Estevan F. Austin and Baron de Bastrop Signed Land Grant[Old Three Hundred]. Stephen F. Austin and Baron de Bastrop Land Grant Signed. Four integral pages, 16" x 13.25" (height varies), in Spanish, San Felipe de Austin, August 9, 1824, conveying one league of land and one "Hacienda" in Austin's Colony to James and Rebecca Cummins, members of Austin's Old Three Hundred. Austin has signed "Austin" a second time after the top line which reads: "Sello 2° 12 rrs. Habilitado pr la Nacion Mexicana pa el año de 1824" ("Second Seal 12 reales through the Nation of Mexico in the year of our Lord 1824"). The "second seal" or Sello Segundo was given to the recipient indicating that this copy belonged to Cummins and his wife. Countersigned by David McCormick and Samuel M. Williams, also members of the Old Three Hundred. Docketed numerous times on page 4. Heavily toned with chipped edges. Folds are weak and detached through all but one (the uppermost horizontal fold). The signatures of both Austin and Bastrop are placed directly over this fold with only minor separation through each name. Some of the text in the body is damaged along the folds, mostly from fading due to water damage. Loss of paper at the intersections of the horizontal folds with the vertical. Several small holes in the paper from ink burn. Despite the spots of fading, the text is especially bold and bright.
James Cummins (circa 1773-1849) moved to Texas from Arkansas sometime before June 1822, settling on the Colorado River with his wife, Rachel, where he farmed and raised livestock. Beginning in 1823, he served four years as the alcalde of San Felipe de Austin and was active in the affairs of the colony. He did not take part in the Texas Revolution due to his age, but had assisted in the suppression of the Fredonian Rebellion ten years earlier.
Samuel M. Williams (1795-1858) came to Texas in 1822. Fluent in Spanish, he was hired by Austin to serve as an interpreter and clerk as well as postmaster and secretary. His fund raising activities in 1835 to oppose Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna forced him to briefly leave Texas, but he continued his activities to finance the Revolution in Texas. One of the founders of the city of Galveston, his negotiation in Baltimore in 1838 for the purchase of six ships led to his moniker as Father of the Texas Navy.
Dutch by birth, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop (1759-1827), was actually Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel, collector general of taxes for the province of Friesland, who fled Holland when he was accused of embezzling tax funds, adopting the title Baron de Bastrop. He arrived in Spanish Texas in the early 1800s where he was permitted to establish a colony, settling in San Antonio in 1806. He is attributed with influencing Governor Antonio María Martinez to approve Moses Austin's project to colonize Texas in 1820. In July 1823, he was appointed commissioner of colonization for Stephen F. Austin's colony with authority to issue land titles and served as the representative to the legislature of the new state of Coahuila and Texas in May 1824. His fictitious noble pedigree helped him gain the trust of the Spanish nobility, and likely anyone else he encountered. Little did they know that he had escaped to the New World to avoid charges of embezzlement.
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