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STRYKER, JOHN

STRYKER, JOHN (1803–1844). John Stryker, United States consul and agriculturalist, was born in Stone House Plains (now Bloomfield), New Jersey, on September 27, 1803, the son of Rev. Peter Stryker. The family moved in 1809 to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where Stryker learned the rudiments of reading and writing. A second move took the family to Belleville, New Jersey, where they remained until 1826. In the late 1820s Stryker entered into a business partnership with James Wiley Magoffin, and together they purchased the sloop Washington and hired a captain and seven sailors. Once equipped, Stryker and Magoffin traveled to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, with a newly designed cotton gin and several hundred bags of upland cotton seed. The sloop made port on February 2, 1830. The partners distributed the seed free to local landowners in the Rio Grande valley. For the next two years upland cotton proved profitable, and Magoffin moved to Chihuahua to extend the business. Stryker purchased from Leonardo Manso six leagues of land that fronted the Rio Grande for a strip of 4,958 varas (about 2.6 miles). Manso had called the property Banco de Santa Rita, but Stryker apparently renamed it Llanos Grandes. On January 1, 1834, Stryker married Jane Lane in New Orleans, Louisiana. On January 15, 1835, President Andrew Jackson appointed Stryker United States consul for the port of Goliad (later the port of Matagorda). Shortly after the Texas Revolution Stryker bought a league of land along the San Antonio River in Victoria County and was living there with his wife when he died of a fever on November 12, 1844. Stryker's influence, both positive and negative, in the Rio Grande valley continued long after his death. Although long-staple (Sea Island) cotton had formerly grown in the region, its cultivation was confined to coastal areas. A profitable cotton culture was possible only after Stryker and Magoffin introduced upland cotton and the cotton gin. The vast cotton fields in the Rio Grande valley later provided the pathway for the introduction of the boll weevil into the United States.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James Heaven Thompson, A Nineteenth Century History of Cameron County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1965).

Frank Wagner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Frank Wagner, "STRYKER, JOHN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fstcq), accessed April 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 28, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.