Texas Heritage, Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2001 Page: 34
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"People living in other states can form no conception of the
vastness and importance of the work performed and the
significance of the millions of records and papers composing the
arches of this office. The title deeds, patents, transfers, and
L:a dot meg nts connected with every foot of land owned in the
TI P D I NA PS state of Texas are filed here.'
By David Dewhurst "Bexar Scrip No. 2692" 0. Henry
W0 /hen 24-year-old'; surveyors John
N Pettit Borden was named land
commissioner of the new Republic of ;
Texas, he must have wanted to ask
President Sam Houston, "Why me?"
Houston and the Texas Congress believed
management of Texas' vast public lands so
central to the success of the new Republic
that the 1836 Constitution specified that
the land was available to citizens, immigrants,
and veterans, and honored past
land grants made by Spain and Mexico.
The Land Office was established in the i
first Congress, and Borden opened the
office on October 1, 1837. The Texas
General Land Office was and is today one !:~
of the most important state agencies. !
Borden came to Texas from New York in
1829 with his family as a member of
Stephen E Austin's second colony in what
became Wharton County. He joined the
Texas revolutionary army in October 1835
and was a first lieutenant at the battle of
San Jacinto. Borden and his brother, Gall,
surveyed and laid out the city of Houston
in late 1836. ' Borden's tasks as the first
land commissioner were mammoth. So
was the land mass involved - more than
251 million acres stretching from the Gulf
of Mexico to Wyoming. Gathering documents
that originated in three different
entities - Spain, Mexico, and the new
Republic - within a frontier atmosphere
must have been a difficult task. With no
HERITAGE * 34 * WINTER 2001
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2001, periodical, Winter 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45384/m1/34/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.