History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 185
HIS1'ORY OP TEXAS. 185
State passed a new mining law. The terms,
however, under which this law grants mining
rights to prospectors are not as inviting as
those of the mining laws in force in the
mineral districts in other States of the United
States or AMexico. There are very few actual
i)ro.)pectors who are able or willing to pay
the locating and recording fees, and in addition
to their work inake a payment annually
of $50 in cash on each clailn, some of which
they may not wish to patent, thus entailing
a loss of both work and money. This feature
of the law encourages capitalists to locate and
secure mineral lands for speculation, and
discourages, or it may even be said excludes,
the actual prospector. This law does not
prevent persons from erecting corner monuIlents
of fictitious mineral claims wherever
they think good indications might be found,
which will at least serve to prevent other
honest prospectors from locating on them.
There are numerous such bogus locations,
which have neither been surveyed by the
authorized surveyor, nor recorded in the
1 nmd office, nor the assessment work done, nor
thle cash payments made on them. There is
nobody in the mineral districts to watch and
prevent such work, even if it were prohibited
by law. The required annual payment of
$50 on each claim location would certainly
benefit the school or university funds if
locations were made under the law; but under
tlhe circumstances very few locations will be
made. Most of the alternate sections, as well
as larger tracts of school and university land,
in West Texas in their present condition can
not be sold at a reasonable price; they can
not be rented out as farming or grazing land;
they therefore bring no revenue through
taxation, and they are, and evidently will
remain, dead capital ur hil the mineral resources
are d(le-eloped in the mountains, ani
water found or provided for in the flats; and
the present mining law should be made as
favorable as is possible to secure this development.
But this is not the only drawback.
Tlhe titles to some of thle lands of west
Texas are clouded by large Mexican or Spanisll
grants, covering hundreds, and some of
them (as, for instance, the Jiolinguillo grant)
thousands of square miles of thle best mineral
and prospective farming lands. Prospectors
who are able and who are willing to submit
to the terms of the mining law are afraid to
risk time and money without knowing on
whose land they are locating, or which party,
State, railroad, or grantee, has a right to
grant them the rights.
In other parts of the trans- Pecos region,
where there are no Spanish or Mexican grants
clouding the titles, the prospector can, in
very few cases only, be perfectly certain
whether his claim is located on State or
railroad land, even though the location be
made by the authorized surveyor, who knows
or professes to know the lines. The terms
which are offered by the railroad are for the
most part so exacting that in fact it is almost
impossible for a prospector to accept them.
Thus, instead of offering sufficient inducements
to secure a greater amount of prospecting,
everything is against the prospector,
and helps to prevent the development of the
mineral resources of the State.
The scarcity of water, also a drawback to
the development of the mineral and other
resources of west Texas, can be overcome by
storage reservoirs, and will be partially overcome
by the water found in deeper mines,
The scarcity of mining timber is not severely
felt, for little timbering is required in the
solid material of the western mountains.
The scarcity of fuel is a drawback, the
greater because it prevents the utilization of
HISTOR Y Oh' TEXAS
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/190/ocr/: accessed December 5, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .