Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 28 of 58
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28 TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
east of the Trinity for their supplies of corn, believing that they
could not successfully raise it in the prairies. It was in that day
laid down as a certainty that farming could not succeed west of
At the time of the revolution in 1836, the American population
of Texas was very limited. Those entitled to headrights and bounty
and donation certificates for military service under the laws were
too few for the vast number of certificates that were issued. To
sift the genuine from the fraudulent, the government was compelled
to establish what was known as the Traveling Board of Land Commissioners,
to which board all land certificates had to be submitted
for approval or rejection. This board rejected hundreds of certificates
as fraudulent. That all of the fraudulent certificates were
rejected by it is not probable. Doubtless many of these certificates
were obtained by men who were not citizens of Texas at the time
of the revolution, and who took no part in the struggle for independence,
but who came to Texas after it was over in order to take
advantage of the liberality the government of the Republic manifested
towards her citizens and defenders in that crisis. Some of
the fraudulent certificates perhaps may be attributed to the sentiment
that prevailed among a few of the old settlers of Texas, who
staked their lives and fortunes against the Mexicans and Indians,
and who by perseverance and indomitable courage had finally won
-that is to say, they felt that the land was theirs by the right of
conquest, and that they were justified in taking it in preference to
the men who came later and had borne no part in the war. An
illustration of this feeling may be found in a conversation the
writer had with an old Texan, who expressed himself on the subject
as follows: "We old Texans fought for and won the country,
the land by right is ours, and in taking it we but take what belongs
to us." These men were poor in this world's goods; they had been
harried by the Mexicans and Indians, had suffered all of the hardships
and discomforts of the wilderness, and it is not strange that
they should feel in the hour of triumph that all they had won
should be theirs.
The same old Texan stated to the writer how in a certain eastern
county, at an early day, land certificates were issued. The law
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/28/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .