The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 372
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
on behalf of the Convention of 1833, which ended in his imprison-
ment, the La Vega grant emerged briefly from its obscurity in the
shadows of Texas colonial history. In order to raise funds needed
to obtain Austin's release, Williams persuaded the empresario's
cousin, Mrs. Sophia St. John of Connecticut, to purchase the
grant for $2,5oo00. The realization that she may have contributed
substantially to Austin's well-being must have been a source of
gratification which was not lessened by the handsome profit Mrs.
St. John realized on the transaction some fifteen years later.
Sometime about 1850 she placed the property for sale in the hands
of one of the most successful land agents in Texas, Jacob de
Cordova of Galveston, who soon sold the tract to his fellow towns-
man Thomas M. League for $6,250. At the time, De Cordova
was still actively engaged in the sale of business and residence lots
in the new village of Waco, which he had begun developing on
March 1, 1849, on the T. J. Chambers two-league grant on the
west bank of the Brazos, directly across from the La Vega land.4
League, who had been a resident of Texas for some eleven
years, was a quite successful and well-to-do land dealer. Enthusi-
astic about the purchase, he called on his friend Judge John C.
Watrous to discuss the property.5 By 1850 the matter of the titles
to these Mexican grants was becoming a bonanza for attorneys, but
League had already submitted his La Vega title to Judge Robert
Hughes, also of Galveston, who was accepted as a leading expert
on the subject, and Hughes had pronounced it a good and valid
title.6 The new owner lamented to Judge Watrous, however, that
although he was fully satisfied he had the makings of "a great
fortune" in the La Vega grant, still, he was temporarily short on
cash, having recently tied up most of his ready funds in property
in Galveston and elsewhere. Although League later testified that
his advances were cautious, as he had been reared in Maryland,
"where a judge is looked upon as a God,"" he hinted plainly
that he hoped Judge Watrous would be sufficiently interested to
81lbid., 2ol; W. M. Sleeper and Allan D. Sanford, Waco Bar and Incidents of
Waco History (Waco, 1941), 21-22.
aRoger N. Conger, Highlights of Waco History (Waco, 1945), 29-383.
5House Reports of Committees, 35th Cong., 1st Sess. (Serial No. 969), Report
No. 540, p. 199.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/452/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.