DescriptionStephen F. Austin Land Petition Signed "Estevan F. Austin," "J. Antonio Padilla," "Viesca," "Santiago del Valle," and "John McCroskey." Four integral pages, 8.5" x 12.25", in Spanish, San Felipe de Austin, December 24, 1829, and Vicario, March 12, 1830. In Austin, John McCroskey submitted a land petition to General Land Commissioner Antonio Padilla (December 23, 1829) who forwarded it to Stephen F. Austin (December 24th) who sent it back to Padilla (December 26th) with his approval. Padilla then sent his approval to Jose Maria Viesca, Governor of Coahuila and Texas (January 2, 1830), who grants the land requested (March 30, 1830).
John McCroskey tells Padilla that he is "one of the colonists established in the first colony of Empresario Austin . . . having established a Tannery to tan hides on the eastern side of the Colorado River, for which I need to have a plenty of oak bark, and since the land in which I am established there is not enough to supply for several years: I hope that Your Excellency . . . may grant me the land located behind the land belonging to citizen Rawson Alley . . . from which I want to extract the bark for my tannery." Padilla sends it to Austin "so that he is informed regarding request." Austin writes that McCroskey "is one of the Colonists of the First Colony, with very good customs and very industrious, and as I can attest he has his tannery [well kept up]; I consider that it would be fair to do the favor he requests." Padilla then tells the Governor that "After reviewing the report from Empresario Austin," he "considers that the petitioner deserves the favor of the concession which he requests." Governor Viesca writes, "In accordance with the Law of Colonization of March 24, 1825, and based on the report of the General Commissioner, I grant the petitioner, as a settler, the land that he requests in the place that he states." The governor's seal is stamped in the left margin on the document. Viesca's secretary, Santiago del Valle, has also signed. Viesca will give McCroskey a copy of his decree so that he could submit it to the General Land Commissioner. José Miguel de Arciniega, appointed General Land Commissioner in November 1830, issued the land title in October 1831.
John McCroskey, one of Austin's Old Three Hundred, was elected third lieutenant of a company of militia at San Felipe de Austin in 1824. Juan Antonio Padilla was Secretary of State of Coahuila and Texas from 1825 to 1828. He was appointed General Land Commissioner in August 1829. Padilla's mission in Texas was short-lived, however, for after issuing only three titles, on April 26, 1830, Padilla was arrested for murder and fraud and his citizenship was suspended. He was later exonerated. José Maria Viesca was Governor of Coahuila and Texas from 1827-1831. Santiago del Valle was a hacendado in the Monclova area of Coahuila. He served as president of the Congreso Constituyente of the state of Coahuila and Texas in 1825.
Land documents signed "Estevan F. Austin" are especially desirable. Those also signed by Juan Antonio Padilla are exceedingly scarce because of the short time he held the office of General Land Commissioner - and he signed this one twice! The document is on laid, watermarked paper, imprinted "Sello Tercero Dos Reales" ("Third Seal Two Reales") at the top of the first and fourth pages. It is in very fine condition.
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