1830 Scrip Land Certificate for the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company

Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company. - Main View

1830 Scrip Land Certificate for the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company


Scamming New Yorkers over land in Texas.


Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company.
  1830 (dated)     12.75 x 7.75 in (32.385 x 19.685 cm)


This is an 1830 'scrip' land certificate issued by the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company, incorporating one of the earliest original regional maps of Texas. Scrip such as this, issued to New York abolitionist Barney Corse, was sold with the promise that the holder would be able to gain title to Texas land, but was in reality an elaborate fraud. The script is signed in manuscript by the company's trustees and the secretary.
The Map
The small inset map covers from the Sabine River west to the Rio Guadalupe. Four empresario grants are highlighted, with the road from Biloxi running through the territory. The Austin Colony borders the empresarios on the west, where San Felipe de Austin is labeled.
The Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company
Founded in New York City on October 16, 1830, The Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company (GBTL) was created to colonize the empresario grants of Lorenzo De Zavala, Joseph Vehlein, and David G. Burnet. Covering Texas 'east of the San Jacinto River and south of a line running twenty leagues north of Nacogdoches', the tract embraced 3,743,163 acres. The land company did not own the land, but its agents nonetheless sold scrip to potential settlers and investors. Texas was then part of Mexico, and after reaching their destination, settlers had to comply with various requirements of Mexican immigration law placed on immigrants before they could receive a land title. A new Mexican law passed on April 6, 1830, complicated the issue, as it 'prohibited immigration to Texas from the United States', thus making it impossible for any U.S. Citizen holding this scrip to gain title to the land they believed they already owned. Despite this, GBTL continued to sell the fraudulent scrip, gather stockholders, and send settlers to Texas. While GBTL made enormous profits, reportedly between $369,535 and $880,367, it is unclear if any actually received the promised titles.
Barney Corse - a New York Abolitionist
This particular script was purchased by Barney Corse (1799 - 1878), a New York businessman, Quaker, and abolitionist. Little is known of Corse's plans to relocate to Texas, but he was a well-known figure in New York. New York City newspapers covered his 1832 bankruptcy trial extensively. In 1838, Corse was involved with a slave case before New York courts. John P. Darg, a Virginia slaveholder, arrived in New York on August 25, 1838 with his slave, Thomas Hughes. While in New York, Hughes fled and was accused fo stealing $7,000. Hughes sought refuge with New York abolitionists, including Corse and David Ruggles (a free black man). Both Corse and Ruggles were arrested in conjunction with the Hughes case, but were never charged.
Publication History and Census
This certificate was issued in 1830 by the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company. Streeter notes 8 examples, 7 of which are part of institutional collections in Texas, including the Texas Land Office and the University of Texas at Austin. An example is also part of the David Rumsey Map Collection.


Very good. Wear and chipping to top and bottom border.


Streeter 1117. Rumsey 5177.001. Andreas V. Reichstein, “Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 07, 2024, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/galveston-bay-and-texas-land-company.