Heritage, Winter 2004 Page: 13
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An Inducement eor Enlistment
VETERANS' LAND INITIATIVES
"Now is the time to ensure a fortune in land," proclaimed
a Texas Revolution recruiting poster asking
Even before independence
secured, the connection
service and land
grants had been
established in the
minds of the citizens
who became soldiers.
more than a generation
before, 19th cen
strongly in the ideal of fighting against tyranny, but
the incentive of land ownership, nevertheless, provided
an additional appeal. Therefore, beginning in
October 1835, the provisional government of Texas
established land bounties as an inducement for
enlistment. Ultimately, more than 5 millions acres in
bounty grants were awarded.
After independence, Texas moved to make the veterans
land program a reality. The General Land Office,
created by the Republic's constitution, was opened
for business by late 1837. Veterans who had served
in the Revolution could now apply to that office for
patents on land that had been promised at the time
they joined the Army. In that same year, Congress also
established "donation grants," which provided 640
acres in additional acreage as a reward to those who
had served in the principal engagements of the Texas
Revolution. As time passed, additional grants to veterans,
or in some cases, the heirs of deceased veterans
were made available. In 1838, a one-league
grant (4,428 acres) was provided to veterans perma
nently disabled during the war for independence.
Indigent veterans or their widows could claim 640
acres under a statute passed in 1879. Within two
years, with the number of
Texas Revolution soldiers
dwindling, this amount
was increased to 1,280
acres, and the requirement
financial need was discontinued.
By 1887, a
total of more than 2.5
million acres had been
provided in donation
grants to these veterans
or their heirs.
After the Civil War, the
state wanted to reward
its Confederate veterans
in a similar fashion. Beginning in 1879, the Legislature
provided 1,280-acre grants to former
Confederate soldiers who were either disabled or
indigent. The same grant was also available to widows
whose husbands had been killed during the war,
and almost 2 million acres was granted under that
With most of the public domain already granted to
private owners when it came time to reward World
War II veterans, the Legislature created the Veterans
Land Board at the request of Land Commissioner
Bascom Giles. Since its inception in 1946, the VLB has
assisted more than 150,000 veterans by loaning
money for purchase of land as well as for home
improvements.-Robert N. Jones Jr.
Texas soldiers who fought in the military were rewarded with
land. Above: Bounty warrant number 1295 for 1,280 acres
issued to the heirs of David Crockett for his service in the
Texas Revolution. Texas General Land Office Land Grant
Collection, file Robertson Bounty 609. Image courtesy of the
General Land Office.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Winter 2004, periodical, Winter 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45372/m1/13/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.