Patterns of litigation and mores of Texans as shown in the Texas Supreme Court records, 1880-1895

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1950

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Abstract

The object in making this study was to place scattered bits of information about the lives of early Texans into a tangible, usable form. The Texas supreme court records not only contain information regarding points of law, but they also give brief sketches of living conditions, social customs, and trends which revealed how our ancestors lived during the latter part of the nineteenth century. For this research the writer examined twenty-three volumes of the Texas Reports which contained all the cases referred to the supreme court from 1880 through 1895. These volumes can be found at the Harris County Law Library. The majority of cases which came to the attention of the supreme court during this period concerned land and railroads. Because of this, research was divided into three parts; land, railroads, and miscellaneous cases. Since the records were examined from a historical point of view, those cases, which contained the most personal information were selected. In most cases it is necessary to study the entire case in order to get all the information given, for each Justice usually states the facts of the case in his own way throughout his argument, and in doing this, he brings out additional bits of information about the Individual concerned. The standard method was used in giving the reference to a case. For instance, 57 Texas 105, simply means that the case referred to appears in volume fifty-seven and begins on page one hundred and five. The findings of this study appear to be significant. The supreme court of Texas dealt justice fairly. The liberal land policy of the Mexican Government created a confusing situation of duplicated and unlocated land titles. The "give-away” land policy of the Republic of Texas, as an inducement for railroad building, proved to be unwise. All the numerous railroad companies which took advantage of this land policy were finally abandoned or merged into the great companies which are operating today.

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Keywords

Land policies, Land grants, Republic of Texas, Mexico

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