The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 536
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar, in compliance with explicit
instructions from the Viceroy of New Spain, laid off in lots,
commons, pastures, and farmlands the village and environs of
San Fernando de Bexar, and, on July 1, 1731, recorded the re-
sults of his labors, including the names of the sixteen Canary
Island families assigned to those lands, he initiated an activity
that required one hundred and seventy-five years to complete-
surveying and recording the surveys of the land in the present
state of Texas. That first recorded survey was made with elaborate
attention to details and in anticipation of a growing population
in the village. Later surveys were not always so accurate as the
captain's. When Governor Manuel de Salcedo visited Nacogdo-
ches in 1810 to validate titles to lands already occupied by set-
tlers in that area, the large four-league tracts were surveyed by
measuring from the settler's house "one league to each wind"
(that is, north, east, south, and west), using the steps of a horse
as the unit of measurement when it became inconvenient to
apply more accurate means. Time was short, land plentiful, and
conflicting boundaries no immediate problem.
In those early days surveying of Texas lands proceeded slowly
as there was small need for surveys when there were few settlers
to claim the land. With the advent of the Mexican colonization
era in 1821, however, there arose an immediate demand for sur-
veyors with technical ability beyond the "three cigarettes on a
burro" methods that usually had been satisfactory theretofore.
Emigrants from the United States of the North wanted to know
exactly where and how their lands lay, the precise metes and
bounds, and a survey map as evidence to establish these facts.
One hundred and three surveyors of record were employed at
various times during the fifteen year period to 1836, the names
of many-Gail Borden, Horatio Chriesman, Green DeWitt,
George B. Erath, James Gaines, Seth Ingram, James Kerr, Byrd
Lockhart, to list a few-being familiar to the casual student of
A later period of accelerated activity came with post-Civil War
railroad building in the state. Sixteen sections of land donated to
the railroad companies for each mile of rails laid amounted to a
vast area of the public domain, and the railroad builders were
in a hurry to locate these lands. Surveying parties moved into
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/623/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.