The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 119
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De Witt's Colony.
Sarah Seely (Mrs. Green De Witt) had suffered much hardship
in this frontier colony. The business projects of her husband,
Green De Witt, had not succeeded well, and the family was in
Jos6 Antonio Valdez gave no reason.2
Mexicans who wished to acquire more land than could be ob-
tained under the empresario system might purchase from the state
an additional amount. But land could be sold in this way only
to Mexicans. The price that was to be paid by such purchasers
was fixed by the colonization law of March 24, 1825, at one hun-
dred pesos a sitio for grazing land, one hundred and fifty pesos
a sitio for non-irrigable agricultural land, and two hundred and
fifty pesos for irrigable agricultural land. But neither by pur-
chase nor by special grant, nor by the empresario system was it
permissible for more than eleven leagues to fall into the hands of
anyone except an empresario, who must promise to alienate the
excess above that amount within twelve years. Six years were al-
lowed to all classes of settlers in which to put the lands into culti-
vation. The penalty of failure was reversion to the government.
The colonization laws encouraged in every way the formation of
new towns. Foreigners of any nation were allowed to found towns
on any vacant lands, or even on lands previously appropriated by
individuals, provided the advisability of such a step were generally
recognized and the individuals properly indemnified. Four square
leagues were set aside for each town.3
One important work of a commissioner was, as we have seen,
to supervise the laying out of new towns. For his guidance in this
work he was given explicit instructions. The town was to be laid
out by lines running north and south, and east and west. A square
measuring one hundred and twenty varas on each side, exclusive of
streets, was to be marked off and called the principal or constitu-
tional square. The block facing this square on the east was to be
1See appendix V.
2 Titles to special Grants by Jose Anto. Navarro in De Witt's colony
(MS). General Land Office, Austin, Texas.
8 The similarity of this regulation to the old Spanish method of found-
ing towns as set forth in the colonization laws enacted by Philip II. is
noteworthy. According to these laws a grant of four square leagues was
assigned either to an individual who should undertake to found upon it
within a given time a villa composed of at least ten persons, each pro-
vided with a prescribed amount of property, or to ten or more married
persons who, upon their own initiative, should agree to form a settle-
ment (Recopilacion de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias, Libro IV, Titulo
V, Leyes VI, VII, X).
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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/m1/121/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.