The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 117
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De Witt's Colony.
The colonization law fixed the sum that was to be paid to the
state as follows: For a sitio of grazing land, thirty pesos; for
a labor of non-irrigable land, two pesos and a half; and for a labor
of irrigable land, three pesos and a half. These payments might
be made in three installments, at the end respectively of the fourth,
fifth, and sixth years.'
To obtain a complete title to land in De Witt's colony under the
empresario system six steps had to be taken.
1. The empresario must fill out a printed blank certificate giv-
ing the name of the the applicant, the date of his arrival, the size
of his family, and a statement of the fact that the required oath of
allegiance to the Mexican government had been taken before the
2. The applicant must then present his petition along with
this certificate to the commissioner,' designating the land he de-
3. The commissioner must hand to the empresario, for his
identification and approval, the certificate and petition.
4. The empresario must return the certificate and petition with
his approval to the commissioner.
5. The commissioner must order the title to be issued.4
6. The commissioner must issue the title, in which were in-
cluded the surveyor's field notes.6
1 Colonization Law of Coahuila and Texas, March 24, 1825, section 22.
a It was the duty of the commissioner to administer this oath (Instruc-
tions to Commissioners, September 4, 1827, section 3). But in the ab-
sence of a commissioner the alcaZde was to perform this duty. The cer-
tificate blanks for De Witt's colony were printed before the commissioner
for the colony was appointed; therefore they all state that the alcalde
has administered the oath.
SWith the exception of a title to a special grant made to James Kerr
in 1830, no titles were issued in De Witt's colony until after the appoint-
ment of Navarro (see date of titles, appendix I). All the petitions for
lands, therefore, were presented to him as commissioner.
' Note that the commissioner himself was to issue the title. This order,
therefore, was a mere form.
SIn the books that contain the original titles of De Witt's colonists, the
papers relating to each deed were grouped together, with the certificate
which was filled out by the empresario as the first step toward the issu-
ance of a title last in order. For an illustration of a complete deed, see
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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/m1/119/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.