Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas. Page: 18 of 28
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MESSAGE OF THE GOVERNOR.
tend to complicate the rights of the State without giving any material benefit
to actual. settlers or innocent purchasers. It has ever been the policy of
the government to encourage the settlement of her public lands. The intention
of the State in the first instance in granting these lands to her corporate
creatures was that they should be alienated within stated periods to natural
persons. The act of 1854 required them all to be sold within twelve years
from the date of the acquisition of title thereto. Under that law title was
acquired on locating the certificates and returning the field notes of the surveys
to the General Land Office. Patents were not necessary to vest the
title. The companies were also prohibited under that law from granting any
of these lands to other corporations. Several times from 1854 to 1876,
relief acts affecting the railways were passed by the Legislature suspending
the statue of limitations in some particulars. As to whether the courts
would hold that those statutes also suspended the time within which the
lands should be sold, of course is not known. Under the constitution of
1876 all railway companies acquiring lands from the State by grant were
required to alienate them at a period to be fixed by law, in no event to exceed
twelve years from the "issuance of the patent" thereon. The act giving
effect to this provision of the constitution provides that all lands acquired
by railway companies from the State shall be alienated by them one.half
in six years and one-half in twelve years from the "issuance of the patent" to
same.-R. S. 4277. This law virtually suspended the effect of the statute of
limitations within which such lands must be sold until such times as "patents"
on them may be issued. Had the law required them to sell within
twelve years after "title to the land had been acquired," much of the complications
affecting land titles now would have been avoided. Many of
those companies never procured the issuance of patents until the State took
action to recover the lands they had illegally obtained for sidings and switches.
They held title to them by virtue of certificates located and returned to
the land office, and avoided the statute of limitations by not procuring patents
to them. In this way they have withheld their lands from settlement
until the State sold its alternate sections lying by the side of them. Many
sections of this land are yet held by certificate filed in the land office and patents
to them are unissued and will not be issued under the policy of the
present admistration until settlement may be had with the companies and
their corporate assigns for the land they so unlawfully obtained from the
State. The only law on the subject that is now deemed advisable is one that
may authorize the Attorney General and the Land Commissioner to accept
for the State such portion of the remaining land held by the several railway
companies or their corporate assigns as shall amount to the quantity of land
that the records show were originally obtained unlawfully by the company
desiring the settlement.
LAND AND COUNTY BOUNDARIES.
Suitable provision is also demanded by the people for the location and permanent
establishment of county lines and boundaries and also lines and
boundaries of land belonging to the public free school fund of the State'
This is important to prevent continuous and vexatious litigation to the disturbance
and annoyance of neighbors, and to correct a source of much
trouble constantly irritating some of the counties over their boundaries in
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Gov. J. S. Hogg to the twenty-third Legislature of Texas., book, January 12, 1893; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5861/m1/18/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .