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The guide also identifies regional festivals, which attract Texans as well as well as out of state visitors. The event also includes arts and crafts vendors and a kid-zone area with activities for children and a special performance stage for local dance teams. The event also includes Native American presentations and exhibits of Western artwork and merchandise. Activities include an onion eating contest, arts and crafts, food vendors, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment and a Miss Texas Onion Fest Pageant.

Locator maps are provided at the beginning of each regional section of the guide, with numbered listings of the campgrounds for each region. Campgrounds are also alpha-indexed by city and park name. Region: West Texas. Congress declined to annex Texas, stalemated by contentious arguments over slavery and regional power. Thus, the Republic of Texas remained an independent power for nearly a decade before it was annexed as the 28th state in The government of Mexico, however, viewed Texas as a runaway province and asserted its ownership.

Mexico refused to recognize the independence of Texas in , but the U. Mexico threatened war if Texas joined the U. American negotiators were turned away by a Mexican government in turmoil. When the Mexican army killed 16 American soldiers in disputed territory war was at hand.

Whigs , such as Congressman Abraham Lincoln denounced the war, but it was quite popular outside New England.

Panorama of the Old West Series

The Mexican strategy was defensive; the American strategy was a three pronged offensive, using large numbers of volunteer soldiers. From the main American base at New Orleans, General Zachary Taylor led forces into northern Mexico, winning a series of battles that ensued. Navy transported General Winfield Scott to Veracruz.

He then marched his 12,man force west to Mexico City, winning the final battle at Chapultepec. Talk of acquiring all of Mexico fell away when the army discovered the Mexican political and cultural values were so alien to America's. As the Cincinnati Herald asked, what would the U. The Gadsden Purchase in added southern Arizona, which was needed for a railroad route to California. In all Mexico ceded half a million square miles 1.

Managing the new territories and dealing with the slavery issue caused intense controversy, particularly over the Wilmot Proviso , which would have outlawed slavery in the new territories. Congress never passed it, but rather temporarily resolved the issue of slavery in the West with the Compromise of California entered the Union in as a free state; the other areas remained territories for many years.

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The new state grew rapidly as migrants poured into the fertile cotton lands of east Texas. The central area of the state was developed more by subsistence farmers who seldom owned slaves.


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Texas in its Wild West days attracted men who could shoot straight and possessed the zest for adventure, "for masculine renown, patriotic service, martial glory and meaningful deaths". In about 10, Californios Hispanics lived in California, primarily on cattle ranches in what is now the Los Angeles area. A few hundred foreigners were scattered in the northern districts, including some Americans.

With the outbreak of war with Mexico in the U. Army unit, as well as naval forces, and quickly took control. Thousands of "Forty-Niners" reached California, by sailing around South America or taking a short-cut through disease-ridden Panama , or walked the California trail.


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  7. The population soared to over , in , mostly in the gold districts that stretched into the mountains east of San Francisco. Housing in San Francisco was at a premium, and abandoned ships whose crews had headed for the mines were often converted to temporary lodging. In the gold fields themselves living conditions were primitive, though the mild climate proved attractive. Supplies were expensive and food poor, typical diets consisting mostly of pork, beans, and whiskey. These highly male, transient communities with no established institutions were prone to high levels of violence, drunkenness, profanity, and greed-driven behavior.

    Without courts or law officers in the mining communities to enforce claims and justice, miners developed their own ad hoc legal system, based on the "mining codes" used in other mining communities abroad. Each camp had its own rules and often handed out justice by popular vote, sometimes acting fairly and at times exercising vigilantism—with Indians, Mexicans, and Chinese generally receiving the harshest sentences.

    The gold rush radically changed the California economy and brought in an array of professionals, including precious metal specialists, merchants, doctors, and attorneys, who added to the population of miners, saloon keepers, gamblers, and prostitutes. A San Francisco newspaper stated, "The whole country Violent bandits often preyed upon the miners, such as the case of Jonathan R.

    Davis ' killing of eleven bandits single-handedly. In a few years, nearly all of the independent miners were displaced as mines were purchased and run by mining companies, who then hired low-paid salaried miners.

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    As gold became harder to find and more difficult to extract, individual prospectors gave way to paid work gangs, specialized skills, and mining machinery. Bigger mines, however, caused greater environmental damage. In the mountains, shaft mining predominated, producing large amounts of waste.

    Beginning in , at the end of the '49 gold rush, through , hydraulic mining was used. Despite huge profits being made, it fell into the hands of a few capitalists, displaced numerous miners, vast amounts of waste entered river systems, and did heavy ecological damage to the environment.

    Hydraulic mining ended when public outcry over the destruction of farmlands led to the outlawing of this practice. The mountainous areas of the triangle from New Mexico to California to South Dakota contained hundreds of hard rock mining sites, where prospectors discovered gold, silver, copper and other minerals as well as some soft-rock coal. Temporary mining camps sprang up overnight; most became ghost towns when the ores were depleted.

    Prospectors spread out and hunted for gold and silver along the Rockies and in the southwest. The wealth from silver, more than from gold, fueled the maturation of San Francisco in the s and helped the rise of some of its wealthiest families, such as that of George Hearst. They moved in large groups under an experienced wagonmaster, bringing their clothing, farm supplies, weapons, and animals. These wagon trains followed major rivers, crossed prairies and mountains, and typically ended in Oregon and California.

    Pioneers generally attempted to complete the journey during a single warm season, usually over the course of six months. By , when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri , a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Trails were cleared further and further west, eventually reaching all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This network of wagon trails leading to the Pacific Northwest was later called the Oregon Trail.

    The eastern half of the route was also used by travelers on the California Trail from , Mormon Trail from , and Bozeman Trail from before they turned off to their separate destinations. In the "Wagon Train of ", some to 1, emigrants headed for Oregon; missionary Marcus Whitman led the wagons on the last leg.

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    Some did so because they were discouraged and defeated. Some returned with bags of gold and silver. Most were returning to pick up their families and move them all back west. These "gobacks" were a major source of information and excitement about the wonders and promises—and dangers and disappointments—of the far West. Not all emigrants made it to their destination. The dangers of the overland route were numerous: snakebites, wagon accidents, violence from other travelers, suicide, malnutrition, stampedes, Indian attacks, a variety of diseases dysentery , typhoid , and cholera were among the most common , exposure, avalanches, etc.

    One particularly well-known example of the treacherous nature of the journey is the story of the ill-fated Donner Party , which became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter of — in which nearly half of the 90 people traveling with the group died from starvation and exposure, and some resorted to cannibalism to survive.

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    There were also frequent attacks from bandits and highwaymen , such as the infamous Harpe brothers who patrolled the frontier routes and targeted migrant groups. In Missouri and Illinois, animosity between the Mormon settlers and locals grew, which would mirror those in other states such as Utah years later. Violence finally erupted on October 24, , when militias from both sides clashed and a mass killing of Mormons in Livingston County occurred 6 days later.

    A hundred rural Mormon settlements sprang up in what Young called " Deseret ", which he ruled as a theocracy.