A Guide to the Austin City Lots and Outlots Records, 1839-1890; 1957
After President Lamar was sworn into office on December 10, 1838, it was decided that a new and permanent location for the Capital should be located. Previously, the City of Houston served as the Capital, but on January 14, 1839 an act was passed which established the permanent location of the seat of government. The site of the town of Waterloo was chosen, located on the banks of the Colorado River. The act detailed several things, including the naming of the new Capital City as Austin. Provided that the amount of land would be “not less than nor more than four leagues of land for said site, and if the same cannot be obtained upon the public domain, or by individual donation, then and in that case the said commissioners shall purchase the aforesaid quantity of land from any person or persons owning the same.”1
On April 3, 1839,the County Court of Bastrop convened regarding the “condemnation” or purchase of a “selected five thirds of leagues of land, situated, lying, and being in the County of Bastrop and Republic of Texas, on the east bank of the Colorado River.”2 The site was located on eight First Class Headright surveys belonging to: George Neil, Logan Vandever, Aaron Burleson, George D. Hancock, Samuel Goocher, J.M. Harrell, J.G. Dunn, and James Rogers. The court specified that the owners of these tracts of land were to be paid either $3.00 or $3.50 per acre; this price would not include any improvements that had already been made to the tracts of land. Soon after this court decree, and after all lands had been paid for by the Republic, surveying and mapping of the town tracts began.
In January 1840, John P. Borden, Commissioner of the GLO, received an 8-league Mexican title for Thomas J. Chambers3 which had not been submitted to his office. Since the title was not filed with the GLO until very late, it was considered vacant and unappropriated land, and the headrights covering Chambers leagues were patented to other settlers. It was not until 1925 when the Texas Legislature appropriated funds in the amount of $20,000 to compensate the Chambers heirs for settlement of their right, title, interest, and claims against the state.
1. Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume II, p. 161
2. Bastrop County Court Records, Vol. A, pp. 51-57
3. Thomas J. Chambers title, Box 130, Folder 16, Spanish Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin
Austin City Lots and Outlots Records contains 18 boxes of sales certificates and two bound index volumes. The sales certificates were issued by the Comptroller and indicate receipt of payment for Austin city lots and outlots, and authorize the General Land Office to issue a patent.
The slimmer bound volume is a surname index to the City of Austin Register of lots and outlots sold. Additions of names were added in blue ink in 1957 by some unknown person. The Register itself lists City lots and outlots, when the land was patented and by whom.
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
[Short title of Document], [Date: Day-Month-Year]. Box [#], Folder [#], p. [#]. Austin City Lots and Outlots Records (AR.30). Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin.
Materials have been digitized. See the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database Input: Class: Austin City Lots
Copies can also be accessed in the Research Room of the General Land Office.
Records have also been microfilmed. Original reels are stored at TSLAC records center, and duplicate reels are available at TGLO.
Detailed Description of the Collection