In the aftermath of the Civil War (1861–65), white settlers relocated to north and central Texas in great numbers, quadrupling the state’s population by 1900. Most settlers came from the southeastern states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, bringing established sacred music teaching, performance, and dissemination practices to the region. The publication histories of select nineteenth-century musical titles and the life stories of key music figures reflect this pattern of westward migration. After first appearing in Wetumpka, Alabama in 1841, Benjamin Lloyd’s (1804–60) text-only Primitive Hymns continued to be reissued by his descendants, including at least two editions published by a granddaughter following her move to Temple, Texas. Stephen Jesse Oslin (1858–1928) was born into a musical family north of Wetumpka, Alabama, but earned a living and reputation compiling songbooks and teaching singing schools along the Texas-Arkansas-Oklahoma border region. By the turn of the twentieth century, Texas boasted numerous independent music publishers. The Dallas-based Stamps-Baxter Company was founded in 1924 by two Texas musicians whose life stories document the spread of seven-shape gospel across the United States: Alabama-born Jesse Randall Baxter, Jr. (1887–1960), studied with influential Georgia composer-publisher Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858–1924) before moving west; and Virgil Oliver Stamps (1892–1940), born in north Texas to Alabama-born migrants, trained entirely in Texas where he began his professional career as a field agent for Tennessee composer-publisher James D. Vaughan (1863–1941).
While gospel music flourished between the cities of Austin and Dallas, the sparsely populated panhandle and west Texas regions were home to diverse cultures of sacred music. The panhandle’s Czech, German, and Polish immigrants sang from songbooks catering to their ethno-religious traditions, like the 1872 Württembergisches Gesangbuch, published in Odessa. In west Texas, the Spanish-speaking majority included Catholics and Protestants who worshipped from collections like Abraham Fernandez y Cosme’s 1923 Cantos de Victoria, published in El Paso for the Alianza Ministerial Mexicana. Early twentieth-century metropolises, like the border towns of Juarez-El Paso and Matamoros-Brownsville, also had sizable Spanish-speaking communities that participated in the crossing and spanning of cultures that influenced the state’s sacred music publishing and practice.