The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954

A Statistical review of the Settlemeit
of the Peters Colog, 1841-1848
SEYMOUR V. CONNOR
HE pageant of America to an immeasurable degree in the
nineteenth century was the surging movement of Amer-
icans into the vast unoccupied reaches of the nation's
destiny, and the chronicles of the country must make the move-
ment live for future generations. Historians, alerted to the signifi-
cance of the frontier only by its passing, held a ritualistic wake
in Chicago in 1893 and turned with consecrated and occasionally
misguided energy to the task of making written history out of
this phase of American development. Gone is the frontier and
gone are the individuals who conquered it; the historian searches
through their documentary remains for scraps of information
from which to reconstruct their lives. But the documentary re-
mains of the plain folk who settled the frontier are scant, and
statistical data, those cold hard facts that keep in check rampant
imaginations and reckless generalizations, are even more rarely
available.
This paper is a statistical study' of a region in Texas known as
the Peters Colony2 and of the pioneers who settled in it prior to
1The technical report style of presentation is used because it seemed the most
convenient form for clearly reporting the results of a study that in some ways is
rather complex.
2In February, 1841, the Fifth Congress of the Republic of Texas, desiring to pro-
mote immigration into Texas and to extend the northwestern frontier into Indian
country, acceded to the petition of a group of land speculators from the United
States and England and established an empresario reserve between the Trinity and
Red rivers in North Central Texas. The proposal, made by W. S. Peters and
nineteen associates, succeeded in part as a countermeasure to the Franco-Texienne
bill before the same Congress. With the passage of this act (February 4, 1841)
granting the petitioners the right to enter into contract with the Republic on spec-
ified terms, the land and immigration policies of the Republic were abruptly
changed in nature. Up to that time the Republic had refused to continue in any
form the empresario system established earlier by Mexico. Unpromoted immigra-
tion, however, was not up to expectations, and the pressing circumstances of 1840
and 1841 led to this cautious establishment of a modification of the Mexican colo-
nization system. The Republic was less generous with its lands than Mexico and
more exacting with its agents. Full terms of the law may be found in H. P. N.
Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas, z822-1897 (10 vols.; Austin, 1898), II, 554.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed July 31, 2014.