Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991 Page: 17
Map shows area of Robertson's Colony as it
flourished in 1834 and 1835. Major Robertson
brought the first permanent settlers here.
prove that he had introduced 146 settlers,
which was well above the minimum of the
100 needed to constitute "a saving of the
contract," but he was not allowed to settle
them in the Nashville Colony. At that
point Austin applied for permission to admit
into his own colony, the families who
had been recruited by Robertson. He took
twenty-eight of Robertson's families in this
way, which made Austin entitled to a total
of 6,440 acres of premium land.
In December of 1830, Austin set out for
Monclova, the state capital, where he was
to serve as the sole deputy for all of Texas.
On February 25, 1831, before the expiration
of the Nashville Company's contract,
Austin obtained for himself and his secretary,
Samuel M. Williams, a contract
which included the territory covered by all
of Austin's previous colonies, plus a huge
expanse above the San Antonio-Nacogdoches
Road which completely swallowed
up the Nashville Colony. From 1831 to
1834 the area which had been previously
referred to as "the Nashville Colony" was
referred to as "the Upper Colony of the
Austin & Williams Contract."
During those three years Austin and
Williams failed to get a land commissioner
appointed so not a single land title was issued
by them as empresarios of the Austin
& Williams Contract. However, taking advantage
of Article 24 of the State Colonization
Law of March 24, 1825, which allowed
for the sale of land to Mexicans, and
with written permission in advance from
Austin to do whatever he wanted to above
the San Antonio-Nacogdoches Road, as
long as he kept Austin's name out of it,
Williams allowed twenty non-resident
speculators to purchase a total of 788,255.2
acres in the Upper Colony, usually for a fee
of $2000 each.
Also Williams tried to take additional
land out of the Upper Colony by starting
the surveys for six leagues, in Austin's
Little Colony on the Colorado, and extending
them back over the watershed into
the Brazos basin, which had been allocated
for the Nashville Colony.
Finally, Williams allowed Thomas
Jefferson Chambers to locate eight leagues
(35,427.2 acres) in the Upper Colony,
making a total of 850,250 acres that were
granted to non-resident speculators during
the three years that Austin and Williams
had the Upper Colony under their control.
After the other sixty-nine stockholders
had lost interest in the Nashville Colony,
Robertson applied for it in his own name
and was recognized as empresario on May
22, 1834 and continued as such until all the
colonial land offices were closed by the
Consultation on November 13, 1835.
William H. Steele was appointed land
commissioner on May 24, 1834, and he in
turn appointed John Goodloe Warren
Pierson as his principal surveyor on September
17, 1834. Robertson proceeded to
the Falls of the Brazos and founded the
capital of his colony, which he named
Sarahville de Viesca-Sarah-for his
mother, Sarah Maclin Robertson, who had
lent him money for the enterprise, and Viesca
for Don Agustin Viesca, out of gratitude
to him for presiding so adroitly over
the stormy session of the state legislature in
which Robertson received his contract.
On the land titles the name was shortened
to the Villa de Viesca, and the area covered
by the colony was called the Municipality
of Viesca until December 27, 1835 when
the name of the villa and the municipality
were changed to Milam in honor of Benjamin
Rush Milam who had been killed in
the storming of the Alamo on December 7,
1835. The Mexican colonies ceased to
exist with the Texas Declaration of Independence
on March 2, 1836. When the
Constitution of the Republic of Texas was
adopted on March 17, 1836, the area
which had been known successively as the
Nashville Colony, the Upper Colony,
Robertson's Colony, the Municipality of
Viesca, and the Municipality of Milam
came into the Republic as the County of
. The area known today as Robertson's
Colony covered all or part of thirty
present-day Texas counties-Bastrop,
Bell, Bosque, Brazos, Brown, Burleson,
Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell,
Eastland, Erath, Falls, Hamilton, Hill,
Hood, Jack, Johnson, Lampasas, Lee,
Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Palo
Pinto, Parker, Robertson, Somervell,
Stephens, and Williamson.
During the thirteen months that
Robertson's land office was open, under his
name as empresario, land titles were issued
to 271 individuals for a total of 1,100,545.9
acres. A list of these titles and all titles issued
in this area by other authorities has
been published in the July, 1987 issue of the
Southwestern Historical Quarterly giving
grantee's name, date of the grant,county in
which it is located, land commissioner's
name, number of acres, and reference to
the volume and pages in the Papers Concerning
Robertson's Colony in Texas where a
map and complete details on each grant are
located. Volume III of the Papers was sponsored
by the Texas Historical Foundation.
Dr. Malcolm D. McLean is the head of the
Robertson Colony Collection at the University of
Texas at Arlington.
HERITAGE * WINTER 1991 17
Dr. McLean in the Robertson Colony Collection, a room that was built in the library of
the University of Texas at Arlington for compiling, translating, editing, and publishing
the Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991, periodical, Winter 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45422/m1/17/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.