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Lamar's Efforts to Protect the Frontier

The law also provided for the laying out of a military road under the supervision of the colonel of the regiment and "an engineer of experience" appointed by the President. The road was to run from or near the mouth of the Kiamishua (Kiamishi) Creek on Red River to the Nueces at the intersection of the road from Béxar to the Presidio del Río Grande. The road was to be cleared and bridged to admit the passage of wagons. The colonel of the regiment was required "to select such positions on the road as will be best calculated for the erection of forts, except the post on Red River, which," declared the law, "shall be at or near the upper settlements on said river, and for the defence and protection of the country."[9] 

After the site for a station had been selected, the regimental commander was to order three leagues square[10]  of land to be laid off around the station. If the land were already privately owned, then certain condemnation procedures as laid down in the law were to be followed in gaining title to it. The area obtained was to be surveyed into tracts of 160 acres each. Two of the 160-acre tracts were to be reserved to the government for purposes of fortification, farming, gardening, and other uses. A tract of 160 acres was to be granted as a bounty to each soldier who fulfilled the terms of his enlistment.[11]  The remaining tracts of 160 acres were to be granted in fee simple, free of expense, to such able-bodied citizens as would actually settle upon the land and cultivate it for the space of two years. The land so granted was not to be sold or transferred for a term of five years from the date of acquisition. The President was authorized, as soon as he deemed it expedient, to permit trading posts to be erected at or near each of the frontier stations to engage in the Indian trade under certain regulations.

Since the plan for establishing self-sustaining military posts and settlements along key points of the frontier was a long range development and would require some time to be fully implemented, Congress in another act, approved December 29, 1838, authorized the President to raise eight companies of mounted volunteers for the protection of the frontier against the Comanches and other Indians for a term of

9. Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 15-20.

10. By a supplementary act passed in February 1840, Congress increased the size of the tract to be surveyed to nine square leagues of land. Ibid., II, 235-236.

11. In February 1840, the law was amended to increase the bounty to 240 acres where the land was not available near the post. Ibid.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963