When I decided to write my mail order bride story, I knew I wanted to place it in Texas. At first, I wanted to put it in Abilene or Lubbock. However, research quickly showed me that neither town was built until the late 1870's or early 1880's and I wanted to put my story in the early 1870's, not too many years past the Civil War, as David is a Confederate Army Vet.
I don't remember if the title of the story "Salvation Bride" or the name of the town came first, but I think the title did and then I decided to name the town Salvation, to get a double meaning going.
Once I settled on a name for my town, I had to decide where to put it. Pretty much all of West Texas was out, because it wasn't settled yet (except for the El Paso area and I didn't want to put it there). Waco was a good place, but I eventually decided on the Bryan/College Station area. College Station is where Texas A&M is and Bryan was a settled town back then. They are both near Austin.
Salvation isn't a large town, with the cowboys, it probably has a population of around 500, but it is a stagecoach stop and boosts a hotel, blacksmith shop, and The Red Door Saloon/brothel.
David is not only the sheriff, he's a rancher, with a spread about a half hour out of town. The homestead was given to his father by the State of Texas as thanks for fighting in the Texas War of Independence in the 1830's. But David's close to losing it now.
The ranch didn't do well during the war, since David wasn't there to work it and it fell into disrepair. Also, money is tight after the War, between needing to build up his stock and being taxed by the Union, David is facing a severe money shortage and is very close to losing the homestead his father earned.
Just about everyone in Salvation is in the same boat as David, so when he decides to look for a wife, he knows there's not anyone in the area is rich enough to give their daughter away with a large dowry. Besides, there aren't that many eligible women in the area - the hotel owner's 14-year-old daughter, a few widows and the gals at The Red Door Saloon. None of them are to his liking. So, he takes a leap of faith, and sends for a mail order bride who has money of her own.
His hopes he'll find salvation in his new bride...just not the kind he does find.