1997-2003, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.
Birth of the Colony

Green DeWitt's Empresario Petition
To Mexican Authorities at Saltillo

APRIL 7, 1825

Most excellent Sir: I, Green DeWitt, a citizen of the United States of North America, appear before your excellency to make known to you that I have come to this country seeking to obtain permission to colonize with four hundred industrious Catholic families those lands of the ancient province of Texas (now an integral portion of this State) which are included within limits that I shall herein designate. These immigrants shall be required to subject themselves to the religious, civil and political laws of the country which henceforth they adopt as their own, and in establishing themselves therein, they shall respect the rights of all previous settlers, as provided by the colonization law which the honorable congress of this state has just passed. Moreover, there shall be brought into this colony only such families as are known to be respectable and industrious. I therefore beg you to grant to me, your petitioner, those lands that are included within the following limits, in order that I may settle upon them the four hundred families above mentioned:

DeWitt Colony MapBeginning at the right bank of Arroyo de la Vaca at a distance of the reserved ten leagues from the coast, adjoining the colony of Stephen Austin on the east, the line shall go up the river to the Bejar-Nacogdoches road; it shall follow this road until it reaches a point two leagues to the west of Guadalupe River; thence it shall run parallel with the river down to the Paraje de las Mosquitos; and following the inner edge of the ten league coast reservation, it shall close the boundaries of the grant at the point of the beginning.

We are also desirous that respectable families of this country shall come to settle with us, not only in order to contract enduring friendship with them, but also in order to acquire the use of the language of the nation that we now adopt as our own and the ability to give perfect instruction therein to our children. Therefore I humbly beg you to grant my petition.

Saltillo, April 7, 1825

Conditions upon which is allowed the projected introduction by Green DeWitt, a citizen of the United States of America, of four hundred families as colonists into the department of Texas.

1st. Inasmuch as the plan presented in the preceding memorial by the person conforms to the colonization law of the honorable congress of the state, adopted march 24, the government consents to it, and, therefore, in fulfillment of article 8, and in consideration of his petition, it assigns to him the land for which he asks, contained within these limits: Beginning at the right bank of Arroyo de la Vaca at a distance of the reserved ten leagues from the coast, adjoining the colony of Stephen Austin, the line shall go up the arroyo as far as the Bejar-Nacogdoches road; it shall follow this road toward the west until it reaches a point two leagues to the west of Guadalupe River; thence it shall run parallel with the river south toward the coast until it reaches the ten league coast reservation; thence it shall run along the inner edge of this reservation toward the east until the place of the beginning.

2nd. The empresario shall respect the rights of individuals legally possessed of lands within this district.

3rd. In accordance with the above mentioned colonization law of March 24, the empresario, Green De Witt, shall be obliged, under penalty of losing the rights and privileges guaranteed by article 8 of this law, to introduce the four hundred families within the term of six years beginning from today.

4th. The families that shall compose this colony, besides being Catholic, as the empresario promises in his petition, must also be able to prove, by certificates from the authorities of the localities from which they come, their good moral character.

5th. The empresario shall not introduce into his colony criminals, vagrants, or persons of bad morals, and if such be found there be shall cause them to leave the republic, by force of arms if necessary.

6th. To this end he shall organize, in accordance with law, the national militia, and be shall be commanding officer of it until other arrangements shall be made.

7th. When he shall have introduced at least one hundred families be must advise the government, in order that a commissioner may be sent to put the colonists in possession of their lands according to law, and to establish towns, for which be shall carry competent instructions.

8th. Official correspondence with the government or with the state authorities, legal instruments, and other public documents must be written in Spanish, and when towns shall have been formed, it shall be the duty of the empresario to establish schools in that language.

9th. It shall also be his duty to erect churches in the new towns; to provide them with ornaments, sacred vessels, and other adornments dedicated to divine worship; and to apply in due time for the priests needed for the administration of spiritual instruction.

10th. In all matters not here referred to be shall be governed by the constitution, the general laws of the nation, and the special laws of the state which be adopts as his own.

These articles having been agreed upon by his excellency, the governor, and the empresario were signed by both, in the presence of the secretary of the government. The original was placed on file in the archives, and it was ordered that a certified copy of both the contract and the petition be given to the empresario for his security.
Rafael Gonzales
Green DeWitt
Juan Antonio Padilla,
Secretary interim
Saltillo, April 15, 1825.

The above is a translation from the Spanish in De Witt's Colony by Ethel Zivley Rather, Texas State Historical Quarterly, vol. 8, 1904.

Green DeWitt's Power of Attorney to James Kerr
14 July 1827, Old Station on the LaBaca

Know all men by these presents that whereas, I, Green Dewitt, of the colony of my name, in the department of Texas, in the Mexican United States, did obtain a grant from the supreme government of the state of Coahuila and Texas, bearing date the 15th day of April, 1825, to settle four hundred families in the department aforesaid, and within certain described limits as willfully appear by reference being had to said grant. Now know ye that I, the said Green DeWitt, have made, constituted and appointed and by these presents do make, constitute and appoint James Kerr, of said department, my true and lawful agent and attorney in fact, for me and in my name as empresario of said grant, to do and perform all and singular the duties imposed on me, the said Green Dewitt, by virtue of said grant and the nature of my contract with the state aforesaid, in as complete and full a manner as I myself might or could do, were I doing the same in person; and my name to use as his own, at his will and pleasure, touching these premises to carry into effect all legal proceedings by me made; to seal, execute and deliver such grants, deeds and conveyances and other instruments as might be fit and lawful for me to do under the colonization law, the instructions of the commissioner and political chief, and also of the state and general government; hereby ratifying and confirming and by these presents allowing whatsoever my said attorney shall in my name, lawfully do, or cause to be done in and about the premises, by virtue of these presents.

In witness whereunto I set my hand and seal, at the Lavaca Station, on this the 14th day of July, 1827, and the sixth year of Mexican independence. Green DeWitt (L.S.) Witnesses: Wm. J. Russell, Abram M. Clare.

The foregoing power of attorney was Signed, sealed, acknowledged and delivered by Green Dewitt and the subscribing witnesses in my presence, at the Lavaca Station, on this the 14th day of July, 1827. J. Norton Alcalde

1997-2003, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.