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One of the earliest obtainable Texas cartographic items is this Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company land certificate, which includes a map showing the grant to the 3 empresarios and the adjoining Austin Colony.
The certificate states:
That it certifies that the subscribers as the trustees and attorneys of Lorenzo De Zavala, Joseph Vehlein, and David G. Burnet, have given and do hereby give to Richard W. Dey . . . their consent to the location of and holding in severalty, ONE LABOR of Land in TEXAS . . .. New York: October 16, 1830.
The rest of the certificate is completed in manuscript and signed by the three Trustees (Dey, Sumner, and Curtis), and Secretary W.H. Wilson.
The Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company, which was founded in New York in the Summer of 1829. Its purpose was to promote the colonization of lands from the Vehlein-Burnet-de Zavala empresario grants, located immediately to the east of the Austin Colony between the San Jacinto and Sabine Rivers. The company sold scrip which allowed the buyers to locate on one labor (just over 177 acres) or one sitio (about 4428 acres).
The price was five cents an acre, and sales were brisk. However, these sales were of dubious worth and likely were outright fraud. The scrip gave the settlers the right only to locate on the land which the company did not actually own, and the settlers had to complete all the normal requirements of any other emigrant in order to obtain legitimate title. Furthermore, just prior to the issue of the scrip, the Mexican government had forbidden any further immigration to Texas from the United States. While the buyers of this worthless scrip wasted their investment, the company itself made a huge profit.
Streeter noted the location of several examples of the labor, but was never able to locate a sitio
The Labor was lithographed by E.S. Meisner in New York. The Sitio is actually a copper plate engraving, without attribution, and is much rarer. There are several subtle differences within the map.
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