PETERS COLONY

 

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Peters Colony was comprised of 23 North Texas counties, or parts thereof, in the fourth and final colonization contract signed in 1843. Actual settlement of Peters Colony had begun in 1841 with a contact to '... "introduce or cause to be introduced" into Texas a colony of six hundred families within three years.' [1] At least 200 of these families were to be introduced into the colony within the first year, and 400 within two years. Families received 640 acres and single men over seventeen received 320 acres. The grantees obtained full title to the land after building a cabin upon it and cultivating at least 15 acres. Each individual settlement was allotted a section of land for "... the erection of buildings for religious public worship." [1]

The first contact, however, did not provide for sufficient land to accommodate the terms, so a second contract was crafted on November 9, 1841, which expanded the boundaries of the first and provided for an additional 66 families. Not long afterward, Henry J. Peters, Samuel Browning, and Phineas J. Johnson were elected as trustees. Difficulties soon arose in attracting settlers and in surveying the area. When it became evident that the settlement of this many families could not be accomplished within the required time limits, a third contract was entered into on July 26, 1842. While this contract did not extend the final three year limit, it did extend the time in which the first wave of settlement was to be effected. On September, 1842 the total number of emigrants was only 54 families.

Modifications leading to the fourth contract began on January 16, 1843, when both houses of the Republic of Texas congress passed a fantastical resolution that gave Peters Colony an additional five years to complete the colonization with any number of families (as deemed appropriate by Sam Houston) not to exceed 10,000, and added more than 10 million acres of land. Certain other provisions provided a gateway for the contractors to enrich themselves in what is today considered more than questionable land practices, which also served to reduce the amount of land given to the settlers. This fourth contract became the permanent foundation of Peters Colony.  Lists and biographies of some of the colonists may be found in [1] and [2].

[1] Connor, Seymour V., The Peters Colony of Texas. The Texas State Historical Association. Austin, 1959.

[2] Connor, Seymour V., Kentucky Colonization in Texas, A History of the Peters Colony. Genealogical Publishing Company Baltimore, Maryland, 1983.