The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 256
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Edited by ANDREW FOREST MUIR
NE OF THE LARGEST UNEXPLORED TOPICS IN TEXAS HISTORY
is the frenzied land speculation at the end of the colonial
period. Prominent in the speculation schemes was the
Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company, to which David G.
Burnet, Joseph Vehlein, and Lorenzo de Zavala had assigned
their empresario contracts in 1830o. The company, unwittingly or
cynically, misinterpreted the Mexican colonization laws stipulat-
ing that an empresario had no title to land in his grant, that titles
to colonists were issued by a government land commissioner, and
that the empresario was entitled to a quantum of premium lands
only after introducing a hundred families. The company instead
claimed that it owned fourteen million acres of Texas lands and
sold scrip, at a few cents an acre, covering 1o,216,655 acres. Not
only did the scrip find its way into the hands of individual spec-
ulators, but also into those of affiliated companies, among them
the Union, Pilgrim, and Trinity Land companies, which some-
times competed directly with the Galveston Bay and Texas
To the Union Land Company the parent company issued scrip
for twenty-eight leagues, or 123,995.2 acres.2 Although there were
probably other members in the firm, the Union company was
principally James Prentiss, of New York. A seventh generation
Yankee and a fourth cousin of Sergeant Smith Prentiss of Missis-
1Mary Virginia Henderson, "Minor Empresario Contracts for the Colonization of
Texas, 1825-1834," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXXI, o302-315.
'John Bassett Moore, History and Digest of the International Arbitrations to
Which the United States Has Been a Party (6 vols.; Washington, 1898), IV, 3434-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/274/?rotate=270: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.