Sunday, July 1, 2012

A League and a Labor?

Transcription:                                                                                   General Land Office
                                                                                                        Austin, April 8th 1854

This is to certify that the heirs of William E. Probert deceased are entitled to have surveyed by a legally authorized Surveyor upon any of the untouched and unappropriated public domain of the State of Texas. One League and One Labor of Said in accordance with the provisions of an act authorizing and requiring the Commissioner of the General Land Office to issue to the said heirs of William E. Probert deceased a Certificate for one league and one labor of land.  Passed February 8th,1854.
                In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the Seal of said office the day and date first above written.  
                                                                                                         J. Crosby  

In 1854, eighteen years after William E. Probert first came to Texas, his heirs were entitled to a "First-class headright."  A document provided by the Texas General Land Office explains this land grant in this way:

Headrights, Republic of Texas, 1836-1845

In order to build a tax base and encourage settlement in the new Republic of Texas, immigrants were granted land by the government.  The amount of acreage issued was based on the time period in which an immigrant arrived in Texas.

First-class headrights were issued to those who arrived before the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Heads of families were eligible for one league (4428.4 acres) and labor (177.1 acres) of land.

I do not understand how William qualified for a first-class headright as he did not arrive in Texas until June 1836. (Perhaps he signed up for service before the March date). It also appears that the certificate entitling William to his land was not issued until the Land Office was directed to do so as the result of a legislative appeal. This headright just like bounty land, was not connected to a specific parcel of land.It was up to the certificate holder to identify the potential property, have it surveyed and finally get it patented at the appropriate land office.

Of particular interest to me is the fact that the certificate was issued to his heirs.  Since William received 640 acres of bounty land on May 13, 1853, it suggests that William died between 1853 and 1854. Unfortunately,   the paperwork in my possession does not list any of the heirs. The next step will be to try to trace the deed that was based on this certificate.  Perhaps it will provide some valuable clues.                                                                    


  1. I am enjoying these posts detailing your ancestor's land dealings. I do not have much experience with land records but it is one of the areas that I will need to learn more about in my quest for clues, especially on one of my brick wall ancestors.

    a.k.a Kym

    1. Thanks, Kym. It's been an education for me, too. I'm still pursuing a couple of other threads. We'll see what happens.

  2. What a great treasure you received. Blessings Susi


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