San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 53
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THE SAN ANTONIO RIVER.
ended here in the sale of her finest heritage, it would hardly be worth while to
waste further space. But there is a sequel, a lesson it is well for the rising gen-
eration of electors and embryo aldermen to take to heart.
It is highly probable that Mr. Brackenridge, with his keen instinct for real
values, did not underate the prize. It is moreover not wholly surmise upon which
it might be averred that he saw that the City ought to be the owner of this mag-
nificent property. He sees it to-day, but now as before he does not underate his
possession, as far as their value to the City is concerned. The Head of the River
property and the Water Works are too closely linked together by mutual interesst,
to allow a consideration of them apart. That Mr. Brackenridge was willing to
part with the Head of the. River at all, is an indication of some disinterestedness,
but what speaks more loudly for this, is, that he was willing to part with it at not
an immoderate price. His terms are sufficient proof of this to-day. The
area of the Sweet tract was altogether 108 acres more or less. This with im-
provements and some important additions, Mr. Brackenridge on January 16th
1872, offered to sell to the City for the sum of $50,000. He offered it upon easier
terms than those upon which the City had sold its lands twenty years before, ex-
cept that he was the better judge of values. He did not even ask for the 20 per
cent., cash down, it appears. He would, he said, rent the place for $4,000 per
annum, the exact amount of interest he asked, viz 8 per cent., the money in fifty
years. It seems almost incredable, yet if the very full reports and large corres.
pondence may be relied upon, these are true particulars. His offer was read and
accepted on January 22d by some members of the council and Mayor Thielepape,
yet there must have been a division of opinion among the members. The matter
at once became a subject of consuming interest in the town. The newspapers
were full of it. People for the time talked of nothing else. A most prophetic
letter, viewed in the light of subsequent developments, appeared in the San An-
tonio.Herald over the signature of "Citizen" on February 2nd 1872. It strongly
urged that the purchase be consummated and pointed out that the price and terms
were reasonable. The misguided faction won the day. Governor Davis on
March 12th put a check upon the proceedings. The Secretary of State with many
others unfortunately, threw what influence they possessed, unwittingly, against the
best interests of the community. On March 27th Governor Davis appointed Mr.
Newton in the place of Thielepape removed, and effectually threw the business
into abeyance. Thielepape, as long as he had the power, without doubt had done
all he could to clinch the bargain. He said he saw that the purchase would
prove to be a bargain for the City. It must be acknowledged that the odds are
that he did, and that he was much more of a prophet than the majority of his
fellow citizens. Another clear case of the minority being in the right. On April
3rd a special committee of four-Their names?-It matters not-was appointed by
the council "to test the finality of Ex-Mayor Thielepape's contract with Mr.
Brackenridge. This committee on May 6th, causes the alleged purchase to be
revoked and rescinded. Of course this proceeding does not satisfy Mr. Bracken-
ridge so on August 3rd, he tenders the rent for the property he has been occupy-
ing This is refused by Mayor Newton. Not even content with this and fear-
ing a cloud on his title, Mr. Brackenridge enters suit to try and compel the City
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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/m1/99/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.