Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987 Page: 33
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Visual Records of Texas Lands
by Michael Q. Hooks, Ph.D.
$-n January 1887 William Sidney
t_./ Porter joined the staff of the
Texas General Land Office as an assistant
compiling draftsman. During his four-year
tenure, Porter, perhaps more familiar to
many as the short story writer 0. Henry,
prepared official maps showing the original
grants and surveys from several counties.
His maps, as well as those drawn by 1S SA
other agency draftsmen, comprise in large
part the map holdings of the General
Maps have been a mainstay of the Land tV78
Office for almost 150 years. Since 1837,
the year after the General Land Office J-'i2^,
was created by the Republic of Texas, the
land. commissioner has been responsible J
for preparing plats or maps of land sur- k
veyed at the direction of the government.
These county maps have been in use
since the first one was prepared in 1838.
Compiled and drawn by in-house draftsmen
or by county surveyors, they provide j fV/
a visual record of land distribution in
Texas. When a researcher wants to see fl!
the exact location of a particular tract of i
land, he can turn to the appropriate
county map. He can place this tract in
relation to other grants and surveys in the
same county and see the location of some
communities, railroads, trails or roads, t d
rivers, creeks, and even some geographi- ? 7'12 5 Z 1
cal landmarks as the county developed.
The county maps also serve as finding - 1
aids to the field notes of the surveys,
which are preserved and maintained as a.1
part of the official land records in the
Land Office's archives and records di-,$8
vision. In addition to identifying theo
grantee, each tract usually includes the ilN-:41.General
Land Office file number and s 4p'
the patent information. Other reference 0
may be given to the abstract, certificate, -p
and survey numbers. With these citation,
researchers can locate the appropriate- I -p
Randall County, 1892. Randall County land was 1
granted to railroads, as was much of the Texas 1
Panhandle. In this case, the International and Dallam County, 1889. A major portion of Dallam County was reser
Great Northern, Houston and Texas Central, and Reservation, set aside as partial payment for constructing the presen
Tyler Tap, Canon City or Canyon, is located as head of the Capitol Syndicate received title to the land. Although
within the H&GN survey block 5. The grants, the remaining acreage went to railroads in return for their co
draftsman was F. G. Blau. G. N. Beaumont compiled and drew the man.
rved for the Capitol Land
t state capitol. Abner Taylor,
a few individuals also received
instruction of lines within Texas.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1987, periodical, Spring 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45438/m1/33/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.