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Early Texas Imprint & Town Founding

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383.     MATAGORDA. PROPRIETORS. Printed form completed in manuscript, text commencing: Town of Matagorda, [April 4th], 183[1]. This Certifies, That, at the sale of In and Out-Lots in said town, held on the [date hereof—Daniel D.D. Baker] became the highest bidder for [Lots No. 5 & 6, in Block No. 2 & Tier No. 4 in the Colorado front of said town]…. [San Felipe de Austin: Printed by G.B. Cotten, 1830 or early 1831]. Oblong 8vo broadside (12.5 x 20.5 cm) on white wove paper. Light marginal browning, creased where formerly folded, a few tiny chips, overall a good copy. Signed by two of the proprietors, both of whom were Old Three Hundreds—Ira Ingram (soldier, legislator, first alcalde of Matagorda, penned the Goliad Declaration of Independence) and Elias Wightman (surveyor, partner of Stephen F. Austin in the founding of Matagorda, and recruiter of U.S. emigrants to Texas with David Burnet in 1828). Verso is a manuscript notation transferring one lot to Hamilton Cook (Old Three Hundred family), dated June 3, 1835, at Matagorda, signed by Ira Ingram and Daniel D.D. Baker (San Jacinto vet and Texas legislator for Matagorda who attempted to found the town of Preston on the subject lot).

     First printing of a broadside relating to early printing in Texas and the establishment of towns in the Republic of Texas. Streeter 18.1 (new entry in the revised Streeter; only one copy is located—in a private collection, Morrow):

This certificate is in effect a form for a deed. It and the entry No. 18.2 were not available for [earlier] inclusion with the other early forms. Mr. John C. Wyllie, Librarian of the University of Virginia and a recognized authority on type, has examined the photostats of these two forms for me and reports that they were undoubtedly printed on the press Godwin B. Cotten had set up at San Felipe in the fall of 1829. The date of printing was probably 1830 or early 1831. From the manuscript records, formerly in my collection and now at Yale, of meetings of “Proprietors of the town of Matagorda” held on August 1 and 2, 1830, and on January 28, 1831, it appears (records of the January 28, 1831, meeting) that Stephen F. Austin held a quarter interest or two shares in the partnership or association known as “Proprietors of the town of Matagorda,” and Ira Ingram a three-eighths interest, with Seth Ingram, H.H. League, and Elias Wightman each holding a one-eighth interest, and that what is referred to in the Minutes as the “constitution” of the Proprietors was adopted on July 8, 1830. The certificate entered is dated Town of Matagorda, April 4th, 1831, and is made out to Stephen F. Austin. It is signed by Ira Ingram, “president of the Board of proprietors,” and by Elias R. Wightman, secretary. The “Out” lots of the “In and Out” lots referred to in the certificate were the lots not included in the laid-out blocks making up the center of the town. It was specified in the “constitution” referred to above that the area of an “out” lot should not exceed one-eighth of a labor. For Austin’s interest in the town site, see also his petition of July 6, 1830, in Austin Papers, Volume II, page 442.

     Stephen F. Austin held an interest in this venture, having secured permission in 1827 from the Mexican government to build a town to protect emigrants to Texas. Matagorda was incorporated in 1830. (See also Item 331.)


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,200.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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