Cotton comes to the Rio Grande valley
On this day in 1830, business partners John Stryker and James Wiley Magoffin arrived at Matamoros in the sloop Washington. They made port carrying a newly designed cotton gin and several hundred bags of upland cotton seed and set out distributing free seed to landowners in the Rio Grande Valley. Magoffin eventually moved to Chihuahua, but Stryker purchased property along the Rio Grande. Stryker, an agriculturalist, was appointed consul for the port of Goliad (later the port of Matagorda) by President Andrew Jackson in 1835. He bought a league of land in Victoria, where he was living at the time of his death in 1844. His efforts in cotton seed distribution and the introduction of the cotton gin enabled the profitable cotton culture of the Rio Grande Valley. Years later those same cotton fields provided the pathway for the dreaded boll weevil’s entry into the United States.