The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 101
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De Witt's Colony.
colony in the country bounded on the southeast by the ten coast
border leagues, on the northeast by a line beginning on the right
bank of the Lavaca where it is crossed by the line of the ten coast
border leagues and running northwest to the B6jar-Nacogdoches
road; on the northwest by this road, and on the southwest by a
line two leagues southwest of, and running parallel with, the Gua-
dalupe River. Some time before he made this petition De Witt had
become acquainted, either in Missouri or in Mexico, with Stephen
F. Austin. On January 8, 1825, Austin wrote a letter to Baron
de Bastrop, at that time a member of the state congress of Coa-
huila and Texas, recommending De Witt very highly and asking
that the baron use his influence in securing land for him. As a
result De Witt's petition was granted,' April 15, 1825, upon the
1. Under penalty of losing all rights guaranteed him by the
colonization law,2 the empresario must agree to bring into this
territory, within six years from the date of this grant, four hun-
dred Catholic families whose moral character must be proved by
certificates from the authorities of the localities from whence they
2. When one hundred of these families should have arrived,
the empresario must notify the government, in order that a com-
missioner might be appointed to put the colonists in possession of
3. In the location of colonists, all possessions held under legal
title by persons already in the country must be respected.
4. All official correspondence must be carried on in Spanish,
and the empresario must establish schools giving instruction in that
5. The empresario must organize the national militia, of which
he should be commanding officer until further notice.
6. The empresario must promote the building of churches in
the new towns, supply ornaments and sacred vessels, and apply in
due time for a priest.3
III. The Beginnings at Gonzales.
Even before De Witt had presented his petition he felt so con-
fident that it would be granted that he appointed James Kerr4 as
1 Baron de Bastrop to Austin, July 16, 1825, Austin Papers, class O,
'See above, pp. 99-100.
SEmpresario Contracts (MS.), 27-31. General Land Office, Austin,
Texas. See Appendix III.
' Baker (A Texas Scrap Book, 290-292) gives the following data cdn-
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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/m1/103/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.