Diamond Kate

PROSTITUTION. Prostitution has long been a feature of the Texas social landscape. In 1817, when Texas was still a Spanish province, nine prostitutes were expelled from San Fernando de Bexar (San Antonio). Spanish-speaking prostitutes resided in San Antonio from its early days under Texan rule. Anglo prostitutes joined them during the 1840s and 1850s, and by 1865 both groups were entrenched. Galveston had prostitutes from its beginning in the 1830s, while the city of Houston was barely three years old when, in 1839, a local newspaper decried the town’s houses of ill fame. Gen. Zachary Taylor’s  army was catered to by prostitutes during its eight-month stay in the Corpus Christi area before invading Mexico in 1846, and in 1850 an observer noted that the newly incorporated town of Brownsville was “infected with lewd and abandoned women” who kept “dens of corruption.” Indianola and Jefferson, on the other hand, survived their first years relatively free of prostitution, but during the 1850s an influx of prostitutes spurred both towns to pass ordinances suppressing bawdy houses. Prostitution was thus not an uncommon phenomenon in antebellum, but neither was it rampant. In many communities it was either unknown or occurred on such a small scale that little public notice was taken.

source: Texas Historical Association

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