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: 68
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l default of this recourse fictitious names
were supplied, and head-rights obtained
under them. No legislature has ever had
the task of unraveling a more complicated
entanglement of just with unjust claims, or
has been called upon to devise a law that
could discriminate between rights almost
equipoised in the scale of justice. After
some temporary legislation a general land
law was at length adopted, with the following
provisions: For each county a surveyor was
to be appointed, and a board of commissioners
whose duty it was to investigate
claims for head-rights, and grant certificates
upon proof of right being establislled. Persons
advancing claims under the old colonization
laws were required to take oath that
they were resident in Texas at the time of the
declaration of independence, that they had
not left the country during the campaign of
the spring of 1836, and prove by two or
more creditable witnesses that they were
actually citizens of Texas at the date of that
declaration. In this provision widows and
orphans were excepted. Conflicting claims
were to be tried before the nearest justice of
the peace and six disinterested jurors. Empresario
contracts having ceased with Mexican
domination, all vacant lands within such
grants were declared the property of the Republic.
On the whole this law was a very
good one, though somewhat imperfect.
Among the acts of this congress, one was
for the sale of Galveaton and other islands in
lots of ten to forty acres, and the result was
an impetus to the growth of Galveston, soon
making it the most important seaport in
During the last session of this congress,
this year (1837) in much attention was paid to
the incorporation of towns and to the boundaries
of old counties and the creation of new
counties. The towns of Shelbyville, Brazoria,
Richmond, San Felipe de Austin, Lagrange,
San Antonio, Victoria, Gonzalez,
Matagorda, Mina, Houston, Washington,
Crockett, Refugio, Columbia, Clarksville,
Lexington, Milam, Goliad, San Patricio and
Jonesborough were all incorporated during
this session; and the new counties of Montgomery,
Fayette, Fannin, Robertson and
Fort Bender were created. Some of the
above mentioned towns, however, had been
incorporated once before.
As to the general condition of Texas at
this tine, and the outlook, it may be said
that there was a promise of permanency and
success; the crops had been unexpectedly
good; immigrants were flocking into the
country, and the revenue from tariff duties
proportionately increased; lands were rising
in price; commerce was assuming a prosper-.
ous condition; nothing was to be feared from
Mexico for the present, as that nation was in
a difficulty with France; and the western
frontier was enjoying a rest from war, although
Indians kept up their usual depredations.
(See a subsequent section, to be found
by the index.)
From the reports of the State officers, it is
seen that 10,890 certificates of land title had
been issued by the different county boards
up to November 1, 1838, representing 26,242,199
acres; that up to October 15, 2,990,000
acres had been distributed to soldiers as
land bounties; that the issues of land scrip
amounted to 2,193,000 acres, of which scrip
to the amount of 870,000 acres had been returned
by the agents, and a portion, repr..
senting 60,800 acres, had been funded. But
financially, the outlook was bad. The public
debt had been increased, and the credit of the
Republic was nearly exhausted. Oonsiderable
legislation was enacted with reference to
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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/m1/72/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .