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THE OLD 300 FAMILIES OF EARLY DAY TEXAS


This webpage provides the early-day settlement history of Texas beginning with Moses Austin and his son Stephen F. Austin and the original 300 families that became known as the Old 300. This webpage also contains an old 300 Bulletin Board for posting additional information and inquiries.

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THE OLD 300 FAMILIES: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN'S COLONY IN TEXAS (1821-1823)




Welcome to Len Kubiak's Texas History Page


STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN



Stephen F. Austin led the Old 300 Familes into Texas after the death of his father Moses Austin in 1821. Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Austinville, Wythe county, Virginia, on November 3, 1793, the son of Moses Austin, a native of Durham, Connecticut. In 1820, Moses Austin obtained from Mexico a grant of land for an American colony in Texas, but died before he could carry out his project.

His son, Stephen was educated New London, Connecticut, and at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, and settled in Missouri. Here, Stephen F. Austin was a member of the territorial legislature from 1813 to 1819. In 1819 he moved to the Arkansas Territory, where he was appointed a circuit judge.

After his father's death, Stephen obtained confirmation of the Texas grants from the newly established Mexican government, and in 1821-23 he established a colony of several hundred American families on the Brazos river. The largest settlement in the new colony was named San Felipe de Austin.

Austin was a firm defender of the rights of the Americans in Texas, and in 1833 he was sent to the city of Mexico to present a petition from a convention in Texas praying for the erection of a separate state government. While there, he wrote home recommending the organization of a state without waiting for the consent of the Mexican congress. Unfortunately his letter fell into the hands of the Mexican government. Austin was arrested at Saltillo, returned to Mexico, and imprisoned for a year without trial.

When Austin returned to Texas in 1835, he found the Texans in armed revolt against Mexican rule, and was chosen commander-in-chief of the revolutionary forces. However after failing to take San Antonio, his command was reassigned.

After the battle of San Jacinto, Austin ran for the Presidency of the Republic of Texas, but was defeated by Sam Houston. Austin then served as Secretary of State under Houston until his sudden death on the 27th of December 1836.



THE IMPERIAL COLONIZATION LAW


The Mexican government needed U.S. settlers to hold on to their Texas territory. As a result, all legislative bodies of the provisional and regular governments of Mexico appointed committees to draft a colonization law, but the first such law was passed by the Junta Instituyente, Emperor Agustín de Iturbide's rump congress, on January 3, 1823. This law invited Catholic immigrants to settle in Mexico; provided for the employment of agents, called empresarios, to introduce families in units of 200; defined the land measurement in terms of labores (177 acres each), leagues or sitios (4,428 acres), and haciendas (five leagues each); and defined the privileges and certain limitations of immigrants and empresarios.

Families who farmed crops were promised at least a labor of land; families who raised cattle were promised a league of land, and families who both farmed and raised cattle were to receive a labor and a league of land.

Settlers were free of tithes and other taxes for six years and subject only to half payments for another six years; families might import "merchandise" free of duty and tools and materials for their own use to the value of $2,000; and settlers became automatically naturalized citizens upon residence of three years, if married and self-supporting.

An empresario might receive premium lands to the amount of three haciendas and two labors (roughly 66,774 acres) for settling 200 families. Total premiums and permanent holdings of empresarios were limited. Article 30 of the law, by inference, permitted immigrants to bring slaves into the empire but declared children of slaves born in Mexican territory free at the age of fourteen and prohibited domestic slave trading, a limitation that was sometimes evaded. The law provided for settlement by the local governments of immigrants not introduced by empresarios. The law was annulled by the abdication of the emperor in March 1823, but the provisional government that succeeded Iturbide applied its terms by special decree to Austin's first colony in April 1823.


OLD THREE HUNDRED

The name, "Old Three Hundred" refers to the settlers who received land grants in Stephen F. Austin's first colony in Texas. Stephen F. Austin took up his father's colonization activities and traveled to San Antonio, where he met with the Spanish governor Antonio María Martínez. The governor acknowledged Stephen F. Austin as his father's successor allowing the colonization activities to proceed. Stephen F. Austin recruited some hardy pioneers willing to move to Texas and by the end of the summer of 1824, most of the Old Three Hundred were in Texas.

"Old Three Hundred" included the following recorded families:



ELIJAH ALLCORN
MARTIN ALLEN

JOHN ALLEY
RAWSON ALLEY
THOMAS ALLEY
WILLIAM ALLEY
CHARLES GRUNDISON ALSBURY
JAMES HARVEY ALSBURY
THOMAS ALSBURY
SIMEON ASA ANDERSON
JOHN ANDREWS
WILLIAM ANDREWS
SAMUEL T. ANGIER
JOHN AUSTIN
JAMES ELIJAH BROWN AUSTIN
STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN
JAMES BRITON BAILEY
DANIEL E. BALIS
WILLIAM BARRETT
THOMAS BARNETT
MILLS M. BATTLE
JAMES BEARD
BENJAMIN BEASON
CHARLES BELKNAP
JOSIAH H. BELL
MANDERS BERRY
ISAAC BEST
WILLIAM BLOODGOOD
THOMAS BOATWRIGHT
THOMAS HENRY BORDEN
CALEB R. BOSTIC
JOHN T. BOWMAN
EDWARD R. BRADLEY
JOHN BRADLEY
THOMAS BRADLEY
CHARLES BREEN
WILLIAM B. BRIDGES
DAVID BRIGHT
ENOCH BRINSON
ROBERT BROTHERTON
GEORGE BROWN
JOHN BROWN
WILLIAM S. BROWN

AYLETT C. BUCKNER

PUMPHREY BURNET
JESSE BURNAM
MICAJAH BYRD
MOSES A. CALLIHAN
ALEXANDER CALVIT
DAVID CARPENTER
WILLIAM C. CARSON
SAMUEL C. CARTER
JESSE H. CARTWRIGHT
THOMAS CARTWRIGHT
SYLVANUS CASTLEMAN
SAMUEL CHANCE
HORATIO CHRIESMAN
ANTHONY R. CLARKE
JOHN C. CLARK
MERIT M. COATS
JOHN P. COLES
JAMES COOK
WILLIAM COW COOPER
WILLIAM SAWMILL COOPER
JOHN CRIER
JOHN CROWNOVER
JAMES CUMINGS
JOHN CUMINGS
REBEKAH CUMINGS
WILLIAM CUMINGS
HINTON CURTIS
JAMES CURTIS, SR.
JAMES CURTIS, JR.
SAMUEL DAVIDSON
THOMAS DAVIS
DANIEL DECROW

CHARLES DeMOSS
PETER DeMOSS
WILLIAM B. DEWEES
JOHN R DICKINSON
NICHOLAS DILLARD
THOMAS MARSHALL DUKE
GEORGE DUTY
JOSEPH DUTY
CLEMENT C. DYER
THOMAS EARLE
GUSTAVUS E. EDWARDS
ROBERT ELDER
CHARLES FALENASH
DAVID FENTON
JOHN F. FIELDS
JAMES FISHER
DAVID FITZGERALD
ISAIAH FLANAKIN
ELISHA FLOWERS
ISAAC FOSTERS
JOHN FOSTER
RANDOLF FOSTER
JAMES FRAZIER
CHURCHILL FULSHEAR, SR.
CHARLES GARRETT
SAMUEL GATES
WILLIAM GATES
FREEMAN GEORGE PRESTON GILBERT
SARAH GILBERT
DANIEL GILLELAND
CHESTER SPALDING GORBET
MICHAEL GOULDRICH
THOMAS GRAY
JARED ELLISON GROCE, II
ROBERT GUTHRIE
JOHN HADDON
SAMUEL C. HADY
GEORGE E. HALL
JOHN W. HALL
WILLIAM J. HALL
DAVID HAMILTON
ABNER HARRIS
DAVID HARRIS
JOHN RICHARDSON HARRIS
WILLIAM HARRIS
WILLIAM J. HARRIS
GEORGE HARRISON
WILLIAM HARVEY
THOMAS S. HAYNES
JAMES HENSLEY
ALEXANDER HODGE
FRANCIS HOLLAND
WILLIAM HOLLAND
JAMES HOPE
CHARLES S. HUDSON
GEORGE HUFF
JOHN HUFF
ELI HUNTER
JOHNSON CALHOUN HUNTER
JOHN IIAMS, SR.
IRA INGRAM
SETH INGRAM
JOHN IRONS
SAMUEL ISAACKS
ALEXANDER JACKSON
HUMPHREY JACKSON
ISAAC JACKSON
THOMAS JAMISON
HENRY W. JOHNSON
HENRY JONES
JAMES WALLES JONES
OLIVER JONES
RANDALL JONES
IMLA KEEP
JOHN KELLER
JOHN KELLY
SAMUEL KENNEDY
ALFRED KENNON
JAMES KERR
PETER KERR
WILLIAM KERR
WILLIAM KINCHELOE
WILLIAM KINGSTON
JAMES KNIGHT
ABNER KUYKENDALL
BARZILLAE KUYKENDALL
JOSEPH KUYKENDALL
ROBERT H. KUYKENDALL
HOSEA H. LEAGUE
JOEL LEAKEY
JOHN LITTLE
WILLIAM LITTLE
JANE HERBERT WILKINSON LONG
JAMES LYNCH
NATHANIEL LYNCH
JOHN McCROSKEY
ARTHUR McCORMICK
DAVID McCORMICK
JOHN McCORMICK
THOMAL McCOY
ACHILLES McFARLAND <
JOHN McFARLAN
THOMAS F. McKINNEY
HUGH McKINSEY
A. W. McCLAIN
JAMES McNAIR
DANIEL McNEEL
GEORGE W. McNEEL
JOHN G. McNEEL
PLEASANT D. McNEEL
STERLING McNEEL
ELIZABETH McNUTT
WILLIAM McWILLIAMS
SHUBAEL MARSH
WYLIE MARTIN
WILLIAM MATTHEWS
DAVID MILLBURN
SAMUEL R. MILLER
SIMON MILLER
JAMES D. MILLICAN
ROBERT MILLICAN
WILLIAM T. MILLICAN
JOSEPH MIMS
ASA MITCHELL
JOHN HENRY MOORE, SR.
LUKE MOORE
MOSES MORRISON
WILLIAM MORTON
DAVID MOUSER
JAMES NELSON
JOSEPH NEWMAN
MILTON B. NUCKOLS
JAMES ORRICK
NATHAN OSBORN
WILLIAM PARKS
JOSHUA PARKER
WILLIAM PARKER
ISAAC M. PENNINGTON
GEORGE SAMUEL PENTECOST
FREEMAN PETTUS
JOHN PETTY
JOHNATHAN C. PEYTON
JAMES AENEAS E. PHELPS
ISHAM B. PHILLIPS
ZENO PHILIPS
PAMELA PICKET
JOSEPH HENRY POLLEY
PETER POWELL
PLEASANT PRUIT
WILLIAM PRYOR
ANDREW RABB
JOHN RABB
THOMAS J. RABB
WILLIAM RABB
WILLIAM RALEIGH
LAWRENCE RAMEY
DAVID RANDON
JOHN RANDON
FREDERICK HARRISON RANKIN
AMOS RAWLS
BENJAMIN RAWLS
DANIEL RAWLS
PATRICK REELS

STEPHEN RICHARDSON

ELIJAH ROARK
EARLE ROBBINS
WILLIAM ROBBINS
ANDREW ROBERTS
NOEL F. ROBERTS
WILLIAM ROBERTS
EDWARD ROBERTSON
ANDREW ROBINSON
GEORGE ROBINSON
JAMES J. ROSS
JOSEPH SAN PIERRE
ROBERT SCOBEY
JAMES COTT
WILIAM SCOTT
WILLIAM SELKIRK
DAVID SHELBY
DANIEL SHIPMAN
MOSES SHIPMAN
BARTLETT SIMS
GEORGE WASHINGTON SINGLETON
PHILIP SINGLETON
CHRISTIAN SMITH
CORNELIUS SMITH
JOHN SMITH
WILLIAM SMITHERS
GABRIEL STRAW SNIDER
ALBERT LLOYD SOJOURNER
NANCY SPENCER
ADAM STAFFORD
WILLIAM JOSEPH STAFFORD

THOMAS STEVENS
OWEN H. STOUT
JAMES STRANGE
WALTER SUTHERLAND
ELEMELECH SWEARINGEN
DAVID TALLY
JOHN D. TYLOR
GEORGE TEEL
EZEKIEL THOMAS
JACOB THOMAS
JESSE THOMPSON
THOMAS J. TONE
JAMES F. TONG
SAMUEL TOY
JOHN TROBOUGH
ELIZABETH PLEMMONS TUMLINSON
JAMES TUMLINSON
ISAAC VAN DORN
MARTIN VARNER
ALLEN VINCE
RICHARD VINCE
ROBERT VINCE
WILLIAM VINCE
JAMES WALKER, SR.
THOMAS WALKER
CALEB WALLACE
FRANCIS F. WELLS
THOMAS WESTALL
AMY COMSTOCK WHITE
JOSEPH WHITE
REUBEN WHITE
WALTER C. WHITE
WILLIAM C. WHITE
BOLAND WHITESIDES
HENRY WHITESIDES
JAMES WHITESIDES
WILLIAM WHITESIDES
NATHANIEL WHITING
WILLIAM WHITLOCK
ELIAS R. WIGHTMAN
JANE WILKINS
GEORGE I. WILLIAMS
HENRY WILLIAMS
JOHN WILLIAMS, SR.
ROBERT H. WILLIAMS
SAMUEL MAY WILLIAMS
SOLOMON WILLIAMS
THOMAS WILLIAMS
ZADOCK WOODS



OLD 300 FAMILIES RECEIVE LAND GRANTS

Since the Spanish were eager to settle the vast expanse that was the Texas territory, it was decided under the colonization decree drawn up by the Spanish that the family would be the unit for land distribution. However, Stephen Austin permitted unmarried men to receive grants in partnership, usually in groups of two or three. Twenty-two such partnership titles were issued to fifty-nine partners.

In all, 307 land titles were issued, with nine families receiving two titles each. Thus the total number of grantees, excluding Austin's own grant, was actually 297, not 300. The colonization decree required that all the lands should be occupied and improved within two years; most of the settlers were able to comply with the terms, and only seven of the grants were forfeited.

During 1823-24, Stephen Austin and the land commissioner Baron de Bastrop issued 272 titles, but Bastrop was called away in August 1824, and the work remained unfinished until 1827, when the new commissioner, Gaspar Flores de Abrego, issued the remaining titles.


EARLY ANGLO SETTLEMENTS IN TEXAS

The lands selected by the Old 300 colonists were located along the bottom lands of the Brazos, Colorado, and San Bernard rivers, extending from the vicinity of present-day Brenham, Navasota, and La Grange to the Gulf of Mexico. According to the terms of the colonization agreement, each family engaged in farming was to receive one labor (about 177 acres) and each ranching family one sitio (about 4,428 acres).

As one might expect, a sizeable number of the colonists classified themselves as stock raisers, though they were technically planters, to get the additional acreage. Each family's sitio was to have a frontage on the river equal to about one-fourth of its length; thus the east bank of the Brazos was soon completely occupied from the Gulf to what is now Brazos County. Most of the labors were arranged in three groups around San Felipe de Austin, which formed the nucleus of the colony.


STATE OF ORIGIN OF THE OLD 300 SETTLERS

The largest number of the Old Three Hundred colonists were from Louisiana, followed by Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri. Virtually all of the Old 300 were of British ancestry. Many had been born east of the Appalachians and were part of the large westward migration of the early years of the nineteenth century. Most were farmers, and many-including the Bell, Borden, Kuykendall, McCormick, McNair, McNeel, Raab, and Varner families-already had substantial means before they arrived.

Because Austin wanted to avoid problems with his colonists, he generally only accepted those of "better" classes and only four of the Old Three Hundred grantees were illiterate.


443 SLAVES ACCOMPANY THE OLD 300 FAMILIES

Another indication of the financial stature of the grantees was the large number of slaveholders among them; by the fall of 1825, 69 of the families in Austin's colony owned slaves, and the 443 slaves in the colony accounted for nearly a quarter of the total population of 1,790.

One of the colonists, Jared E. Groce, who arrived from Georgia in January 1822, had ninety slaves. Though not all of the original grantees survived or prospered, Austin's Old Three Hundred, as historian T. R. Fehrenbach has written, formed "the first Anglo planter-gentry in the province." Their plantations, arrayed along the rich coastal riverbottoms, constituted the heart of the burgeoning slave empire in antebellum Texas.


LETTER WRITTEN IN 1841 BY ONE OF THE EARLY SETTLERS IN TEXAS


Postmarked: New Orleans, Louisiana Nov. 18,1841
Addressed to: Pheneas C. Hall and Samuel B. Hall State Illinois, Jackson County, Brownsville
Letter headed: Texas, Washington County, Cedar Creek Nov. 5,1841

"Dear Sons, I now embrace the opportunity to drop you a few line informing you that through the mercies of the Great Giver of All Blessings we are all enjoying good health say all our friends-your Mother excepted and her health is much the same as it was when you were here.

I sincerely hope that these lines may find you and all the Connections in a state of perfect good health. I have but little of importance to communicate to you- we have good crops of corne (corne is selling at $.50 per bushel).

Cotton crops are tolerable good. There is a great quantity raised in the County. This season cotton is from $9.50 to $10.00 per hun.

I can inform you that midst plenty we have indirectly Peace. The Mexicans scarcely threaten us as they are so engaged in perpetual war at home they have not time to think of war abroad. It is a short time since Santa Anna defeated Bustementa (the President and Cheiftain of Mexico) and got possession of the City of Mexico and is counquering all the Centerlists before him. This has been the misfortune of those rebeled criters for the last eleven years and God only knows when such a civil war will be at an end.

I wrote you a letter about the last of August informing you that if you could encourage me to come I intend to pay you a visit though I have not received any answer yet though I am still expecting one. In some short time if I receive a letter shortly informing me to come I shall start in three days after I receive it, but if the time is delayed I cannot come lest the River might freeze up and I be detained until Spring. Which would be very much against my wishes.

If you are not prepared to pay the little money that is coming to William and Jackson at this time perhaps you can discharge it in flower next spring. If you can write to me immediately and I will come on or about the first of March next.

Since James speaks of authenticizing me to dispose of the eighty acres of land joining you as he has declined the intention of ever going back to live there. He is such a fair way of sitting well to live and becoming wealthy. The boys is all in a good way of making a good living but William is a little embarrased at this time. They have lands in abundance but it will not sell for money. They are anxious to get out of debt before the law is repealed making property bring two-thirds of its value as property cannot be sold under any pretence whatever for less than two-thirds of its value. Congress is now in session and it's expected the the above law will be repealed and a new law be passed making property sell for what it will bring. If so it will place the citizens of this County in a very awkward situation and some of ourselves among the rest unless you can do something for them.

If you cannot raise money, flower can be used. Have very soon and I will come and receive it first next March but if I receive a letter from you to come this fall I will start in two or three days after receiving it. William and Jackson both have helpless family and not situated to leave them and the way I am situated to assist them is to attend to their concerns in that County. I assure you it would be a great accomodation to them if you can help them and it would be remembered by them as a great favor.

As it is not in my power to assist them at this time, please to write me every month for two or three months. Perhaps I may get some of your letters. Before I close I inform you that your Mother sends her love to you both and all her grandchildren. Also my adopted daughter, Sarah A. Hall sends her best respects to all her uncles and aunts and she says she wishes to see them all but her lot is cast-always therefore she has to be content with her situation.

I now close my letter by offering to you my best love and effections. Your Affectionate Father until Death, James Hall Sr.

Before I close I inform you that religion is flourishing very much in this County- eighteen months back there was not a Baptist church west of the Brazos River- now there are seven or eight containing a great many members."

James Hall Sr.


Curtesy of Barbara Stacy of Sun City, CA

TYPES OF LAND GRANTS ISSUED IN EARLY-DAY TEXAS


First Class Headright

Issued to those who arrived before March 2, 1836. Heads of families received one league (4,428 acres) and one labor (177.1 acres), while single men received 1/3 league (1,476.1 acres).

Second Class Headright

Issued to those who arrived between March 2, 1836 and October 1, 1837. Heads of families received 1,280 acres, while single men received 640 acres.

Third Class Headright

Issued to those who arrived between October 1, 1837 and January 1, 1840. Heads of families received 640 acres, while single men received 320 acres.

Fourth Class Headright

Issued to those who arrived between January 1, 1840 and January 1, 1842. The amounts issued were the same as for third class headrights, plus the requirement of cultivation of 10 acres.

Pre-emption Grant

Similar to the headright grants, pre-emption grants were made after statehood. From 1845 to 1854 homesteaders could claim 320 acres. From 1854 to 1856, and 1866 to 1898, up to 160 acres could be claimed. Homesteaders were required to live on the land for three years and make improvements (such as building a barn) in order to qualify for a pre-emption grant of 160 acres.

Empresario Colonies In The Republic Of Texas

Four colonies were established under contracts with the Republic of Texas:
Peters' Colony (1841)
Fisher and Miller's Colony (1842)
Castro's Colony (1842)
and Mercer's Colony (1844).

Heads of families were eligible for land grants of 640 acres while single men were eligible for 320 acres. Settlers were required to cultivate at least fifteen acres in order to receive the patent.

Military Land Grants

Bounty Grant
Grants for military service during the Texas Revolution were provided by the Republic of Texas. Each three months of service provided 320 acres up to a maximum of 1,280 acres. Bounty grants for guarding the frontier (1838-1842) were issued by the Republic of Texas. Soldiers were issued certificates for 240 acres. 7,469 bounty grants were issued for 5,354,250 acres.

Donation Grant
Grants were issued by the Republic of Texas for participation in specific battles of the revolution. Soldiers who fought in the Siege of Bexar and the battle of San Jacinto (including the baggage detail at Harrisburg), and the heirs of those who fell at the Alamo and Goliad were eligible for 640 acres. 1,816 donation warrants were issued for 1,162,240 acres.

Military Headright Grant
Special headrights of one league were provided by the Republic of Texas to:
Soldiers who arrived in Texas between March 2 and August 1, 1836
Heirs of soldiers who fell with Fannin, Travis, Grant and Johnson
and soldiers who were permanently disabled.

Republic Veterans Donation Grant
A grant was provided by the state of Texas to veterans of the Texas Revolution and signers of the Declaration of Independence. The veteran was required to have received a bounty grant or to be eligiblefor one. A donation law in 1879 provided 640 acres and required proof of indigence. A donation law passed in 1881 provided 1,280 acres and dropped the indigency requirement. This grant was repealed in 1887 with 1,278 certificates issued for 1,377,920 acres.

Confederate Scrip
Certificates for 1280 acres were provided to confederate soldiers who were permanently disabled or to the widows of confederate soldiers. Passed in 1881, it was repealed in 1883 with 2,068 certificates issued.

Loan And Sales Scrip

Loan scrip was a land certificate issued to provide for or repay loans made to the government of Texas. Sales scrip was a land certificate directly sold to raise money for Texas. Most of this scrip was issued to cover costs of the war. The following is a list of the categories of scrip indicated with the name by which they were known.

Bryan Scrip
Land scrip was issued to William Bryan equal to the amount of debts owed to him for loans made during the war for independence. December 6, 1836.

Sam Houston Scrip
The president (Sam Houston) was authorized to negotiate a loan for $20,000 for the purpose of purchasing ammunition and munitions of war. To do this, he was authorized to sell a sufficient amount of land scrip at a minimum of $0.50 per acre to raise money for the loan. December 10, 1836.

Toby Scrip
The president was authorized to issue scrip to the amount of five hundred thousand acres of land. This scrip was to be transmitted to Thomas Toby of New Orleans and sold at a minimum of $0.50 per acre. December 10, 1836.

White Scrip
An agency was established in the city of Mobile, and David White was authorized as an agent of Texas to sell land scrip at a minimum rate of $0.50 per acre for the benefit of the government. December 10, 1836.

James Erwin Scrip
On January 20, 1836, Stephen F. Austin, Branch T. Archer and William Warton contracted with James Erwin and others in New Orleans for a loan of $50,000. June 3, 1837.

First Loan Scrip
The president of the Republic was authorized to issue land scrip to the stockholders as payment for the first loan to Texas "..to fulfill and carry into effect the contract of compromise made on April 1, 1836 between (the interim Texas government) and the stockholders in the first loan (for $200,000) negotiated in New Orleans on January 11, 1836." May 24, 1838.

Funded Debt Scrip
Any holder of promissory notes, bonds, funded debt or any other liquidated claims against the government could "surrender the same, and receive in lieu thereof, land scrip." The scrip was issued at a rate equal to $2.00 per acre. February 5, 1841.

General Land Office Scrip
The Commissioner of the General Land Office was authorized to issue land scrip at $0.50 per acre for the liquidation of the public debt of the late Republic of Texas. February 11, 1850.

Sales Scrip
The Commissioner of the General Land Office was authorized to issue land scrip in certificates of not less than 160 acres at $1.00 per acre for the sale of the public domain. February 11, 1858.

Internal Improvement Scrip
Central National Road
Under a law passed in 1844, various amounts were issued to road commissioners, surveyors and contractors for building a road from the Red River to the Trinity River in what is now Dallas. Certificates were issued for 27,716 acres.

Scrip for Building Steamboats, Steamships and Other Vessels
Certificates for 320 acres were issued for building a vessel of at least 50 tons, with 320 acres for each additional 25 tons. Sixteen ships were built taking advantage of this 1854 law.

Railroad Scrip
Several laws were passed beginning in 1854. The exact provisions varied, but generally an amount of land was offered for each mile of rail constructed. The Constitution of 1876 provided 16 sections per mile. Railroads were required to survey an equal amount of land to be set aside for the public school fund. Certificates were issued for 35,777,038 acres.

Industry Scrip
For building factories. 320 acres were offered for each $1,000 valuation. 1863 law. Certificates were issued for 111,360 acres.

Navigation Scrip
Several acts were passed beginning in 1854 for building ship channels, and improving rivers and harbors for navigation. Certificates were issued for various amounts of land for each mile completed. (For example, 320 certificates for 640 acres each were issued for building a ship channel 8 feet deep and 100 feet wide across Mustang Island). Certificates were issued for 4,261,760 acres.

Irrigation Canal Scrip
Sections of land were provided based on the class of ditch as specified by acts passed in 1874, 1875 and 1876. Certificates were issued for 584,000 acres.



All legislation authorizing internal improvement scrip was repealed in 1882.

School Land

Sale of the school lands began in 1874. Until 1905, the price, amount of land available, method of purchase, and eligibility requirements varied greatly. Legislation passed in 1905 required that the school lands be sold through competitive bidding. Purchasers could buy a maximum of 4 sections with residence required in most counties, or 8 sections with no residence required in other designated (western) counties.

End of the Unappropriated Public Domain

In Hogue v. Baker, 1898, the Texas Supreme Court declared that there was no more vacant and unappropriated land in Texas. As a result of the decision, a complete audit was ordered by the Legislature. The audit determined that the public school fund was short of the amount of land it should have had by 5,009,478 acres.

In 1900 an act was passed "to define the permanent school fund of the State of Texas, to partition the public lands between said fund and the State, and to adjust the account between said fund and said state; to set apart and appropriate to said school fund, the residue of the public domain..." Thus, all of the remaining unappropriated land was set aside by the legislature for the school fund.




BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924-28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Lester G. Bugbee, Austin Colony (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1893). T. R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans (New York: Macmillan, 1968), Texas Land Commission.





MORE HISTORY OF OLD 300 FAMILIES


Elijah Allcorn, who came to Spanish Texas in December, 1821. Settled on Tumlinson's Branch of New Year's Creek about three miles north of Brenham. Wife: Nancy Hodge Allcorn. Immigrated from Franklin County, Georgia, via Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri. Roots trace back to York County, South Carolina; Mechlenburg County, North Carolina; and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. W Alcorn

Micajah Byrd. Micajah and Hanna Byrd came from Friedrich Virginia to Texas in 1824 as part of Austin's Old 300 Colonists. They settled in Washington County at La Bahia Crossin. The youngest of the Byrd girls, Nancy, married Rev. James Middleton Wesson, on July 10 1852. He was a Circuit Rider for the Methosit Chruch. Nancy died November 2, 1884 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Navasota, TX.

John Prince Coles. J. P. Coles was born in Rowan County NC in 1793 and came with his family to Texas as one of the first settlers of Washington County. He established his home near Independence in 1822 and established the first mill. His house is the oldest house still standing in Washington County, built in 1824. He served as an Alcalde in Mexican Texas from 1828 until the Revolution in 1836. Coles became active in politics in both Mexican Texas and the Republic. In 1824 se served on a committee to prepare a petition to the Mexican Congress concerning slavery. He attended the Conventions as a delegate from Washington County in 1833, 1836, and 1839. He served as Chief Justice for the County and in 1840/41 represented Washington County in the House of the fifth congress of the Republic of Texas, He was a substantial planter, and brought garlic into Texas. Coles was known far and wide for his hospitality and public spirit. His community was known as Coles settlement and this is where he died in 1847. He is buried in the Old Independence Cemetery which is a part of the original Coles Settlement.

Joshua Parker. Joshua Parker met Moses Austin in Georgia in 1821 and enrolled in the proposed Austin Colony in Texas. He received land in what is now Wharton County on July 24, 1824 amd came to Texas with William Parks as a part of the old 300. Parker built his home on Palmetto Creek adjacent to the Stephen F. Austin Headquarters. He was a single man, and became a Farmer and Stockman in Texas. He bought a Mule from James Gaines, ordered horses from Josiah H. Bell. and an Ox Ring from Nicholas Clopper. While driving a herd of horses to the Rio Grande, he had a quarrell with Aylett Buckner. He was a friend and supporter of William B,. Travis. Joshua Parker is buried in the Old Independence Cemetery.

Isaac Pennington was one of the early school teachers in Austins Colony. He was a partner to David Randon as one of the old 300 families. They received a sitio of land in present Fort Bend County, on August 4, 1824. Pennington was a farmer and stock raiser and became mail contractor between Independence and Milam in 1836. He took part in the election of Baron de Bastrop as deputy for Coahuila and Texas in April of 1824. It is not certain as to what relationship he was to Sydney O. Pennington, one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence nor Riggs Pennington, another of Washington County's early settlers.

James Walker, Sr. Arriving in Texas about 1822, James WALKER, Sr., Catherine MILLER WALKER, their younger children, John M., Sanders, Susanna (married to Phillip SINGLETON), and Lucinda (married to Abraham LOVEALL), accompanied by a small number of slaves, were among the first of AUSTIN's colonists. Children remaining in Wayne County, Kentucky were James Jr. (married to Abelar COLLETT), Charles, Thomas (married to Miranda COLLETT), Sarah (married to William TOWNSON), Catherine (married to Robert SINGLETON) and Lucretia (wife of Silas Bell). Living in Tennessee was son Gideon (with second wife, Sally WALKER). James WALKER Sr. was issued title on July 21, 1824 for one sitio of land (one labor plus one league or about 4428 acres) fronting on the Brazos at New Years Creek.

Thomas Stevens and his wife Elizabeth Miller Stevens (her parents were Simon Miller and Sarah Lucinda Rucker Miller of the old 300 also).



For questions or comments, send me an Email at
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OLD300 BULLETIN BOARD

If you have any information relating to the Old 300 or any related topic, send me an email and I'll post it on this webpage for our readers. Thanks....Len Kubiak:

lenkubiak.geo@yahoo.com

Received the following email from Billie Bolton (bj.bolton12@gmail.com): Elemelech Swearingen became the last of the original "300". There is a Texas historical marker on the land where he settled which became the community of Millheim in Austin County. He also served in the Texas war for independence. I'm including a picture of the marker.
Thank you,
Billie Bolton



Received the following informative email from Mike Austin:

An Austin among you
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008
From: "Austin, Mike" (mike.austin@shawgrp.com)

I have dabbled in attempting to piece my family history together for about 10-15 years now, and I think maybe your site will help a bit.

I once thought my great great grandfather, Norman Austin, was one of the 300. His second cousin was Stephen Fuller Austin. I need to look at my family tree, which goes back to Richard Austin in England, in I believe 1506, and see if one of the other two Austins on the list of 300, was related to him and sold him the land where his store and home in Matagorda were.

Norman Austin left Matagorda with the Matagorda volunteers, and rode to Goliad and Joined Captain Albert Horton’s mounted rangers under Fannin. His company was on patrol the morning of the attack on La Bahia, and got separated from the main garrison by a heavy fog it is told to me. Subsequently, Norman survived the massacre, and lived well into his eighties as a successful merchant with his wife, Eliza, in the town of Belton Texas, where the old Austin Family Cemetery is today.

I have scanned an old photo of Norman and Eliza that my family has, and am enclosing it for you. Note the Texas flag pinned on Norman's jacket. This photo was taken at a Texas Veterans Reunion held in Fort Worth in I believe 1880.

I have been told that I and my sons(Stephen Tyler Austin and Zachary Michael Austin) may well be the last remaining Austins from that branch of the original settlers of Texas, though there are a number of black Austins who are decendants of the slaves that my great great grandfather, Stephen F, and the other Austins had.

Don’t ask me why, but after being raised on the coast, living ten years in Austin , I find myself gravitating closer and closer to the Brazos River , and am now living in Fort Bend County, just east of Stephen F. Austin State Park. That’s it, just thought you might find this interesting. Regards,

Charles Michael (Mike) Austin

1803 Lowell CT.; Katy, Texas 77494


Norman and Eliza A. Houston Austin. Norman fought in the Texas Revolution and he and his wife are burried in the Austin family plot in Belton Texas.








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