Texas. General Land Office

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The Texas General Land Office, established in 1836, administered land grants and public lands of Texas.

From the description of Texas. : General Land Office, index of letters received, 1837-1854. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 39089216

Jack Giberson (1919- 2007) retired from the General Land Office after 41 years of service. Giberson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised on a ranch near Alice, Texas. After earning a degree in Economics from The University of Texas, Giberson served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was discharged from the service as a first sergeant in 1946. After military service, Giberson returned to the University of Texas to study law and earned his law degree in 1949. In 1953, he joined the General Land Office as a closing attorney for the Veterans Land Board. After a few years he was promoted to Chief Attorney of the Veterans Land Section. In 1960, he became the Chief Clerk and First Deputy Land Commissioner, a position he held until he retired in 1994. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Veterans Land Board. Giberson served under Land Commissioners Giles, Rudder, Allcorn, Sadler, Armstrong and Mauro. Key legal issues Giberson worked on during his career included the Tidelands controversy/submerged lands issue, and the question of Padre Island ownership.

From the guide to the Jack Giberson Subject Files and Oral History JGP., 1834-1994, bulk 1950-1991, (Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records)

The General Land Office was established on December 22, 1836, by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas as an agency for disposing of the public lands and maintaining the records of those dispositions. The Land Office was charged with verifying Spanish and Mexican titles to determine which land was in the public domain and which was privately owned. On entering the Union in 1845, Texas' constitution charged the General Land Office with the supervision and management of the state's millions of acres of public lands. Its current responsibilities include housing and supporting the operations of the Veterans Land Board and the School Land Board. The office also established the Texas Natural Heritage Program in cooperation with the Texas Nature Conservancy to inventory rare and endangered plants, animals, and natural habitats in the state. The Resource Management Code System maintained at the Land Office provides a listing of environmental guidelines for developing submerged state tracts in Texas bays and the Gulf of Mexico. The Archives and Records Division of the Land Office remains the repository of all original land grants, patents, and other documents that form the basis of land title in the state of Texas.

The Texas Court of Claims was established on August 1, 1856 to handle claims against the Republic and the state, particularly land claims based upon military service. When the Court of Claims was established, the General Land Office was required to prepare copies of reports it received of headright certificates issued. These were used by the Court of Claims in reviewing the legitimacy of those land claims. After the Court of Claims was abolished in 1861 all of its records were transferred to the General Land Office.

From the guide to the Copies of county and district clerk returns (reports of headright certificates), 1857 (originals date from 1836 to 1855), (Repository Unknown)

In 1996, Texas and Oklahoma agreed to create the Red River Boundary Commission to solve the border dispute between the two states. The Commission worked to better define the boundary through a compact, known as the Red River Compact. This compact was adopted into law by the State of Texas in 1999 by the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, House Bill 1355. The purpose of the compact was to establish an identifiable boundary between Texas and Oklahoma along the Red River as of the effective date of the compact without interfering with or otherwise affecting private property rights or title to property. The boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was determined by the United States in 1921 to be the south bank of the Red River, which has remained the boundary through the years. However, the boundary fluctuates as a result of natural action of the river. When the boundary must be clearly defined, expensive, time-consuming survey techniques have been used to define the boundary, which only defines it as it exists at the time of the survey. The compact established a permanent, political boundary, which has been adopted by the U.S. Congress as the official boundary. According to the federal legislation: "(b) The permanent political boundary line between the states of Texas and Oklahoma along the Red River is the vegetation line along the south bank of the Red River except for the Texoma area, where the boundary does not change. For purposes of this compact: (1) the Texoma area extends from the east bank of Shawnee Creek (which flows into the Red River from the south approximately one-half mile below the Denison Dam) at its mouth to the upper end of the normal pool elevation of Lake Texoma (which is 617 feet); and (2) the upper end of the normal pool elevation of Lake Texoma is along the latitude of 33 degrees 54 minutes as it crosses the watercourse at the approximate location of longitude 96 degrees 59 minutes. (c) The party states agree that the existing boundary within the Texoma area begins at the intersection of the vegetation line on the south bank of the Red River with the east bank of Shawnee Creek. From this point, the boundary extends west along the south bank of the Red River as the bank existed immediately before the commencement of the construction of Lake Texoma. From Shawnee Creek to Denison Dam, this boundary line is within the current channel of the Red River. Within Lake Texoma, this boundary line follows the south bank of the Red River as the bank was located and marked by the United States Army Corps of Engineers before the commencement of the construction of Lake Texoma."

The compact drafted an agreement defining the boundary line for a portion of the boundary along Lake Texoma, known as the Texoma Area Boundary Agreement. This agreement was signed by David Dewhurst, the Texas General Land Commissioner and Representative James H. Dunegan, elected designee of the State of Oklahoma Red River Boundary Commission on July 28, 2000. The 106th Congress, through House Joint Resolution 72, granted its consent to the Red River Compact and the new Texas-Oklahoma boundary established by the Compact, effective August 31, 2000.

From the guide to the Red River Compact, Texoma Area Boundary Agreement, 1973, 1982, 1999-2000, (Repository Unknown)

The General Land Office (GLO) was established on December 22, 1836, by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. The Office was originally responsible for managing the public domain by collecting and keeping records, providing maps and surveys and issuing land titles. On entering the Union in 1845, Texas' constitution charged the General Land Office with the supervision and management of the state's millions of acres of public lands. Since then GLO duties have evolved, but its core mission remains managing state lands and mineral-right properties totaling 20.3 million acres.

John P. Borden, the first commissioner, opened the office in Houston on October 1, 1837. He was enjoined by law to "superintend, execute, and perform all acts touching or respecting the public lands of Texas." The Constitution of the Republic of Texas honored all grants made by Spain and Mexico that were deemed valid by the republic; later, the state followed suit. The commissioner assembled from the archives of the former governments a record of valid land grants and translated them. Valid Spanish and Mexican grants cover 26,280,000 acres within the present boundaries of Texas. Some of these grants have received special confirmation by the state legislature, but most of them stand on the original titles from the governments of Spain and Mexico.

Borden also began to survey and register the new grants that the republic was issuing. Those from the public domain were made to colonists who had failed to receive their titles from Mexico, to new settlers, and to all soldiers who had rendered service in the Texas army. Headrights, military bounties, homestead preemptions, and veteran donations, issued by Borden and successive commissioners, brought the total number of acres granted to 75,647,668. Sales for the purpose of paying the public debt added 2,990,136 acres. For internal improvements to the Capitol, irrigation, drainage, iron works, and transportation facilities, including railroads, grants totaled 32,153,878 acres. For education (the University of Texas, Texas A&M, county schools, eleemosynary institutions, and the public school fund) grants totaled 49,530,334 acres. The individual grants, patents, and surveys by which the public domain has been disposed of are on file in the General Land Office, and a representation of each, surveyed by metes and bounds, appears on the original grantee map of the county in which the land is located.

Although the financial potential of Texas public land was generally limited to surface properties, over the years mineral resources became financially important. Texas ownership of mineral resources was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court on December 12, 1960, allowing the state to fully utilize mineral deposits of the Gulf area. The mineral revenues were consigned to the Permanent School Fund, which has received $6.8 billion since 1854.

New departments and equipment became necessary to manage the increased volume of business resulting from these trends. Land Office responsibilities cover other areas as well. The GLO's Archives and Records Division houses original Spanish, Mexican, and Republic of Texas land grants and associated documentation. The Recycling, Adopt-A-Beach, Coastal, and Oil Spill Prevention and Response programs work to protect Texas' natural resources. The GLO also encourages economic development through its natural gas marketing initiatives and loan programs offered to veterans through the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB).

The General Land Office is headed by the elected land commissioner. The commissioner serves as chair of the Veterans Land Board and the School Land Board.

From the guide to the "Texas Landmarks: Archives and Records", 2000, (Repository Unknown)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1869 May 29. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Thomas William Ward Papers 73-102; 85-022; 86-211; 98-387; 2004-065; 2008-173; 2008-303; 2009-257., 1825-1885 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. Land grant, 1861 January 16, issued by the Texas General Land Office to the heirs of Gideon Pemberton, no. 224, vol. 32. Dallas Public Library, Central Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of area along Geronimo Creek]. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1847 December 20. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn von Rosenberg family. Papers, 1836-1972 Austin Public Library, John Henry Faulk Central Library
creatorOf Slaton, Oscar L. Family papers, 1858-1925. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1873 August 27. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Hogg, James Stephen, 1851-1906. Hogg, James Stephen, papers, 1836-1969. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Records, 1929 University of Texas at Austin. General Libraries
referencedIn Kuechler, Jacob, Papers, 1840-1907 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1860 January 26. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of Uvalde, Texas area] [cartographic material] / John Eckford. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Von Rosenberg Family Papers, 1871-1964, bulk 1871-1907 Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1876 July 18. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn McGaughey, John D., 1868-1942. McGaughey, John D., Papers, 1889-1942 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Government -- General Land Office. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Schwarz, Ted, 1911-1978. Schwarz, Ted, Papers, 1968-1976 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Map of Antonio Rivas grant]. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Historic sites -- Old General Land Office building. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1881 December 12. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Smyth, George Washington, 1803-1866. Smyth, George Washington, papers, 1819-1892, 1912-1960. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Hoffman, Judi. The von Rosenberg family papers, 1836-1972, 411 items. Austin Public Library, John Henry Faulk Central Library
referencedIn Ben Lee and Rosa Catherine Woolsey Chote Papers AR. 2006. 030., 1841-1970 Austin History Center, Austin Public Library..
referencedIn Schwarz, Ted, Papers 99-182., 1968-1976 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. Texas. : General Land Office, index of letters received, 1837-1854. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn McGaughey, John D. Papers, 1889-1942 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. McMullen Grant. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1848 October 19. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Red River Compact, Texoma Area Boundary Agreement, 1973, 1982, 1999-2000 University of Texas at Austin. General Libraries
referencedIn Thompson, S. A., 1851-1920. S.A. Thompson : papers, 1883-1931. Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library, Sul Ross State University Library
referencedIn Nancy Grantham Triangle Development Collection AR. 1999. 004., 1997-1998 Austin History Center, Austin Public Library..
referencedIn Bascom and Effie Dean Giles Family Scrapbooks AR. 2011. 004., 1894-1993, 1920-1943 Austin History Center, Austin Public Library..
referencedIn Petition to Texas Land Commissioner regarding Montgomery County, Texas, boundary dispute, 1838 Feb. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Field notes from land surveys in Robertson County, Texas, 1835-1859. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Freeman, J. D. Freeman, J. D., papers, 1898-1972 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Blundell, James H. Jr. papers 74-15., 1935-1940 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Ward, Thomas, 1807-1873. Ward, Thomas William, papers, 1825-1885. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Trueman O'Quinn O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) Resources Collection AR. L. 015., 1886-1987 Austin History Center, Austin Public Library..
referencedIn Von Rosenberg Family, Papers 1939; 81-119., 1849-1951 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1861 May 21. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of Fort Stockon, Texas area]. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Land patent collection, 1827-1893. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf "Texas Landmarks: Archives and Records", 2000 University of Texas at Austin. General Libraries
referencedIn George Washington Smyth Papers 1931; 70-047; 2005-135., 1819-1892, 1912-1960 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Field notes from land surveys in Robertson County, Texas, 1835-1859. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1888 January 26. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Champe Carter family papers MC030. 48381624, 48381357, 48381361, 48381390., 1809-1941, (Bulk: 1866-1886) Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library,
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of George Davis, Peter Morgan and St. Clair Patton surveys] / J. Groos, Commissioner G.L. Office. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn Armstrong, Bob, 1932-. Oral history interview with Bob Armstrong, 1983 February 18. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Ortiz, Juan, family, Papers 2011-354., 1829, 1878 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Freeman, J. D. Papers 84-214, 84-215., 1898-1972 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. Sketch in Mason County / General Land Office, April, 1911. Southern Methodist University, DeGolyer Library
referencedIn Blundell, James H., Jr., 1912-1981. Blundell, James H., Jr., papers, 1935-1940 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1842 February 26. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Copies of county and district clerk returns (reports of headright certificates), 1857 (originals date from 1836 to 1855) University of Texas at Austin. General Libraries
referencedIn Spencer Reid Subject Files SRP., 1949-1952, 1972-1998, bulk 1982-1998 Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1845 July 31. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Mauro, Garry. Christmas card collection, [1983?]-1987. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1863 August 14. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Raglin, Henry Walton, 1817-1882. Raglin, Henry Walton, papers, 1836-1884. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Jack Giberson Subject Files and Oral History JGP., 1834-1994, bulk 1950-1991 Texas General Land Office, Archives & Records
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1841 April 3. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of Fort Stockton, Texas area]. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1859 August 11. University of North Texas Library, UNT
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Land grant] : Austin, [Tex.], 1883 December 17. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Von Rosenberg family. Von Rosenberg Family, Papers, 1849-1951 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn James Stephen Hogg Papers, 1836-1969 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Texas. General Land Office. [Plat of property along San Antonio River near its intersection with Calaveras Creek and Eagle Creek] / R.M. Hall, Commissioner Genl. Land Office. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Armstrong, Bob, 1932- person
associatedWith Blundell, James H., Jr., 1912-1981 person
associatedWith Bowen, John S. corporateBody
associatedWith Carter, Champe, 1840-1886 person
associatedWith Chote, Ben Lee person
associatedWith Chote, Rosa Catherine Woolsey person
associatedWith Clark, Edward, 1815-1880. person
associatedWith Coke, Richard, 1829-1897. person
associatedWith Crosby, Stephen, 1808-1869. person
associatedWith Davis, E. J. 1827-1883. person
associatedWith Davis, George. person
associatedWith Eckford, John. person
associatedWith Ehlinger, L. person
associatedWith Freeman, J. D. person
associatedWith Freeman, J. D. person
associatedWith Gest, Mary. person
associatedWith Giles family family
associatedWith Gonzales, José. person
associatedWith Graham, Spencer. person
associatedWith Grantham, Nancy person
associatedWith Groos, Johann Jacob, 1822-1878. person
associatedWith Haddon, Henry. corporateBody
associatedWith Hall, Richard Moore, 1851-1917. person
associatedWith Heirs of William Linn. corporateBody
associatedWith Henderson, James Pinckney, 1808-1858. person
associatedWith Henwood, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Hoffman, Judi. person
associatedWith Hogg, James Stephen, 1851-1906 person
associatedWith Houston, Sam, 1793-1863. person
associatedWith Ireland, John, 1827-1896. person
associatedWith Jack Giberson, 1919-2007 person
associatedWith James, John, 1819-1877. person
associatedWith Jones, Anson, 1798-1858. person
associatedWith Knox, W. B. person
associatedWith Kuechler, Jacob, 1823-1893 person
associatedWith Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 1798-1859. person
associatedWith Lewis, Samuel H. person
associatedWith Lubbock, Francis Richard, 1815-1905. person
associatedWith Mauro, Garry. person
associatedWith McDaniel, J. P. corporateBody
associatedWith McGaughey, John D., 1868-1942 person
associatedWith McKeever, Marshall B. person
associatedWith Morgan, Peter. person
associatedWith Nights, Jonathan A. person
associatedWith O'Quinn, Trueman K., 1905-1990 person
associatedWith Ortiz, Juan, family person
associatedWith Patton, St. Clair. person
associatedWith Pease, E. M. 1812-1883. person
associatedWith Pemberton, Gideon. person
associatedWith Perryman, Levi. person
associatedWith Perryman, Levi. person
associatedWith Phillips, William. person
associatedWith Raglin, Henry Walton, 1817-1882. person
associatedWith Red River Boundary Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Reid, Spencer, 1954-2010 person
associatedWith Rivas, Antonio. person
associatedWith Roberts, Oran Milo, 1815-1898. person
associatedWith Ross, Lawrence Sullivan, 1838-1898. person
associatedWith Runnels, Hardin Richard, 1820-1873. person
associatedWith Schwarz, Ted, 1911-1978 person
associatedWith Slaton, Oscar L. person
associatedWith Smyth, George Washington, 1803-1866 person
associatedWith Smyth, George Washington, 1803-1866. person
associatedWith Spence, Joseph. person
associatedWith Spence, Joseph, 1826-1894. person
associatedWith Stuever, Frederick. person
associatedWith Texas. Court of Claims. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas. General Land Office. Chief Clerk's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Committee of the Whole House in Investigation of Charges Against Hon. J.T. Robison, Commissioner of the General Land Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas School Land Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Texas. Veterans Land Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Thompson, S. A., 1851-1920. person
associatedWith Von Rosenberg, Ernst, 1852-1915 person
associatedWith von Rosenberg family. family
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associatedWith Von Rosenberg Family family
associatedWith Walsh, W. C. 1836-1924. person
associatedWith Walsh, W. C. 1836-1924. person
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associatedWith Ward, Thomas William, 1807-1872. person
associatedWith White, Francis Menefee, 1811-1897. person
associatedWith Williams, William T. corporateBody
associatedWith Wood, George T., 1795-1858. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Maverick County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas
Texas
Van Zandt County (Tex.)
Texas
Pecos County (Tex.)
Montague County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas
Houston County (Tex.)
Wilson County (Tex.)
Medina County (Tex.)
Bexar County (Tex.)
Montague County (Tex.)
Denton County (Tex.)
Bexar County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas--Bexar County
Texas
Texas
Harrison County (Tex.)
Medina County (Tex.)
Mason County (Tex.)
Texas--Pecos County
Denton County (Tex.)
Harrison County (Tex.)
Fannin County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas
Gulf Coast (Tex.)
Texas
Texas--Medina County
Montague County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas--Mason County
Texas--Uvalde County
Denton County (Tex.)
Pecos County (Tex.)
Texoma, Lake (Okla. and Tex.)
Texas
Texas--Wilson County
Montague County (Tex.)
Wilson County (Tex.)
Jefferson County (Tex.)
Texas--Bexar County
Montague County (Tex.)
Jefferson County (Tex.)
Texas
Texas
Texas--Wilson County
Texas--Maverick County
Texas--Pecos County
Texas
Texas--Medina County
Oklahoma
Texas
Texas
Subject
Three-mile Limit (Territorial waters)
Mineral Rights--Texas
Land titles
Real property--Maps, Manuscript
Land grants--Texas
Navigation Districts (Texas)
Roads--Maps
Land use surveys
Public Lands--Texas
Archival resources--Texas
Land grants--Specimens
Oil and gas leases--Texas
Submerged lands--Texas
Three Marine League Line (Texas)
Real property--Maps
Land grants--History--Sources
Permanent School Fund (Texas)
Occupation
Function
Establishing Texas boundaries
Legislative Documents
Documenting Texas history

Corporate Body

Active 1837

Active 1854

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