Arranged alphabetically, this work lists the names and counties of residence of approximately 18,000 Texas taxpayers. (A “poll” tax of one dollar was levied on every white male resident over the age of twenty-one and on women who were heads of household.) By 1846, when Texas became the thirty-sixth state in the Union, there were sixty-seven county governments already organized as functioning units of the state, yet no authorized census of the state was undertaken until 1850. This 1846 poll list, compiled from the original tax rolls housed in the Texas State Archives, is actually the nearest thing we have to a complete census of the period.
It should be pointed out that a good deal of the 1846 population of Texas derived from the various settlement schemes which proliferated under the so-called impresario system, by which contracts for the settlement of immigrants were awarded to citizen-adventurers and commercial organizations. Dozens of ambitious contractors followed the example of Moses Austin, who had very early on petitioned the Mexican government for impresario rights in the Republic of Texas. From these groups and independent streams of immigration, and from people already settled in the former Province, Texas had an aggregate population in 1846 of just under 150,000. The Poll Lists for 1846 is a very near approximation of the entire adult male population of the state, and as such it has the same authority as a reconstructed census.
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