The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 115
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De Witt's Colony.
dred families had arrived,1 and in January, 1831, Jos6 Antonio
Navarro was appointed commissioner of the colony by Governor
Viesca.2 In the colonization system, next to the empresario the
commissioner was perhaps the most important personage. It was
his duty to administer the oath of allegiance to the colonists, and
to examine the certificates of good moral character and Christian
belief which they were required to bring with them; to issue land
titles on paper of the second seal to the new settlers in the name
of the state, and to keep a record of such titles on paper of the third
seal in a book which should be bound in calf and kept in the ar-
chives of the new colony;3 to send to the government an abstract
of these titles, giving the number and names of all the colonists,
the quantity of land assigned to each, and designating those lands
which were for cultivation, whether irrigable or non-irrigable, and
those which were for grazing. He was also to appoint upon his
own responsibility, a trained surveyor for the colony and to oversee
his work. He was to select sites for the new towns of the colony;
to plan them and send copies of the plans to the government; to
supervise the laying out of these towns according to instructions;
and to see to the distribution of town lots, of which a record was
also to be kept. He was to see that a ferry was placed at each
crossing of the rivers and to fix a moderate toll rate. Finally, he
was to preside at popular elections for choosing the ayuntamiento.4
Navarro's first step after receiving a copy of the instructions to
commissioners was to appoint Byrd Lockhart surveyor, April 14,
1831.5 In 1825, De Witt upon his own authority had named Kerr
surveyor general.6 When the governor heard of the appointment the
next year he declared it illegal, and ordered that the commissioner,
when he should be named, put some one else in Kerr's place.7 In
spite of this fact Kerr had continued his work as surveyor at Gon-
that I have yet been able to find. The original is in the Nacogdoches
Archives, no. 317, State Library, Austin, Texas.
1See above, p. 101.
' Viesca to Navarro, January 29, 1831. Titles, De Witt's Contract, 813-
aPaper of the first seal was worth six pesos per leaf; of the sceond
seal, twelve reales; of the third seal, two reales; and of the fourth seal,
one cuartilla. The books containing these titles were all collected after
the Revolution, and are now to be found in the General Land Office.
,Instructions to Commissioners, September 4, 1827 (Sayles, Early Laws
of Texas, I 73-76.)
5 Titles, De Witt's Contract, 825.
6 See above, p. 101.
7 Titles, De Witt's Contract, 829-830.
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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/m1/117/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.