Heritage, Volume 2, Number 3, Summer 1985 Page: 10
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Greenbury Logan received a Bounty Certificate for "having served faithfully and honorably for the term of threemonths from the seventh day of October until the
twenty-third day of December 1835 and having been honorably discharged" from the Texas Army. Photo courtesy of the General Land Office.
Hendrick Arnold, who served as a guide
for Col. Benjamin Milam. Arnold was so
well regarded that several officers reportedly
refused to march until he arrived to
guide the division. He later served at San
Jacinto as part of a spy company led by
Deaf Smith. Arnold, recognized for his
"important service" to the revolutionary
cause, was awarded donation land. Finally,
there was Peter Allen, the son of an
African Methodist Episcopal Bishop in
Philadelphia, who also volunteered in the
fight against Mexico. Allen served as a
musician under Col. Fannin. Although
the instrument is not known, he provided
music for the troops as they marched toward
Goliad in March 1836. Outside of
Goliad, the army was stopped and forced
to surrender. A week later, the prisoners,
including Allen, were shot by their Mexican
captors. For his sacrifice, the family
of Peter Allen received donation land.
The importance of these documents has
not gone unnoticed. As long ago as 1929,
Eugene C. Barker, noted historian at The
University of Texas and author of The Life
of Stephen F. Austin, Founder of Texas,
called the collection "a most comprehensive
source for the history of colonial
Texas." Almost fifty years later, Henry
Putney Beers, who surveyed Spanish and
Mexican records in Texas as part of his
study of Spanish and Mexican Records of
the American Southwest, cited the Land
Office records as "the most valuable collection
of original documents for the history
of the settlement of Texas during the
period 1821-35, and one of the largest
collections for the history of Texas."
Today, these records, numbering 4,200
land titles and an additional 4,700 associated
items, constitute the Spanish Collection.
Among the records are the empresario
contracts of Stephen F. Austin,
Green DeWitt, David G. Burnet, Martin
DeLeon, James Power and James Hewetson,
and John McMullen and James
McGloin; laws, decrees, resolutions, regulations,
and treaties; census reports; petitions;
land grants, titles, surveys, and
field notes; messages of the Governor of
Coahuila and Texas; appointments and reports
of officials; inventories of mission
property; registers of families; and oaths
of allegiance. The land covered by the
collection lay east of San Antonio and
north of Corpus Christi, with approximately
26 million acres of land being
granted by the two countries prior to 1836.
Although the Spanish Collection is open
to the public, researchers face two obstacles.
First, until a detailed inventory is
completed, the primary finding aid is an
Index to Field Notes, which references
the 4,200 titles and provides basic information
about each title, including the
name of the grantee, the date of the title,
and the location of the land. But it does
not identify the associated documents
which comprise over one-half of the collection.
Second, because only about 25 to
30 percent of the documents have been
translated from Spanish to English, research
is slowed unless the researcher
reads Spanish or requests an official translation
from the agency's Spanish Translator.
Although the Land Office has been
required by law since 1837 to employ a
Translator to translate all Spanish-language
records, the project has not been
finished. To fulfill this requirement, the
current Translator is following a systematic
program to review and revise all old
translations as necessary, and to prepare
translations for those documents not previously
done. It is projected that the job
will be completed in approximately six
years, which, by the way, was the original
prediction made by the Land Office over
145 years ago! Continued on Page 17
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 2, Number 3, Summer 1985, periodical, August 1, 1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45444/m1/10/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.