The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924 Page: 28
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
citizen after six months' residence, he could come into the coun-
try the last day of May, be elected in September, and hold office
Milam County at the outset embraced an immense territory;
the southern portion was most accessible. Applications for the
position of deputy surveyor were made by men who had never
been in the county, and they were favored by our representatives,
who in a manner had the control.12 Because I was a soldier and
could act as guard without any extra compensation, these same
congressmen and some of the people thought it the proper thing
for me to be appointed deputy surveyor to the most exposed dis-
trict on the frontier. I was averse to hiring hands and paying
out of my own pocket a high price to get fighting characters to
maneuver against and chase Indians. Because I was consid-
ered of some service as a soldier, and was an older citizen, I
thought I should have had the preference over new men. So I
concluded to have no district at all to survey, and went to San
Antonio, where I ran a compass for a surveyor two or three
months. A little indignation then shown in my behalf ended
with the resignation of the county surveyor who had made the
appointments. His successor, James Howlet, was a man just ar-
rived from Virginia but being a very good scholar he was well
fitted to keep the office-not going into the woods at all-and
he did keep the office for twelve years. He promised the people
to appoint me at once, but I delayed returning until the first of
August, 1838. By that time five or six surveyors had surveyed
up all the country near the settlements less subject to danger,
excepting irregular fractions, or poor land not in demand.
A larger number of chain carriers and other help was required
for operating in the frontier districts. Unless such persons had
lands of their own to locate, or were interested in locating land
for others on shares, or received extra pay in money, it was almost
impossible to secure such assistants. The surveyor himself was
precluded by heavy penalties from taking any interest in lands
he surveyed or receiving extra pay. It was also customary to
allow hands pay from the time they started till they returned,
"Thomas A. Graves was elected first surveyor of Milam County, De-
cember 15, 1837.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924, periodical, 1924; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/m1/34/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.