The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 39
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Statistical Review of the Settlement of Peters Colony
1848. The area offers a rare opportunity for the collection of rea-
sonably adequate statistical data on relatively large numbers of per-
sons as they settled on the frontier. Usually descriptions of frontier
communities and settlements in America are based out of necessity
on contemporary observations and accounts, occasionally supple-
mented by data from a federal census. Essentially this study is
one in which such scanty social data are augmented by and com-
pared with other statistical records of approximately the same
time. Presented here are discussions of the sources used for ob-
taining information, of the procedure followed in the study, and
of the conclusions drawn from an analysis of the statistics.3
The primary objective of the study was to determine the
number of settlers in the colony region4 who were bona fide
"Peters Colonists" under the terms of the colony contracts. In
compiling the names of the immigrants from various sources,
the investigator was able to collect additional statistical informa-
tion, the analysis of which became the secondary objective of
The principal sources of data for this study are (i) the manu-
script federal census for 1850, Schedule I; (2) reports of the
colony agents to the secretary of state in 1844 and in 1845;
(3) certificates awarding land to settlers, issued by special land
commissioner Thomas William Ward in 1850; (4) register of
certificates for land issued by county and district courts; and
The Peters contracts, the first empresario contracts made by the Republic, like the
Austin contracts, the first made by Mexico, were the most successful. Later contracts
by the Republic, better known perhaps than Peters', include those with Henry
Francis Fisher and Burchard Miller, Henri Castro, and Charles Fenton Mercer.
After some dispute the Texas Emigration and Land Company of Louisville,
Kentucky, which acted in the capacity of empresario, received from the state of
Texas over a million acres of premium land as a bonus for promoting settlement
in the colony area. Approximately 1,800 colonists and their families were settled in
Texas by the company.
aBecause of the various possibilities of error involved, it is thought necessary to
discuss the sources and procedure to prevent misunderstanding. The results of this
study should be taken as indicative generalities, and the appearance of numerical
symbols in the results should not cause the reader to forget the crudeness of the
4See Figure 1.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/57/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.