Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 28
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
The International & Great Northern's land grab was merely the largest of a
number of similar acquisitions in the 1870s. Between April 1875 and May 1877, five other
railroads: the Columbus Tap, the Galveston, Houston, & Henderson, the Houston Tap &
Brazoria, the San Antonio & Mexican Gulf, and the Texas & New Orleans, patented 25,595
acres inside the county. In addition, in May 1875 and October 1876, the Waco Manufactur-
ing Company, a textile firm, patented a total of 2905 acres, and, in April 1875, the Galveston
and Brazos Navigation Company patented 640 acres. On March 31 and April 3, 1877, the
firms of Adam Adams, R. C. Beaty, & M. C. Moulton, and of C. R. Beaty, E. T. Seale &
J. M. Forwood, patented another 2500 acres in return for their services in opening channels
in the Sabine and Neches Rivers. By the end of 1877, slightly more than 96,000 acres in the
county, or about 15% of its total land area, remained unpatented.35
Some land ownership, of course, was still in dispute. By June 6, 1874, when the
district court finally heard the case, the lawsuit that had been brought by the heirs of Ursula
Veramendi Bowie (Maria Antonia Veramendi Sierra, Teresa Veramendi Rodriguez, and
Marco A. Veramendi) to evict the occupants and supposed owners of the James Bowie
Survey on the west side of Colorado County had dragged along for seven years. Though the
jury quickly brought in a verdict in favor of the defendants, the persistent Veramendis re-
solved to continue their legal quest to recover what they regarded as their family lands, and
appealed, finally to the state supreme court. In 1878, while in session at Galveston, the
supreme court ruled in favor of the Veramendi heirs, and mandated that they be granted a
new trial, again placing the homes of several residents of western Colorado County in jeop-
ardy. However, on March 5, 1879, the district court again ruled in favor of the defendants,
and the Veramendi heirs at long last decided to abandon their suit.36
newspaper cited above, Stafford was said to have built a $6000 investment into a $200,000 fortune. In
1870, when signing the controversial bond for Sheriff William M. Smith, he had listed his property.
Then he owned two tracts of land in Colorado County, one of 420 acres worth $1500 and another of 170
acres worth $1480, plus 800 acres in Gillespie County valued at $800. He also owned a half interest in
10,000 cattle, with his interest valued at $15,000; forty horses worth a total of $ 1200; and he had "no
Debts and ... several thousand Dollars in cash." His net worth at the time was at least $20,000, and,
depending on how much "several thousand" dollars was, perhaps as much as $40,000. Nonetheless,
the 1870 census declares that he owned only $3000 in real estate and $1500 in other assets (see
Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book G, p. 286; Ninth Census of the United States
(1870) Colorado County, Texas, Schedule 1).
35 Index to Abstracts of Lands, Colorado County, Texas (Ms. 43) Colorado County Ab-
stracts Collection, Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library; Colorado Land District, Scrip Files No.
118, 178, 212, 274, Original Land Grant Collection, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land
36 Colorado County District Court Records, Minute Book F, p. 170, Minute Book G, p. 431;
Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas [Texas Reports], vol. 48
(Houston: E. H. Cushing, 1878), pp. 531-554.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/28/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.