GBJ Land Study

The Republic of Texas made many Headright grants, that is, grants given on the condition that specified requirements be met by the grantees. Under the Constitution of 1836 all heads of families living in Texas on March 4, 1836, except Africans and Indians, were granted "first class" Headrights of one league and one labor (4,605.5 acres), and single men aged seventeen years or older, one-third of a league (1,476.1 acres). By later laws "second class" Headrights of 1,280 acres to heads of families and 640 acres to single men were granted to those who immigrated to Texas after the Texas Declaration of Independence and before October 1, 1837, and who remained in the republic for three years and performed the duties of citizenship. "Third class" Headrights of 640 acres for heads of families and 320 acres for single men went to recipients who immigrated to Texas after October 1, 1837, and before January 1, 1840. In 1841 "fourth class" Headright certificates of 640 acres for family heads and 320 acres for single men were granted conditionally to residents who immigrated to Texas between January 1, 1840, and January 1, 1842. A total of 36,876,492 acres was granted by the republic in Headright certificates. In order to attract settlers, the Republic of Texas also made colonization contracts with various individuals to establish colonies in the republic and receive payment in land. In addition to large grants made directly to the contractors, settlers in such colonies were granted 640 acres each, if heads of families, or 320 acres, if single. Land grants made under colonization contracts amounted to 4,494,806 acres. As a further inducement to settlers, in 1845 the Congress of the republic passed the first Pre-emption Act, which gave to persons who had previously settled upon and improved vacant public lands, or who might thereafter settle upon and improve them, the right to purchase (pre-empt) up to 320 acres. Pre-emptors, or homesteaders, were required to cover their locations with valid certificates within three years. Under the state government this period was extended to January 1, 1854. By an act of 1853 homestead grants of not more than 320 acres were made available to those who had settled under the Pre-emption Act. This act was replaced by the Homestead Act of 1854, which reduced homestead grants to 160 acres and required a residence of three years. The policy of homestead grants was continued under acts of 1866 and 1870 and under the Constitution of 1876. The amount of land disposed of under the pre-emption and homestead laws of Texas is recorded at 4,847,136 acres.

Both the republic and state granted lands for military service in the form of bounty and donation grants. An act of December 21, 1837, provided for donation certificates of 640 acres each to all persons who had engaged in the battle of San Jacinto, to all who were wounded the day before, and to all who were detailed to guard the baggage at Harrisburg; by the same act bounty warrants were granted to those who had participated in the siege of Bexar, the Goliad campaigns of 1835 and 1836, and the battle of the Alamo, or to their survivors. By an act of 1879 certificates for an additional 640 acres were granted under stringent restrictions to indigent veterans of the Texas Revolution. An act of 1868 granted warrants to Texans who had fought in the Union Army, but no land was ever claimed under this law. In 1881 the state voted to issue bounty warrants for 1,280 acres to Confederate veterans who had been permanently disabled in service. Bounty and donation grants for military service amounted to a total of 3,149,234 acres.

Very little is known about Green B. Jameson's estate, particularly his land holdings. He would have almost certainly been involved personally with land ownership, given that he practiced law in Texas with Steven and Henry Austin, prominent land promoters and entrepreneurs of that time, as clients. Henry Austin acted as the administrator of his estate, immediately after his death, which at the very least would suggest there was residual value and it might be reasonable that Mr. Austin saw the estate take advantage of the new Headright grants to which Jameson's estate may have been entitled. There is evidence of land holdings in Marion and Milam counties and some of his relatives moving to Texas after he had died. In fact, his sister (and heir) Mary, can be found living in Marion County. Unfortunately there seems to be little documentation of any land holdings or other tangible estate.

There is however some documentation of land donated to "Green B. Jamison, his heirs, executors, administrators, or their assigns, for having "fallen with Travis in the Alamo," as a result of a December 21, 1837, an act of the Republic of Texas. The official document (certificate 316) for this "donation" was signed June 12, 1851, and written across it is the notation "640 acres Patented Decr. 17th 1873; Registered and approved June 28 1858, Edward Clark, Commr of Claims". Said survey is in Chambers County and situated on the water of Turtle Bay and Bayou about 6 miles East from the town of Wallisville.

In Feb 1837, Henry Austin was appointed administrator of Green B. Jameson's estate by the court. The following Feb, 1838 he turned over his books, etc. to the court and asked to surrender the estate. He was discharged. The court then appointed Willis A. Farris. In June 1840 Thomas R. Davis was appointed administrator, and in May 1841 he notified the court that he could find no property belonging to the estate and at his request the letters of administration were revoked and his bond canceled. In Dec 1856, Thomas G. Masterson was appointed administrator and in 1861 he sold at public auction the liberty donation land.

Several years later there was legal action in Texas regarding the acreage, by way of the bounty warrant or certificate, issued on June 18, 1851, "That the father, mother and following named brothers and sisters of Green B. Jamison survived him, to wit: Gillie Ann Jamison, Mary S. Jamison, Estang Jamison, Eloiss Jamison, Willis Jamison and Hawkins Jamison, some of whom are probably living, but others are dead, without issue living. There appears to have been another survey of 200 acres of land made for Green B. Jameson by virtue of his Headright certificate number 66 issued by the Agt Gen June 1, 1857, this land being situated half in Johnson County on the waters of the Brazos river about 13 miles N 85 miles W of Cleburne, and half in Hood County. Within this court document is contained the power of attorney Green B. Jameson's sister Mary S. (Jameson) Nuckols filed, which states that she is the sister of Green B. Jameson and Christopher Hawkins Jameson, and the widow of deceased husband Pouncy Nuckols dated 29 Aug 1874 – Robertson's 1st_Abstr 295_File 1212 & 1213. It is unclear how much of the land Mary S. Nuckols or her heirs received as the heirs of Green B. Jameson, but a claim brought by others against those possessing or leasing the land auctioned in 1861 did show that the court found that half of the land belonged to Mary (who by this time was dead) and her heirs and several others who came into possession due to the sale of the property by her. That there should not have been another administrator (Masterson) appointed in 1856 and therefore he should not have sold the property at auction in 1861. The big losers in this case were the man who bought the land at auction, those he sold to and their heirs.

Attached is a better image of the Donation Land Grant. This land was in Chambers County though. The file shows that Thomas G. Masterson sold it on the steps of the Chambers County courthouse.

Sounds to me like he got the 640 acres, plus he got a headright grant, which should be one league (4,605.5 acres). Not sure if he actually got that though. The Johnson County/Hood County record is only for 200 acres. I'm not sure if we'll ever know exactly how much land he was supposed to have and whether his heirs actually got most or all of that of that or not.:


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