Georgia's Ruling Page: 501
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l 9UI Georgia's
its complement by course and distance.
and considcrini the remainder vacant
instead of a mre excess.
The Actual Settler was besieging the
Office xwith wild protests i// n. HIaving
the nose of a pointer and the eye of a
hawk for the land-shark, he had observed
his imyrmniidons running the lines upon his
grouncl. Making inquiries, he learned
that the spoiler had attacked his home,
and he left the plow in the furrow and
took his pen in hand.
()ne of the protests the Commissioner
read tw ice. It was from a woman, a
widow, the granddaughter of Elias
Denny himself. She told how her grand-
father had sold most of the survey years
before at a trivial price-land that was
now a principality in extent and value.
Her mother had also sold a part, and she
herself had succeeded to this western
portion, along Chiquito River. lMuch of
it she had been forced to part with in
order to live, and now she owned only
about three hundred acres, on which she
had her home. Iler letter wound up
rather pathetically :
" I've got eight children, the oldest
fifteen years. I wx ork all cday and half the
night to till what little land I can and
keep us in clothes and books. I teach
my children too. My neighbors is all
poor and has big families. The drouth
kills the crops cvcry two or three years
and then we has hard times to get enough
to eat. There is ten families on this land
what the land-sharks is trying to rob us of,
and all of them got titles from me. I sold
to them cheap. and they aint paid out yet,
but part of them is, and if their land should
be took from them I would die. My
grandfather was an honest man, and he
helped to build up this State, and he
taught his children to be honest, and how
could I make it up to them who bought
from me ? Mr. Commissioner, if you let
them land-sharks take the roof from ov er
myn children and the little from them as
they has to live on, whoever again calls
this State great or its government just
will have a lie in their mouths."
The Commissioner laid this letter aside
with a sigh. Many, many such letters he
had received. He had never been hurt
by them, nor had he ever felt that they
appealed to him personally. He was but
the State's servant, and must follow its
laws. And yet, somehow, this reflection
did not ahvavs eliminate a certain respon-
sible feeling that hung upon himii. Of all
the Stae's officers he was supremest in
his department, not even excepting the
Governor. Broad. general land laws he
foiloxwed, it was true, but he had a Nwide
latitude in particular ramifications. Rather
than law, what he followed was Rulings;
office e Rulings and precedents. In the
complicated and new questions that were
being engendered by the State's develop-
ment the Colmmissioner's ruing was rarely
appealed from. Even the courts sustained
it when its equity was apparent.
The Commissioner stepped to the door
and spoke to a clerk in the other roonm-
spoke as he always did, as if he were ad-
dressing a prince of the blood:
" Mr. Weldon, will you be kind enough
to ask Mr. Ashe, the State school land
appraiser, to please come to imy ofice as
soon as convenient ?"
Ashe came quickly from the big table
where he was arranging his reports.
"Mr. Ashe," said the Commissioner,
" you worked along thle Chiquito River,
in Salado County, during your last trip. I
believe. Do you remember anything -of
the Elias Denny three-league survey ?"
" Yes, sir, I do," the blunt, breezy sur-
veyor answered. " I crossed it on Imy
way to Block H, on the north side of it.
The road runs with the Chiquito Riecr,
along the valley. The Ic lnny survey
fronts three miles on the ChIiquito."
" It is claimed," continued the (Comi-
missioner, " that it fails to reach the river
by as much as a mile."
The appraiser shrugged his shoultlder.
He was by birth and instinct an Actual
Settler, and the natural foe of the land-
" It has always been considered to ex-
tend to the river," he said, dryly.
" But that is not the point I desired to
discuss," said the Conmmissioner. " What
kind of country is this valley portion of
(let us say, then) the DIenny tract ?"
The spirit of the Actual Settler beamed
in Ashe's face.
" Beautiful," he said, with enthusiasm.
Valley as level as this floor, with just a
little swell on. like the sea, and rich as
cream. Just enough brakes to shelter the
cattle in winter. Black loamy soil for six
feet, and then clay. Holds water. A
2;40~- ----- ~~ ls~P~F~s~B~ IC9~9 aa~"P~~
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Reference the current page of this Prose (Fiction).
Henry, O., 1862-1910. Georgia's Ruling, prose (fiction), June 30, 1900; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth139371/m1/8/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.