The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 100
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
mium of five sitios' of grazing land and five labors,2 of which at
least one-half must be non-irrigable, for every hundred families
up to eight hundred so introduced. Should he fail to bring in at
least one hundred families his contract was to be declared null.
So numerous were the applications for such grants and so lavish
was the Mexican government in disposing of territory, that in
a short while the whole of the country from the Sabine to the
Nueces was completely covered by the claims of the various em-
presarios. Few of these grantees, however, fulfilled the conditions
of their contracts. Of all the colonies founded upon these grants,
Austin's was by far the most important. Next to it in point of
success, influence, and historical interest must be ranked the one
lying just west of it, founded by Green De Witt.
II. Die Witt's Contract.
De Witt3 was probably in Mexico as early as 1822,4 seeking to
obtain an empresario contract similar to that which had been
granted to Moses Austin. The general law of 1824 concluded his
business with the central government. His next step was to ap-
ply to the state authorities at Saltillo. April 7, 1825, he petitioned
to be allowed to settle four hundred families southwest of Austin's
ownership. It simply gave him the privilege of settling a certain number
of immigrant families in a district with prescribed limits. In the case of
Austin's first grant, the limits were not fixed.
1A sitio, or square league, is twenty-five million square varas, or
"A labor is one twenty-fifth of a sitio.
3Almost nothing is known of De Witt's life before his coming to Texas.
John Henry Brown gives the following information concerning him:
He was born in Kentucky in 1787. He married Sarah Sealy, a native of
western Virginia, who was born also in 1787 and who died in Gonzales in
1854. From Kentucky he removed to Missouri, where he settled first in
St. Louis County and then in Ralls County, of which he was at one time
sheriff (Brown, History of Texas, I 341). Shortly after he had received
his grant he was accused before the political chief at B6jar by Ellis
Bean of having misappropriated public funds in "Islas Negras." But, as
the result of an investigation made by Stephen F. Austin, who was ap-
pointed by the governor to look into the matter, he was exonerated, Octo-
ber 16, 1825 (correspondence between the political chief, Stephen F. Aus-
tin, and the governor, from June 26, 1825, to October 17, 1825. Bexar
Archives. The "Islas Negras" referred to in this correspondence I have
not been able to locate).
4 See above, p. 98, note.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905, periodical, 1905; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/m1/102/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.