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Price land grant in Austin colony

Stephen F. Austin colony land grant

As far as I know, the original copy of this land grant was given to what is now called the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the 1960’s. My grandmother’s sister, Mary Seleta Dodgen, a retired school teacher, was the keeper of the land grant until she donated it.

Mary’s mother was Mary Mobley Price before she married Joseph Caswell Dodgen, so the James Price who applied for this land grant was probably her grandfather.

The original application to Mexico for a grant of land for 300 Anglo families from the United States was made by Moses Austin in 1821, but he died and left the project for his son, Stephen, to complete. Each section of land for individuals was based on married/single status, as well as whether the individual would be farming or ranching. The ranchers received several thousand acres and the farmers received 177 acres each, which was about all one family could expect to work. And, of course, only men need apply.

I think that the handwritten description toward the bottom says ‘per poder especial del Sr. Empresario Austin‘, which I would interpret to mean, ‘under the auspices of the Empresario, Stephen F. Austin. The document is signed by Samuel Williams, who partnered with Austin for this part of the colony.

We can tell from the document that James Price was married, and had a family of eight. The date on Price’s portion is, I believe, June 1, 1831, and the number of this grant is 604 (out of approximately 1000 total). At this point, Mexico had cut off grants to Americans (the Mexicans were rightly getting nervous about so many nortemericanos pouring into their country), but somehow Austin was able to get an exemption for his colony.

For those who do further reading on Austin’s colony, this Price document is not part of the original “Old Three Hundred” , but, rather, a later addition. I do recommend getting a copy of the PBS special “The West”, a lengthy set of videos telling stories you might not have heard before about the people of The West, including the native inhabitants. Stephen F. Austin is mentioned, and a lot of time is also devoted to the perspective of the various tribal peoples who lived in the disputed territories.  For example, the Karankawa tribe was not at all impressed that some foreign folk had been deeded land by some other foreign folk they’d already come to some kind of terms with.

A previous post on this blog briefly mentions Moses Austin, father of Stephen F. Austin, in a letter. If you read any of the links I have given you in today’s post, you will run across the Austin family businesses in Missouri, the origin of the letter.