San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 37
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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the State granting sections to Railway, Canal and Irrigation Companies, and
issuing scrip to Confederate veterans. The State has still a vast domain subject
to homestead entry, and the University and School land endowments are princely.
The State Capitol, at Austin, was built by disposing of 3,000,000 acres of public
lands to a Chicago syndicate. Hence, it will be seen that Real Estate in Texas
is a large question.
To be seized of a piece of property is an old English law phrase, and means
to own it : The following curious ceremony of taking possession smacks strongly
of that old-time expression, and seems to lend point to the poor joke of William
the Conqueror who, falling to the ground upon stepping from his boat at
Hastings, quieted the ill-omened fears of his followers by remarking that he was
only taking " seizin' " of the land.
Here is the record : " I took said Simon de Arocha and proceeded with
him over the said property, and he pulled weeds and threw rocks and made other
necessary demonstrations in actual possession, calling upon the adjoining property
holders to show cause why he should not be put in possession." April 21, 1778.
Other induction ceremonies refer to the grantee as " throwing stones to the
four winds of Heaven," " driving stakes " and performing such like ceremonies.
The original City Grant from the King of Spain having been lost in the
troublous revolutionary days, the city found it advisable to sue out its title, con-
sequently, on February 26th, 1845, an agreement was entered into with T. J.
Devine to prosecute certain trespassers upon the city domain. The consideration
the attorney was to receive, was one-eighth of the assessed value of land recov-
ered and $100 per year in addition thereto for no longer a period than five years,
or to receive nothing if he did not prosecute successfully. Then followed the
celebrated suit of the City versus Nat Lewis, senior, in which the City sues Nat
Lewis and others for certain lands specified to be within the confines of the
Original Royal Grant to the people and inhabitants of the town of "San
placed on my head, as a message from my king and natural lord, which with blind obedience I obey, and am
ready to execute whatever it commands.' Upon this return, the captain of the presidio of San Antonio, on the
12th of January, 1731, decreed the establishment of the Missions named. All these formalities being attended to,
and the acts of each party written down, and attested by assisting witnesses, the captain of San Antonio pro-
ceeded on the 5th of March, 1731, to the first Mission-ground, called Our ILady of the Concepcion de Acuia,
accompanied by several of the officers of the presidio, and Father Bergara, and seized the hand of the captain of
the tribe, in the name of all the other Indians who had attached themselves to said Mission, and led him about
over the locality, and caused him to pull up weeds, throw stones, and perform all the other acts of real possession,
that by virtue thereof they might not be dispossessed without being first heard and defended by Father Bergara,
president of the Texas Missions, or such other of the clergy as might have administration over them. After
declaring the bounds of the Mission, there was attached to it pasture-lands, watering-places, irrigating privileges,
uses, and services, and the further right, in planting time, to drive their stock out west for pasture, so as not to
prejudice the crops. The act of possession concluded by notifying the Indians, through an interpreter, what
they should do in advancement of Christian doctrine, and in avoidance of crime.
At the same time, Captain Perez proceeded to put other tribes in possession of the Mission-grounds of San
Francisco de la Espada, and San Juan, situated below, on the San Antonio river; the same formality being
observed in each case. The record of the titles (which, as will be seen, is a simple narrative of the action of each
party) was then filed in the archives of San Fernando de Bexar, and a certified copy furnished to each Mission.
It will be observed, in the foregoing abstract of the transfer, that the title was assumed to be in the king of Spain,
and that the transfer was to the Indians, and not to the priests, who, by their vows, could own no worldly estate.
In regard to the Mission-lands of San Jose de Aguayo, they were claimed by Don Domingo Castelo, one of
the king's ensigns, for his services at the presidio of San Saba; but, after a protracted lawsuit between him and
the Mission, the title was vested in the Indians of the Mission, on the htth of November, 1766, by purchase, for
one hundred and fifty dollars."
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/79/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.