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The Indians of the West, especially the Comanches and kiowas fared somewhat better, at least, for a time. The eighteenth century was a time of conflict among Indian groups for control of central and western areas. In what was primarily a contest between the Comanches and the Apaches, the
Comanches won, forcing the Apaches to move west to the mountains of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.By the time of the republic, the Comanche people, and their allies, Kiowas and others, controlled a vast area ranging from Mexico to Kansas. Conflict between the Comanches and settlers was frequent, though somewhat erratic, but there was little doubt that the Comanches remained a formidable force. In a curious kind of ambivalence, trade between the Comanches and white citizens of Texas, new Mexico, and Mexico continued in the midst of intermittent raids and violence. Settlers, however, who ventured too far est into Comanche country did so at considerable risk, despite the presence of federal and state troops. OCCUPATIONSOccupations of antebellum Texans reflected the influence of an expanding economy. Merchants increased rapidly during the 1850s, numbering 2,223 by 1860, while 3,541 persons found employment as domestic servants. Manufacturing and the crafts provided a living for some. The census of 1860 reported 3,449 persons employed in 983 manufacturing establishments. More than 400 worked in grist and saw mills, and an equal number of wheelwrights suggests the manufacture of wagons and other vehicles. A plant in Houston manufactured hats; a factory in Harrison County produced textiles. The 1,361 carpenters of 1850 doubled in number by 1860, and there were many brick and stone masons, blacksmiths, and saddle and harness makers. The professions were represented surprisingly well. Certainly, there was not shortage of lawyers;the 428 in Texas in 1850 doubled in number by 1860. Physicians, though often poorly trained were likewise plentiful, their number increasing to 1,471 by 1860. But at the same time, Texas had only 65 dentists, most of who traveled from town to town to carry out their practice. There were 758 clergymen,but only 8 architects. By far, the most common occupation was farming. In 1850, approximately 25,000 of the 43,000 persons who listed occupations called themselves farmers. Farmers and farm laborers accounted for more than half of the 105,491 occupations of 1860. Appropriately, improved land in farms increased from 639,111 acres in 1850 to 2,650,781 acres 10 years later, and during the same period, the value of farms increased more than fivefold.151For the marketplace, the most important crop was cotton. Except for occasional years when pests ravaged the crops, the output increased each year. It reached 58,072 bales in 1849-1850 and 461,463 bales a decade later. During the republic, cotton farming was confined to the river valleys of the Coastal Plain and to northeastern Texas. By 1860, these regions still produced the greater part of the crop, but cotton farming was moving into central Texas, even though the notion still prevailed that it was a crop not suited to the black prairies.