The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898

108 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.

THE OLD THREE HUNDRED.
A LIST OF SETTLERS IN AUSTIN'S FIRST COLONY.
LESTER G. BUGBEE.
The scheme for the distribution of land to his colonists which
Stephen F. Austin laid before the governor of Texas in 1821 pro-
vided that each head of a family should receive 640 acres for
himself, and an additional but smaller grant for his wife, chil-
dren, and slaves. This arrangement was superseded by the coloni-
zation law passed by the Junta of Iturbide and confirmed, by spe-
cial decree applicable to Austin's contract only, by the republican
government which came into power upon the Emperor's deposi-
tion. By this law each family received not less than one labor
(about 177 acres) or one sitio (about 4428 acres) of land, according
as the occupation of the head was farming or stock-raising. The
lands were distributed by a commissioner, appointed by the gov-
ernor of Texas, who issued titles to the settlers designated by Aus-
tin. The law gave Austin and the commissioner jointly the power
to increase without limit the quantity of land assigned to persons
who were especially deserving. Under this provision, James Cum-
mins, John P. Coles, and William Rabb received large tracts for
erecting mills. Jared E. Groce was given ten sitios "on account
of the property he has brought with him," which consisted chiefly
in a large number of slaves; and many families who came to Texas
in 1821 and 1822, and endured the hardships of those winters,
reaped the reward of their patience in increased grants.
The three hundred families were all, or nearly all, in Texas be-
fore the close of the summer of 1824. The work of issuing titles
was begun by the commissioner, Baron de Bastrop, in July of that
year; before August 24, when he was called away, he had issued
two hundred and seventy-two. The work remained unfinished till
1827, when Gasper Flores was appointed commissioner and gave
deeds to the remaining families.
There was no provision in the law for granting land to men with-

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/. Accessed April 18, 2014.