The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Texas Bounty Land Grants, r835-1888

rant issued by an adjutant-general was number 2,095 issued to
Juan Gimenes on October 5, 1855, by James S. Gillett.2"
On October io, 1855, a fire which destroyed the Texas adju-
tant-general's office burned all records of the war department
and the adjutant-general's office pertaining to bounty warrants
and donation certificates issued up to that time. Muster rolls and
other army papers relative to the service performed by the soldiers
of the revolution which might yet have entitled them to a land
grant also had gone up in smoke. There was no way to tell which
men already had received their warrants except in cases where
surveys of bounty grants had been returned to the General
Land Office. To help solve the problem created by the destruc-
tion of the records pertaining to bounty land grants, an act of
the legislature was passed on August 1, 1856, "to ascertain the
legal claims for money and lands against the State."80 The act
called for the election, by a joint vote of the two houses of the
legislature, of a Commissioner of Claims of the State of Texas
to hold office until January 1, 1858. The act was amended on
February 16, 1858, to extend the term of the commissioner to
September 1, 1859.81 The same act provided that on September
1, 1859, the records of the Court of Claims of the State of Texas
should be surrendered to the comptroller, who should continue
to act for and as commissioner of claims. On February 7, 1860,
an act was approved which provided for the re-creation of the
court and for its continuation until December 31, 1861.82 Thus
the court of claims existed from August, 1856, through Decem-
ber, 1861.
The act creating the court of claims not only helped Texas to
adjust its land claims but by requiring certain records to be made
and preserved made possible an approximation of the original
list of bounty land grants which had been destroyed by the fire.33
To put together the list of warrants the court of claims found
two important functions necessary: (1) examination of all bounty
29Ibid., 554-
soGammel, Laws of Texas, IV, 432-433.
slbid., 913.
82Ibid., 1416.
38A more complete history of the court is contained in Thomas L. Miller, "The
Texas Court of Claims," Agricultural History, XXXIV, 35-40.

227

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed July 23, 2014.