Texas Heritage, Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2001 Page: 40
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counties, the map documents early settlements
along the rivers, as well as San
Antonio and Avoca, a planned town
that never got off the ground. The map
has a watercolor rendition of the Texas
flag in its heading.
* An 1839 map was drawn of the City of
Calhoun, a seaport planned by the
Congress on 640 acres on the north end
of Matagorda Island. The beautifully
water-colored map, showing coastal
scenes, was drawn by surveyor Edward
Linn, a member of the family that
helped settle Victoria.
* A map of Victoria County was made
prior to November 1838 after Linn surveyed
the county. It has an incredible
title, decorated with drapery hanging
from a tree, and shows the county when
it also included portions of Calhoun,
DeWitt, Jackson, and Lavaca counties.
* Two very large maps of the Nacogdoches
District - which took in most of East Texas
- were drawn between about 1839 and
1841. One map was probably drawn by the
district surveyor and the other by Land
Office staff based on the surveyor's map.
* Englishman Henry O. Hedgcoxe drew
lithograph maps of the Peters Colony of
North Texas, including one in 1852.
Hedgcoxe was an agent for the Peters
Colony whose land dealings and stuffy
mannerisms caused the Hedgcoxe War
of 1852, when angry armed colonists
stormed his office and drove him from
* Truly one of the most whimsical maps is
an 1859 map of Mason County (see p.
34) by draftsman F.H. Arlitt, another
German immigrant. The letters spelling
out "Mason" are drawings of people at
play and at work.
* An 1889 map of Kent County (see p. 35)
was drawn by William Sydney Porter,
best known as the great American short
story writer O. Henry. Porter, who
worked at the Land Office for about five
years, drew a tiny detailed agricultural
scene in the Kent County heading.
* An 1888 map of Greer County by draftsman
Charles Scrivener is very significant
for one reason - Greer County no
longer exists in Texas, and the land
within its former boundaries is now in
Oklahoma. There was a dispute between
Texas and the United States about ownership
of the area, originating from an
1819 treaty that designated the boundary
between Spanish territory and the
U.S. Texas eventually lost the land in an
1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Thanks to the many expert surveyors,
drafters, and cartographers who worked at
the Land Office in the 19th century, copies
of important lithograph maps of Texas
made their way into the agency's collection.
Texas owes gratitude to these forward
thinkers, including Charles W. Pressler,
A.B. Langermann, and Robert Creuzbaur,
the principal draftsman at the Land Office
in the late 1840s. Creuzbaur compiled
Jacob De Cordova's famous 1849 map of
Texas, with an inset showing Texas when it
reached into Wyoming, and later editions
of the De Cordova map.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the Land Office
made a series of lithographs of county maps,
all certified as official by the commissioners
of the time. These maps were sold to the
public for 50 cents each; a number of these
maps survive, and some have sold at auction
for several hundred dollars apiece.
These very early maps and
thousands more still reside in
the Land Office. There are multiple
maps of all 254 counties,
redrawn when county boundaries
changed, corrections were
needed, or older maps began
to wear out.
No doubt, the crown jewel of the Land
Office map collection is the first map connecting
surveys in Stephen F Austin's first
colony, taking more than four years to draw.
The map measures six feet wide by seven
feet tall and contains breath-taking colors
of red, yellow, blue, and green in its heading
and north arrow. Austin, his brother-in-law
J.F. Perry, John Borden, and Borden's two
brothers began the map in 1833, but Austin
died before its 1837 completion.
A hand-drawn certified copy of the map
was made in 1892 by Land Office draftsman
EG. Blau. Blau, a meticulous draftsman,
carefully filled in the brilliant colors of the
heading and north arrow, along with all the
surveys. As reported by then Commissioner
W.L. McGaughey, "...the old map of
Austin's Colony...which is in dilapidated
condition, has been renewed on good,
heavy, mounted paper, which will preserve
that important map for many years."
David Dewhurst is the land commissioner of Texas.
Texas General Land Office, Surveying
Texas General Land Office, Archives Division.
"The Handbook of Texas Online."
"Land: A History of the Texas General Land
Office," 1992, Texas General Land Office.
"Texas Boundaries: Evolution of the State's
Counties" by Luke Gournay, 1995, Texas
A&M University Press.
"The Complete Works of O. Henry," Volume
II, 1953, Doubleday & Co.
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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/m1/40/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.