Texas Association for Colonization Report, 1843
On January 20, 1843, the fourth of as many contracts between the Republic of Texas and twenty American and English investors led by William S. Peters was put into motion for the colonization of the Republic by the investors and other persons and families. These investors formed the beginnings of the association for colonization, which helped to settle North Texas. The common name for the venture was Peters Colony.
The first contract, signed in August of 1841, appropriated an insufficient amount of land for the number of families to share. The boundaries for this contract began on the Red River at the mouth of Big Mineral Creek, ran south for sixty miles, then west for twenty-two miles, north to the Red River and then east with the river. A second contract, signed November 9, 1841, extended the boundaries but was still not able to attract and keep enough colonists. Sam Houston signed a third contract, July 26, 1842, which again extended both the time of the contract and the land's boundaries, but the concession was that every other section of land was to be appropriated to the Republic.
In October of 1842, six additional investors, including three Americans, Daniel J. Carroll, Sherman Converse, and Charles Fenton Mercer, were instrumental in the passing of a fourth contract with the Republic of Texas, which was signed on January 20, 1843. This contract assigned a tract of land 164 miles in length and 100 miles in breadth to the association, and allowed the government to allocate 640 acres to each family. The report of 1843 specifies numerous other conditions and statistics for the colonization of Texas by the association.
The colony was not completely settled after this report, however. In 1844, the group of investors reorganized as the Texas Emigration and Land Company, and employed Henry O. Hedgcoxe as its agent. This led to confusion over ownership of the Peters Colony and discouraged immigration. During a mass meeting in Dallas, unfavorable accounts of Hedgcoxe were reported. Some of the attendees at this meeting attacked Hedgcoxe's office and drove him out of the county, an event earning the moniker of the "Hedgecoxe War." It took almost 20 years and nearly ten legislative acts to bring about a final settlement of the colony.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Peters Colony," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/uep2.html (accessed June 2, 2010).
The Texas Association for Colonization Report, consisting of 5 closely-written pages, lays out conditions, prospects, estimates, and statistics regarding the colonization of and settlement in the Republic of Texas, beginning in 1843. The report includes information relating to land allocations, rates of payments, regulations, and other instructions for prospective settlers in Texas.
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Texas Association for Colonization Report, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center's "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
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