Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, September, 1993 Page: 127
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Digest of the Book of Land Certificates
Columbus. The book's contents, digested and alphabetized by name of recipient, are
presented herein. The page of the Book of Land Certificates on which the original entry
appears, and, often, comments on the certificate, are included. The comments include
the names of the counties in which the land authorized by the certificate was located,
however, it is important to point out that even if the land was located and surveyed, it
was not necessarily patented. Patents for tracts of land outside Colorado County have
not been verified. Secondly, the reader should be aware that holders of certificates for,
for example, 1280 acres, were not required to select one 1280 acre tract; they could
patent several tracts of land that together amounted to 1280 acres. Herein, any amount
of land said to have been located in a particular county might represent two or more
In addition to the business conducted by the board of land commissioners,
the Book of Land Certificates also records a number of certificates issued by the county
court and by its successor, the commissioners court. The courts were acting in
accordance with the provisions of laws passed on January 26, 1839, January 15, 1841,
February 4, 1842, May 2, 1846, February 7, 1853, and February 4, 1854, which
allowed them to act as boards of land commissioners for specified periods of time, and
to issue unconditional certificates to persons who demonstrated that they had met the
conditions imposed upon them by the law under which they were eligible for a land grant,
whether or not such persons previously had received a conditional certificate."
It is important also to note that the commissioners often described the
certificates they issued as being of the first, second, or third class; however, many of
the certificates that they described as. first class would today be called second class
headrights, and many of those they described as second class certificates would today
be called third class headrights. In every case, the original descriptions have been
reproduced herein. The laws under which the land grants were made do not provide a
classification system, though the terms, as we interpret them today, came into almost
immediate use. Today we refer to the non-military grants provided by the constitution
as first class headrights, to those provided by the law of December 14, 1837 as second
class headrights, to those provided by the law of January 4, 1838 as third class
headrights, and to those provided by the law of January 4, 1841 as fourth class
17 See Gammel, volume 2, pp. 112, 594-597, 777-778, 1469-1470, and volume 3, pp. 1324,
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, September, 1993, periodical, September 1993; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151389/m1/19/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.