Agrarian Economy | Midlothian, TX – Official Website
Cattle Farms & Cotton Gins
Cotton Harvest Late 1800’s The land and what it could yield attracted the first settlers to Ellis County and what would one day be Midlothian. During the mid-19th century cattle-raising was the most profitable business due to the fertile soil, broad native grasslands, and mild climate. Until the arrival of the railroad, large scale cultivation of the land was limited to the needs of the grower and what could be transported to Houston or Shreveport by teams of oxen. Produce was either traded with neighbors or required a two-day trip to Dallas, the nearest market.
In 1883, the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad Company laid tracks between Dallas and Cleburne through what would one day be Midlothian, opening that section of Ellis County to convenient transportation and trade options. By the early 1890s Midlothian’s population had grown to over 600 people and 25 businesses including two cotton gins, a hotel, a hardware and farm-implement store, a lumberyard, and a saddle and harness shop. Ellis County was known as one of the nation’s leading cotton-growing areas.
The heydays of cotton were coming to an end in the 1930s. The Great Depression had a devastating economic impact on the nation, which found its way into Ellis County. In addition, poor soil management practices had resulted in lands lost to erosion, reducing the acreage devoted to cotton production. Cotton growing, which once dominated the landscape of Ellis County, had given way to corn production
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