, in particular, had a significant impact on settlement in West Texas. Degrees longitude are measured from two sources: across the top in relation to the Prime Meridian in Greenwich and across the bottom in relation to Washington, D.C.

[left] In 1873, pre-oil boom West Texas was sparsely populated, and had yet to be divided into modern county lines. Click here for a consolidated chronology of Texas county boundaries, courtesy of the Newberry Library. [right] Detail, title block.

Gamble’s map focused primarily on Texas with an inset providing a detailed view of the east part of Galveston Island, but it also included portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Additionally, the Indian Territory north of the Red River (present-day Oklahoma) delineates boundaries between various Native American nations.

The inset includes a simple plat of the city of Galveston, located on the eastern end of Galveston Island. Below the inset, degrees of longitude are measured in relation to Washington, D.C.

This map was donated in 2014 by Martha McCabe, in memory and in honor of her mother Mary Lee Borden McCabe (1907–1993), great-grandniece of first Land Commissioner John P. Borden.

A reproduction of this map can be purchased on the GLO website.

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Texas General Land Office

Texas General Land Office

Official Account for the Texas General Land Office | Follow Commissioner George P. Bush on Twitter at @georgepbush. www.txglo.org