J.H. Colton & Co.
[New York], 1856

J.H. Colton & Co., Georgetown and the City of Washington the Capital of the United States of America, New York: 1856, Map #95359, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Similar to Austin, Texas, Washington, D.C., was a planned city constructed specifically to serve as its nation’s capital. Congress passed the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, which created a permanent seat of government for the United States to be situated on the Potomac River.[1] Again like Austin, the idea of westward expansion played a role in the capital’s location. President George Washington personally selected the site, calling it “the gateway to the interior” because he aspired to link the expanding U.S. western territories to the East Coast.[2]


Texas is the proud home to countless trailblazers. Many of these brave individuals sacrificed their personal well-being for the benefit of their fellow man. Matthew Gaines was one such individual, who nearly a century before the modern civil rights movement, risked his life to overcome tremendous obstacles and fight systemic oppression. A formerly enslaved person, who fought adversity all his life, Gaines eventually served as a state senator during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877). …


January falls in the middle of oyster season in Texas. This exciting time of year brings an increase in activity up and down the Texas Coast. As more commercial fishing vessels converge in areas like Fulton Harbor, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) is committed to ensuring the public is aware of the increased risk of oil spills. …


The GLO is committed to promoting ecologically and economically sound coastal management practices. With this goal in mind, the GLO is promoting the use of living shorelines as an alternative to traditional shoreline stabilization techniques along the Texas coast. A living shoreline is a natural shoreline stabilization approach designed to mimic nature and serve as an alternative to bulkheads, seawalls, and other hard stabilization methods. These features utilize natural materials along with the strategic placement of plants and organic material to reduce erosion and protect property. In the right setting, they can prevent land loss and provide the aesthetic benefits…


Expediente (record of the proceedings) of the Shawnees’ petition for land on the Red River, March 20, 1826, Box 117, Folder 18, Records of the Spanish Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

The Spanish Collection at the GLO offers a window into the empresario land system of Mexican Texas, over which the figure of Stephen F. Austin looms large in the popular imagination. There are good reasons for such an empresario-centric focus. The collection covers the efforts of Stephen F. Austin exhaustively, including the thousands of titles issued by the Mexican government to the mostly Anglo immigrants within and outside of Austin’s Colony. It continues to serve as the bedrock for researchers in the fields of genealogy, history, and surveying.

Yet the Spanish Collection sheds light upon a wide variety of historical…


[Detail] Ferdinand Simon, German Immigration Contract 001871, 16 September 1845, Texas Land Grant Records, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

The Nueces Massacre was committed by Confederate soldiers against a group of German Texan Unionists who were attempting to flee to Mexico on August 10, 1861. Many of the victims received land grants as part of the Adelsverein movement of the 1850s and appear in the records of the Texas General Land Office Archives.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, conditions in Germany created powerful incentives for an emigration movement. Poverty was widespread, crops were failing, the government allowed few freedoms, and able-bodied men were being conscripted for military service. When the Adelsverein formed, it offered new opportunities…


Artwork created by Kenneth Helgren for Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s Great Military Map of Texas (Joan Kilpatrick, draftsman), Austin: Texas General Land Office, 2006, Map #83432, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

“I was seventeen years old. I had nothing…and decided I would start out for myself and make something…”[1]

These were the ambitions of a young man as he ventured away from home, down the Mississippi River, and into the storm of the oncoming Texas Revolution. The story of Alfonso Steele, the longest-surviving combatant of the Battle of San Jacinto at the time of his death on July 8, 1911, is told in part through the land records and maps in the Archives of the Texas General Land Office.[2]


[Detail] Kermit Oliver, The Battle of Goliad. Image courtesy of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Institute of Texan Cultures.

Texas General Land Office

Official Account for the Texas General Land Office | Follow Commissioner George P. Bush on Twitter at @georgepbush. www.txglo.org

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store