The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

re Ames Case Revisited
JAMES R. NORVELL*
LD ABSTRACTS OF TITLE AND CAUSES tried long ago possess
a peculiar fascination to those who happily possess some
imagination and a sense of history. To a proofreader an
abstract of title may be no more than pages of misspelled words,
misplaced commas, and sentences that do not follow one another
as they should, but to the imaginative title examiner the copy of
a patent from the state of Texas to one William Hampton dated
in the year 1847 may suggest a pioneer farmer, his loyal wife and
sturdy family as they face the western frontier and make their con-
tribution to the foundations of empire. What joys and trials and
sorrows were their lot upon this homestead tract, which appears
by prosaic section and block number in the abstract? Or, the
translation of an expediente1 may be shown wherein is recounted
the visit of the Spanish viceroy to a small outpost of Imperial
Spain along the Rio Grande about the time of the American
Revolutionary War. One can envision a proud duke or marquis,
perhaps a young man, one to whom luxury was no stranger, des-
ignated for this particular duty because of ancient family ties to
the royal house. What emotions were experienced by him in this
primitive village, as in the name of his sovereign, he awarded lands
to deserving veterans of colonial wars and to the ancient settlers
of the community? And what passed through the mind of the old
soldier when he received his grant, and in accordance with custom
gave thanks to his God and to his king and seized rocks and broke
twigs to demonstrate his ownership of the land?
And so it is with the reports of cases in modern research
*For suggestions, loan of manuscripts, and other information, the writer gratefully
acknowledges the assistance of the following persons: Mrs. Elithe Hamilton
Kirkland, Mrs. Frances De Bogory Horton, Robert S. Pool, Carl Lyda, and Dorman
Winfrey of Austin; Joseph Schmitz of San Antonio; Robert T. Neill of San Angelo;
Mahlon L. Walters of Jefferson; Conan Cantwell and C. C. Renfro of Dallas.
1An expediente is the historic record of the proceedings had and done in
connection with a grant of land by the sovereign.-State vs. Sais, Texas Reports,
XLVII, 307, 315.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed December 21, 2014.