The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

for Austin's Colony.

15

and the civil affairs of the local government, and also to attend in person,
to the administration of justice, through all its perplexing details,
in every small case that might occur; continued the two alcalde's districts,
into which the settlement had. been previously divided, by order
of the governor of Texas, Jose Feliu Trespalacios, and likewise formed
some additional ones, directing that an alcalde or justice should be
elected by the people in each; he gave these alcades jurisdiction to 200
dollars, with an appeal to him, as the judge of the colony, on all sumns
over 25 dollars. IHe also formed a code of provisional regulations, in
civil and criminal matters, which was approved by the governor of
Texas.
In the month of September, 1824, Mlr. Samuel M. Williams was apponted
by Austin, secretary of the local government of the colony, which
appointment was approved by the governor of Texas, and since that
time, he has discharged the duties of that office with a degree of fidelity
and industry, which justly entitles him to the approbation and confidence
of the inhabitants of this settlement. Austin not having the
means of paying him a compensation equal to his services, he has labored
without an adequate salary; and the perquisites which he has received
in five years would not have supported him one. The land and other
records of this colony, present abundant evidence of his neatness and
accuracy; and the register, or record book, in which the land documents,
and title deeds, are recorded, will forever afford proof of the labor, care
and precaution, that have been devoted for the perpetuation of those
important documents. It will be remembered that this labor, the formation
of the register, was gratuitous on the part of Austin, and the secretary
Williams. Neither of them have ever received one cent of comp.ensation
for it. The former considered it necessary for the future security
of the settlers, that the records should be placed in such a shape, as
would render them less liable to be lost or defaced, than they would be,
in their original state; for, agreeably to the mode of issuing the titles,
each one was on a separate and loose sheet of stamp paper, the original
being retained in the office as the record, and a certified copy issued to
the interested person. It is evident, that records kept in that way would
be liable in time, to wear out, and be totally destroyed, even if they
were not misplaced, and lest any difficulties should arise from this, Austin
petitioned the government of the state, that an order might be issued
from the competent authority, for the transfer of all the records of the
colony, that were on loose sheets of paper, into a large bound register
or record book. The said order was accordingly issued, prescribing, particularly,
the mode of making such transfer, and declaring that documents
thus transferred, should have the same validity in law, as the
originals. The mode of transfer was, that each document should be
copied into said register, and then compared, word for word, with the
original, by the commissioner Gasper Floris, the empresario Austin, and
the alcade of the jurisdiction; all of whom should certify that each document
was truly copied from the original, and then sign their names,
with two witnesses. This was an immense labor; for, independent of the
documents and title deeds, it also included the plot of each tract, at
the end of the title. Austin paid the surveyor, Seth Ingram at the rate
of five dollars per day, for this part of the work.
It will be seen by an examination of the authority that was vested
(1)

Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5872/. Accessed July 30, 2014.