The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 520
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
that not enough land was being given. In order to double the
grant and to modify and make easier the requirements for
obtaining it, a general law was enacted so that all the world
might know about it. This law was passed on January 30, 1854,
to expire in ten years. The act was later modified, extended,
repealed, re-enacted, and again repealed-all within the twenty-
eight years from 1854 to 1882. These years embraced four
1. From 1854 to 1869, the law provided for sixteen sections
of land per mile.
2. From 1869 to 1873, the new Constitution prohibited land
3. From 1874 to 1876, a constitutional amendment permitted
but did not require land grants.
4. From 1876 to 1882, a new land grant law similar to the
original was passed, but it was repealed in 1882.
The original law of 1854 was quite carefully drawn. It pro-
vided for sixteen sections, or 10,240 acres, of vacant unappro-
priated state land to be granted for each mile of track con-
structed after the first twenty-five miles had been completed.
For each section granted the railroad had to survey the adjoin-
ing section for the state schools. The sections were numbered,
the odd numbers for the railroads and the even numbers for
the state. The law also provided that the land granted the
railroads must be alienated, one-fourth in five years and one-
fourth in each two years thereafter. This provision was later
modified and extended, but all of the land was eventually to be
alienated. The requirement that twenty-five miles of road be
in operation before land grants were made proved a detriment
to building and was modified to permit grants after grading a
lesser number of miles. During the twenty-four years the law
was in effect, according to statement made on October 19, 1916,
by J. T. Robison, State Land Commissioner, certificates entitling
the railroads to 38,735,360 acres were granted. On these cer-
tificates 35,777,038 acres were granted. The railroads lost 908,-
800 acres because of conflict with older valid surveys, 1,124,697
because of lands' not being subject to location, and 1,316,383
acres found by the courts to have been granted illegally. There
was no taint of fraud or corruption in connection with the
illegal land grants. The lands were granted under the law as
construed by the governors and commissioners of the Land
Office. In deciding one of the suits brought by the state to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/603/: accessed November 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.