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Friday, January 29, 1836

The morning was lowering, and threatened rain.  Left Gaines's at 9 o'clock.  Soon after starting, rain began to fall, and it continued to rain all day.  Stopt at the house of a Frenchman, named Maximillian, who said he had been living there forty years; that the King of Spain had made a grant of four leagues of land at that place to his uncle, who surveyed it and settled on it, and on dying, left it to the present occupant; that various persons had since intruded on his grant with their surveys, so that he now had only about three-fourths of a league left to him; that he had never sued them for his land, and was averse to contention, and was desirous of moving away if he could sell.  He offers his whole claim for $4,000, and it is likely he would take less.  This is the first instance we have met of Texas justice, a sample of what I expect to see in their land operations.

About 4 o'clock we reached Roberts' where we found Mr. David Brown, whom I had met in New Orleans, and as it continued to rain, and we had yet four or five miles to make to San Augustine, concluded to stop here all night.  Roberts has been here about eight years.  This is a good farm, but the house, stables and everything about the establishment is rude and comfortless in the extreme.  Brown is a candidate for the Convention.[23]

Saturday, January 30, 1836

It continued to rain heavily all the forenoon, and we remained within doors.  The rain having ceased, after an early dinner we started.  Brown accompanied us as far as San Augustine.  Delivered letters to Coote and Kellog, and Mr. Houston.  Judge Hotchkiss was at Nacogdoches, also Col. Rusk.  San Augustine is a new place, not two years since the first house was built.[24]  Has now about a dozen finished and going up.  Laid out in the woods, on red land.  Rode on to Gen'l McFarland's, about six miles.  Found the General at Dr. Lawhon's, his son-in-law.  Kindly received and treated with marked attention after I had delivered my letters from Dr. Lawhon and he found out who we were.  But the house being small and unfinished, we had to take a bed on the floor, and the General rolled in with us, in his clothes.  Mrs. Lawhon occupied the only other room in the house.  The General's two sons, living on an adjoining place, came in to supper.  The elder one had been in the campaign on the San Antonio.[25]  He is also a surveyor, and says that in his surveying he has discovered many indications of minerals.  In one place he found so many crystals that he could have filled a half bushel with them.  Made a great secret of it.  General McFarland thinks the lands between the Bays of Sabine and Galveston, near the coast, are the finest in Texas.  He entered a league headright there for Dr. Lawhon, the deed for which he had sent to him in New Orleans, to sell a part to pay his winter's

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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