The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924

Memoirs of Major George Bernard Erath

MEMOIRS OF MAJOR GEORGE BERNARD ERATH
LUCY A. ERATH
III
8. Surveying and Indian Fighting Resumed, 1888-184
It was perhaps true in a measure that armed parties out on
surveying expeditions answered as rangers for protection of the
frontier, but as soon as the territory adjacent to settlements was
surveyed the attacks on and killing of such parties by Indians
modified the surveying business. As I took part in the survey-
ing business of the time, remained in it, and went far out be-
yond the settlements to carry it on in the intervals between
military service, it may be well for me to explain something
about the nature of it.
Not pausing to consider the land law as to grants and issuing
of certificates, I will speak only of the law in relation to sur-
veying. A county surveyor was elected by congress for every
county, but he was not really to practice in the field. He was
the recorder of field notes, keeper of maps, reporter of what was
done, but, under the first principles of the land law, was not
expected to survey, except in the smaller interior counties where
there was little business. Deputies did the field work; they were
appointed by him, but were independent of him; they were dis-
tinct officers, giving bond and security to the president and after
annexation to the governor. A county surveyor, when he did
actual business in the field in the smaller counties, had to give
additional bond as deputy for surveying. Application for sur-
veys could be made directly to the deputy, and if the applicant
distinctly pointed out the land himself, or through his agent, it
had preference over the application made to the county surveyor.
I am citing for the most part transactions in Milam County,
Central Texas.
The constitution of the Republic did not require that a man
should be a citizen of Texas for any specified time before election
to office, provided he was a citizen when he went into office.
Congress met on the first Monday in December; the elections
were held on the first Monday in September. As a man was a

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/. Accessed September 16, 2014.