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have been loosely granted, and the deeds badly preserved.  There is no record made of a deed, but the originals are kept in bundles in the office of the Judge of the Primary Court.  Brown, the surveyor, says that proprietors may keep certified copies.  There is no system in locating grants; the location is left to the grantee and the surveyor; thus several grants, or rights, may be located on the same land, as in Virginia and Kentucky.  No right enures without an actual settlement and residence, and compliance with all the requisites of the law.  What those requisites are it is difficult to tell, as copies of them cannot be had; and whether they have been complied with or not is still more difficult to ascertain.  I do not think quite so well of Texas speculations as I did.  Still I will go and look at it.[17]

A fire occurred about 7 o'clock in the upper Fauburg, which burnt several houses before it was extinguished.  In returning from it, saw numerous dancing parties of the lower classes, in the little, odd-fashioned Spanish built houses, in the marsh.  In one place a large collection were amusing themselves with a riding wheel.  Wooden horses were attached in a circle, on the periphery of a wheel, as it were, which was suspended from the top of a pillar, around which it was made to turn with great rapidity.  It is New Year's Eve, a period of great relaxation and carousing with these people.  Yet there is no disorder.  Except the firing of crackers by the boys, there is no unusual noise in the central and business part of the town.  Indeed, it is generally remarked that New Orleans is a very quiet place at night.

Saw two military companies on drill in a public square, by moonlight.  Drill well conducted, companies well trained.  Particularly pleased with the rifle drill, firing and loading lying on the ground.

Friday, January 1, 1836

The Commissioners from Texas, Gen'l Stephen F. Austin, Hon'l Branch T. Archer, and Hon'l Wm. H. Wharton, and several other Texians have arrived this morning in five days from Brazoria, by water.  Introduced to Austin and Archer, who both board here.  Wharton does not stop here.  They bring particulars of the capture of San Antonio, and are in high spirits about Texas.  Archer is particularly excited and vehement.  He talks too much and too loud.  Austin is more prudent.  He appears to be a sensible and unpretending business man.  This house is much thronged, many persons are crowding to the bar room to see the Commissioners and hear about Texas.  Indeed, we can scarcely hear of anything else.  Spent most of the day in conversing with them, and in listening to conversations about that country, its character, condition and prospects.

I went early this morning to see the market, which is very large, and abundantly supplied with fish, flesh and fowl, and the quantity and variety of

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas