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The Irish Colonies-Index | Coahuila y Tejas-Index

DeLeon Colony MapPower & Hewetson Colony

Villa de Refugio & The Ayuntamiento
From Chapter IX, XI of Refugio by Hobart Huson, vol. I, 1953


Empresarios Power and Hewetson, obtained the right, in 1831, to establish the capital of their colony at the site of the extinguished Mission of Refugio, on the north bank of the Mission River. This site had been well known long before the mission was ever moved there.  In aboriginal times the Karankawan Copanes had one of their largest and favorite camps at the place, which in time grew into a permanent village. [Rodnick, Goliad Minions and their Indians, 14; Martyn, Geological Report of Refugio Oil and Gas Fields].  These facts caused the site to be early known as Paraje de los Copanes (or the place of the Copanos).  The Spanish also referred to the place as the Cayo de Aranzazu (Islet of Aransas), and soldiers of Spain often camped there. [Oberste, History of Refugio Mission, 152].

Captain Basterra visited Paraje de los Copanes as early as 1747; and there is a tradition, which has persistently existed, that José de Escandon selected the place as a site for a pueblo and presidio. In fact researchers have stated that Escandon did in fact found a pueblo there and install an ayuntamiento, but if such records exist, we have been unable to locate them.  After the removal of the mission and presidio of La Bahia to Goliad, in 1749, it appears that a traffic almost immediately sprang up between that place and the landings along Copano bay, as these institutions had prior to their removal received most of their supplies by sea from Vera Cruz and Tampico. The sea voyage was more safe and comfortable than the long overland trek to Matamoros. Two roads between El Copano and La Bahia seem to have existed from an early period, one being direct between the two points, and the other by way of Paraje de los Copanes. [Eugenio Navarro's Map].

Because of the scarcity of water and shelter at El Copano, the paraje was found to be a comfortable half-way point, and a military outpost was eventually established there. Such a post is mentioned at the place as early as 1781. The port of El Copano appears to have become generally used as a port for La Bahia and Bexar as early as 1767 and was officially made a port by Viceroy Galvez in 1785. By that time smuggling and piracy had grown to such proportions along the coast and in the inland bays that a garrison was stationed at Aranzazu on Live Oak Point, and another was kept either at the Paraje de los Copanes or near Mission Bay.  A ranch headquarters of Refugio Mission was established at the Place of the Copanos shortly after 1791. It is possible that the headquarters may have existed prior to that time in connection with one of the Goliad missions. From the time of the establishment of the ranch headquarters the place began to be called, in addition to its earlier names, Rancho de Santa Gertrudis and El Rancho de el Diesmero (Rancho of the Tithesman). "Here," as Father Oberste states, "were kept the cattle of Juan Barrera, the tithesman of the province." [Oberste, History of Refugio Mission, 152].

With the removal of Refugio Mission to this locality, in 1795, a settlement began to spring up, if one was not already in existence at the time. Besides the ranch people, there were soldier families, and these made up no inconsiderable community. In fact, one writer states that a chapel or parish church was maintained for the villa, in addition to the mission church. [Oberste op. cit., 272; Rodnick, Goliad Missions and their Indians].  When the mission was abandoned in 1830, there appear to have been considerable groups of Mexican and Indian families living at the mission, who were still there in the summer of 1834. Lists of these inhabitants are referred to in various documents pertaining to the empress, but the lists cannot now be found. José Miguel Aldrete, alcalde of Goliad maintained residences both at Goliad and Refugio. [Philip Power, Memoirs; Angel Navarro to Ayuntamiento of Refugio, February 16, 1835; Santiago del valle to Political Chief of Bexar, May 25, 1831 (concesson of Mission lands for a town). Depositions of Pat Quinn, in Welder v Lambert Law Suit; John Hynes, Deposition, in Wood v. Linney, No. 307, Refugio D. C].

The McMullen and McGloin colonists arrived at the mission in December, 1829, and remained there for a great length of time. [Oberste, History of Refugio Mission, 339].  These, with the early arrivals of the Power and Hewetson colony, made up a good-sized settlement. On April 21, 1830, Henry Doyle, "a Catholic clergyman and native of Ireland," was authorized to "proceed to the construction of (a) chapel, also of a curate's dwelling at the Mission of Refugio, to minister spiritual succor to the colonists, who establish their residence in that place, taking sufficient ground for a convenient portico, and one-half the value of both buildings shall remain for the benefit of the state. [Decree No. 139, Coahuila and Texas, April 21, 1830]

Whether Father Doyle completed the project, or moved on with the McMullen colony, is not known. William St. John describes Refugio when he first saw it, in 1834, as "a mighty small place; only a few jacals or huts at that time."" Quirk had the only lumber house in town; the others were adobe or paling houses. Dr. Beales describes the place on December 30, 1833, as being "five or six miserable huts. [Depositions of William St. John in Welder v. Lambent Law Suit; Dr. Beales Diary in Kennedy, Texas, 397].  The first Irish or American families to permanently settle in Refugio were those of John Scott, James Brown and William Ryan, who came there prior to 1829. James Power built a house there in 1830 or 1831. Among the permanent settlers who arrived at Refugio between 1829 and the arrival of the bulk of the Irish colony in 1834 were Catarina Dugan, Ellen Gillam, John Dunn, Jeremiah Toole, Martin Toole, William Quinn, Patrick Quinn, Edward St. John, Michael Fox, William Quirk, John Keating, John Hynes, and Edward McDonough. [Philip Power, Memoirs. Depositions of the witnesses is Welder v Lambert. and Town of Refugio v O'brien. Depositions of John Hynes, in Wood v Toups].  Thomas Mullen was living on the western limits of what afterwards became the town tract; and John Malone was living at the head of Treviño creek, later Melon creek, prior to 1834. [Testimony in Town of Refugio v. Byrne].

Probably the very first act of Commissioner José Jesús Vidaurri on his arrival in the colony, in June, 1834, was to establish the villa or pueblo of Refugio at the site of the old Mission. In doing so, he acted under the provisions of the Colonization Laws and the general Instructions to Commissioners"' prescribed by the State of Coahuila and Texas, which, in respect to the founding of towns, were modelled largely on the Plan of Pitic. The site already had been designated by the executive in 1831. [Decree No. 190, Laws of Coahuila and Texas, April 28, 1832, G.L. I, 299-303. Decree No. 16, id, March 24, 1825, G. L. I, 125-132; Decree No. 9, id September 4, 1827, G. L. I, 180-183; Royal Cedula, November 14, 1789].

Before proceeding further with the actions of the Commissioners, it will be well for the reader to get some idea of the nature of the pueblo which he was about to create and the manner of its political organization and functioning. When the Spanish or Mexican government deemed it expedient to found a new town, it selected the site, as Commissioners Vidaurri was empowered to do in the case of Refugio and, as a general rule, reserved four square leagues out of the public domain for the purpose and the use of the pueblo. The resultant grant was not to the town but for a town. The land upon which the town was located was originally part of the public domain and remained such, with title in the government, after the "grant" for the town was made and until sales of solares or lots therein were made by the government to private individuals. The particular solaces or lots thus sold became the property of the purchasers, but the title to the remainder remained in the government, charged with a special use in favor of the inhabitants of the town. "Pueblos under the Mexican law were simply part of the political government of the country . . . Whatever property they had, incidental to their existence as pueblos, was held as a municipal trust for the public use of the pueblo." [Huson, Refugio Pueblo Grant, 121].

Under the laws of Spain, which were generally followed by those of Mexico, lots in towns and villages in new settlements were granted to the inhabitants with out lots for gardens, parks and pastures . . . The towns were laid off in solares, or house lots, and exidos (ejidos), or commons, as places of recreation. Adjoining the exidos was the dehasa, or community lands for the pasture of live-stock belonging to the inhabitants of the town. Beyond the exidos were the proprios, or lands belonging to the town, the rents of which were used to defray the municipal expenses. Of the land remaining, one-fourth was given to the contractor, and the residue was divided into suertes, porciones, or lots and distributed among the settlers for cultivation. In towns established by the government the solaces, exidos, dehasas, and proprios were first laid off, and the remainder of the land was divided into suertes, or porciones, for distribution among the settlers? The government of the pueblo was invested in its ayuntamiento, or town council. Each ayuntamiento consisted of the alcalde, (mayor), regidores (councilmen), sindico (secretary), eguazil (town marshal or sheriff), and certain other officers. All of these officers were elected by the inhabitants, and it was a punishable offense for one who was elected to refuse to serve. Commissioner Vidaurri was charged with the duty of holding the first election and installing the first ayuntamiento of the villa of Refugio, which he did, as will be seen.  The ayuntamiento had under their charge, by the general laws and by the special laws regulating the action of each particular ayuntamiento ,the police and good government of the towns or municipalities under their jurisdiction; the health and security of the inhabitants and of the public tranquility; in fact, of all matters pertaining properly to the political and financial government of the said towns and municipalities. [Huson, Refugio Pueblo Grant, 121-122. Holly, Texas].

Certain of the officers exercised judicial powers, civil and criminal, and heard and determined causes. Each ayuntamiento within the state was entitled to representation at an annual conference, held by the Jefe Politico of Bexar, and a voice in the election of state officials.  The Colonization Law in effect at the time the villa of Refugio was surveyed, was Decree No. 190, of April 28, 1832, which repealed Decree No. 16, of March 24, 1825, which was in effect when the site was designated by the executive, in 1831. Its salient provisions were as follows:

§3.---New Towns.---As soon as thirty families are collected, the formal establishment of the new town shall be commenced on the site most appropriate in the judgment of the executive, or person commissioned by him for the purpose; and four square leagues shall be assigned by him for each new town, whose area may be of regular or irregular figure, as the local situation shall require.

§4.---Same.---Should any of the sites designed for founding a new town consist of land already appropriated, and the establishment be of evident general utility, it may be taken notwithstanding, observing the provision made by the constitution in restriction fourth of article 113. [Clause 4, article 113, reads as follows: The governor shall not have power to take possession of the property of any private individual of corporation, or disturb him in the possession, use or benefit thereof, unless it should be necessary for a purpose of manifest public utility in the judgment of the executive council, in which case he may do so with the concurrence of the council, and approval of congress, and during the recess of the permanent deputation, always indemnifying the party interested agreeably to the opinion of appraisers chosen by the executive and the said party].

§5.---Same.---The executive, pursuant to the contract ratified by the'empresario, or empresarios, and for the better situation and formation of the new towns, and exact distribution of lands, lots and water, shall commission a person of his confidence, a Mexican born, to act agreeably to the instructions of the 4th of September, 1827 (ante, Art. 48), so far as they are not opposed to this law.

§6.---Canals.---In towns which admit of canals (for irrigation), said canals shall be made at the expense of the persons interested. The commissioners shall divide them into channels or drains, procuring to have them made half a vara in width at least, and the same in depth, assigning one for the use of the town, and the rest for that of the fields in cultivation.

§7.---Same.---Charges.---In the distribution of lands and waters, the empresario and new settler shall be subject to no other expense than the legal charges paid to the commissioner and surveyor.

§8.---Amount of Land to a Family.---To each of the families comprised in the contract mentioned in article 2, one day for watering, and one labor shall be granted, or two labors, should the land be temporal (and cultivated during ordinary rains), and a lot of sixty yards square, whereon said family shall erect a dwelling within two years, otherwise they shall forfeit the privilege. Should a family have neat stock, horse kind or small stock, exceeding one hundred head of the two former kinds, or six hundred of the latter, and the same shall be entitled to one sitio of grazing land.

§17.---Towns Exempt From Taxes.---All new towns shall be free from taxes, of whatever denomination, for the term of ten years, reckoned from the time they are founded, with the exception of those that may be generally levied to prevent or repel foreign invasion.

§18.---Settlers in New Towns.---Families that remove to any of the new towns to settle therein shall always be permitted to do so, and in consideration thereof shall be entitled to the privileges granted to new settlers by this law, for which purpose they shall appear before the commissioner, and in his default the respective political authority, that the subject may be communicated to the executive, and concession accorded:

§34.---Curates for Towns.---The executive, in connection with the respective vicarial ecclesiastics shall take care that the new towns are adequately supplied with curates, and, with the concurrence of the said authority, shall propose their salary to congress, which shall be paid by the new settlers.

The Instructions to Commissioners (Decree No. 9, of September 4, 1827) under which Vidaurri acted, contained the following pertinent provisions:

Art. 8.---He shall form a book in calf, of paper, bearing the impression of the third seal, wherein he shall write the titles of the lands which he distributes to the colonists, specifying their names, the boundaries, and other requisites and legal circumstances; and he shall take from the said book attested copies of each possession upon paper of the second seal, which he shall deliver to the person interested, to serve him for a title.

Art. 9.---Each settler shall pay the value of the stamp paper used in issuing his titles, both in the original and in the attested copy.

Art. 10.---Said book shall be preserved in the archives of the new colony, and an abstract shall be taken therefrom to be transmitted to government, containing the number and names of all the colonists, the quantity of land given to each, expressing their corresponding those which are for cultivation, irrigable or not irrigable, and those which are given them for grazing lands.

Art. 11.---He shall select the site most appropriate for founding the town, or towns, which are to be established, according to the number of families of which the colony consists, bearing in mind the provision of the colonization law upon this subject.

Art. 12.---The site destined for the new town having been determined, he shall see that the principal lines run north and south, east and west; he shall designate a square measuring one hundred and twenty varas on each side, exclusive of the streets, to be called the Principal or constitutional Square. This shall be the central point from which the streets shall run for forming squares or blocks thereon agreeably to the accompanying plan.

Art. 13.---The block fronting the principal square, upon the east side, shall be destined for a church, curate's dwelling and other ecclesiastical edifices; and that on the west, for municipal buildings or town halls. In another suitable place he shall point out a block for a market square, one for a jail and house of correction, one for a school and other buildings for public instruction, and another without the limits of the town for a burial ground.

Art. 14.---He shall cause the streets to be laid off straight, twenty yards wide, for the salubrity of the town.

Art. 15.---Mechanics who, on the founding of a new town, present themselves to settle therein, shall be entitled to a lot each, to be attended with no expense, except the cost of the stamped paper necessary for issuing their titles, and the small tax of one dolar per annum for building the church.

Art. 16.---The lots mentioned in the preceding article shall be distributed by lot, with the exception of the empresario, to whom two lots shall be given in the site he selects.

Art. 17.---The other lots shall be valued by appraisers, and be sold out to the other colonists according to the valuation. Should there be several applicants for any lot, or lots, on account of their more eligible situation, or other circumstances that may cause competition, they shall decide by lot in the manner provided in the preceding article. The product of the said lots shall be appropriated to building a church in the town.

Art. 18.---He shall proceed, together with the empresario, to have all the inhabitants .belonging to the jurisdiction of each town take lots therein, and build their houses within the time specified, under penalty of forfeiting their lots.

Art. 19.---He shall form a book in calf for each new town, wherein the appropriation of lots, whether by donation or sale, shall be recorded, expressing their boundaries, and copies shall be taken upon paper of the corresponding stamp, to be delivered to the persons interested, to serve them as titles.

Art. 20.---He shall execute a topographical plan, comprising the towns founded in the colony, which he shall forward to the government, leaving in the colonial register an exact copy thereof.

Art. 21.---He shall cause a ferry to be established at each crossing of,the rivers upon the highways, whereon any town is founded-the flat or boat to be provided at the expense of the inhabitants of the said town, establishing moderate rates of toll, out of which the ferryman shall be paid, the boats repaired, and the remainder added to the public funds.

It will be observed that the Colonization Laws relating to new towns in Texas vary in a number of particulars from the older Spanish and Mexican pueblo plans. A concise summary of these laws is given by the eminent legal author, John Sayles, who states:

"The colonization laws of Coahuila and Texas provided for establishment of new towns. Each town was granted four square leagues of land. All towns were laid off on a uniform plan. A principal or constitutional square, measuring 120 varas on each side was designated. From this as a central point, straight and twenty yards wide, streets were run north, south, east and west. The block fronting the public square on the east side was destined for a church, curate's dwelling and other ecclesiastical edifices; that on the west for municipal buildings or town halls. Blocks in other places were designated for a market square, jail and house of correction, and for a school and other buildings for public instruction. The burial ground was established within the limits of the town." [Sayles, Real Estate Laws of Texas, I, 151-152; Sayles, Early Laws of Texas I, Arts. 47, 48, 53; quoted in Huson Refugio Pueblo Grant, 128-129; For a summary of the laws of Spain and Mexico relating to the nature and use of town commons, see Huson, Pueblo Grant, 129-134 also Plan of Pitic, op. cit. Also record and briefs in Cause 3010, Town of Refugio v. Mitchell].

Vidaurri appears to have organized and instituted the ayuntamiento of the municipality of Refugio before the surveys of the "Town Proper," or the four league town tract (Ejidos) were completed; and, perhaps, before either of such surveys had been even begun. The illustrious ayuntamiento seems to have been installed on or, about July 1, 1834, and was certainly functioning on July 27, when Captain Manuel Sabriego came over from Goliad with his troops to quarter them in the mission and, as the old colonists put it, to attempt to break up the colony. [Manuel Sabriego to Ayuntamiento of Refugio, July 27, 1834; Deposition of Edward McDonough, in Town of Refugio v. Byrne].  However the surveys of the pueblo tract were commenced without delay, and titles to the solares were begun to be issued in the early part of August. The "Town Proper," being the residential and business portion of the town tract, was surveyed and platted first. Vidaurri is said to have selected a high level piece of ground for the constitutional plaza and to have placed a large rock for the center thereof. Whereupon James Bray, one of the surveyors, began work, laying off the plaza, the streets, and the town blocks and lots in accordance with the Colonization Laws and the old Spanish customs. There were many colonists at the mission who had nothing particular to do, and many of the men and large boys, among the latter being Thomas O'Connor, then 16 years old, acted as chain carriers for the several surveyors, and otherwise helped to expedite matters.

The solares, or town proper, as surveyed by Bray, are shown on his plat of the four league grant, dated August 1, 1834, a copy of which is recorded in the back of Volume B, page 183, of the Deed Records of Refugio County. The plat shows the town proper to have consisted of forty-nine town blocks, with the Plaza de la Constitution (now King park) in the exact center. The town blocks as surveyed by Bray were each 120 varas (333 1/3 feet) square and were subdivided into four lots, or solares, each 60 varas (166 2/3 feet) square. The streets in each direction were 30 varas (83 1/3 feet) wide, instead of 20 varas as provided by the Colonization Law. The quarter block upon which the present city hall is located was reserved for a market place, although not so specifically designated on the plat. Although the Bray plat referred to shows forty-nine blocks, it would appear that the original town actually contained 72 full blocks and a tier of 9 half blocks on each the north and south sides, and a tier of 8 half-blocks on each the east and west sides, as is explained in Huson's Refugio Pueblo Grant, as follows:

"Town Proper of the Town of Refugio: The solares, or town proper, of the Town of Refugio were surveyed by James Bray, one of the colonial surveyors, during the summer of 1834, and are shown on his plat of the four league grant, dated August 1, 1834. (Deed Records, Refugio County, Vol. B, page 183). The plat shows the town proper to consist of forty-nine blocks with Plaza de la Constitution in the exact center. The town blocks, as surveyed by Bray were each 120 varas (333 1/3 feet) square, and were subdivided into four lots of solares, each 60 varas (166 2/3 feet) square. The streets in each direction were 30 varas (83 1/3 feet) wide." 

The Town council of the Town of Refugio on October 10, 1860 (Minutes A, p. 23-24) adopted the following ordinance:

Be it ordained by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Refugio, that for the time being and until otherwise ordained, that the following be considered the limits of the Town proper viz: three Blocks of lots south with their streets, three Blocks of lots East with their streets, three Blocks of lots North with their streets, and three Blocks of lots west with their streets, from the public square each way including the block upon which the Public Square is laid off, making in all seven Blocks of lots square with their streets. 

This ordinance would indicate that up to that time the forty-nine blocks surveyed by Bray for the Town Proper comprised the village part of the town. However, this does not seem to be a fact. Samuel Addison White, who had been one of the surveyors for the Power and Hewetson Colony, testified in the case of Byrne v. Town of Refugio, that the Commissioner José Jesús Vidaurri, was not satisfied with the plat of the town proper made by Bray, and had him, White, make certain corrections. White did not specify what these corrections were, but from circumstances manifest from inspection of contemporary records it appears they consisted of the addition of a tier of full blocks and a tier of half blocks to the east side of the Bray survey, a tier of full blocks and a tier of half blocks to the west side of the Bray survey, a tier of full blocks and a tier of half blocks to the north side of the Bray plat, and at least a tier of half blocks along the south side, with intermediate streets. Hence, Santiago Street instead of Norte Street became the northernmost street of the town.  "In conformity with the colonization laws the grants of town lots in Refugio were recorded in a calf-bound book, known as the "Libro Becerra." This ancient record is inscribed "LIBRO BECERRO en que consta la adjudication de solares de este Villa del Refugio, Colonia Power Y Hewetson, 1834." The municipal records were delivered to the General Land Office upon its establishment in 1836, but the Libro Becerra of Refugio was subsequently returned to the office of the County Clerk, where it now reposes. The book is well filled and as there are grants of town lots from Mexico appearing in the deed records but not in the volume of the Libro Becerra in the Clerk's office, it is possible that there was a second book of town lot grants, which is now lost.

A check of grants of town lots in the Libro Becerra and in the deed records reveal that the Commissioner issued titles to lots which cannot be placed in Bray's original 49-block plat, but which fall in additional tiers of full blocks and half-blocks. The tiers of half blocks along the outer boundaries of the town proper were undoubtedly added prior to the issuance of titles within the town. This theory is borne out by several sets of circumstances; first, some of the titles issued must necessarily fall within the half blocks, the records showing titles issued to one lot on north side of Santiago Street, several on the south side of South street, and several in the eastern and western tiers; second, the ordinance of the Town Council of 1876, shows that there was a tier of half blocks on north side of Santiago Street at that time; and third, the method of numbering the town lots adopted by the colonial authorities.  The grants to-town lots described them as being a certain numbered lot east or west on a designated street - "situado en la calle de Purisima numero 14 (P),"-O standing for "oriente" (east) and P for "poniente" (west). A line drawn north and south through the center of the Plaza de la Constitution was the base or division line, the lots lying east of it being lots (O) on the designated street, the lots lying west of it being lots (P) on such street.

The scheme of numbering of lots which seems to have been adopted was by eastern and western sections of streets. Taking the eastern division of a specified street the enumerator would commence numbering lots facing that section of the street with the lot on the north side lying immediately east of the meridianal line. This lot was numbered "1", and the lots on the north side of the street were consecutively numbered from left to right to the town limit. The lots on the south side of the east section of the street were then numbered, beginning with the lot lying east of the division line, which was given the next consecutive number after the last number on the north side. This beginning number was usually "11." The lots on the south side of the east section of the street were numbered consecutively from left to right.  In numbering the lots on the west section of the street, the enumerator began with the lot on the north side of the street lying immediately west of the meridianal line. This lot was usually numbered "2". The lots on the north side of the street were numbered consecutively from right to left to the town limit. To number the lots on the south side of the street the enumerator came back to the meridianal line, and gave the lot lying west of the line the next consecutive number following the last number of lots on the north side. This beginning number was generally "12". The lots on the south side were then numbered consecutively from right to left to the town limits. While there are some variations or departures from this scheme of numbering (as in case of the plaza) such would seem to have been the plan followed. Unless such was the method, the beginning numbers "11" and "12" for lots on the south sides of streets would have no logical reason, but would be purely arbitrary. It will be noted that in cases (as in the instance of the plaza, where the beginning numbers are in the lots in blocks east and west and not against the meridianal line) that the consecutive numerical order of lots is carried out, although uniformity of numbers is thereby varied. In other words, no numbers were skipped in order to bring about uniformity, there being a lot for every consecutive number.  Such being true, the blocks and lots in the southwest corner of the town proper were platted into and across Mission River. "As finally platted in 1834 Santiago Street was the northermost street, and it seems to have been flanked on the north by a tier of half-blocks. In the Libro Becerra there is to be found the grant to one lot facing this street, and which lot would be in one of the half-blocks. 

The Town Council on July 17, 1876, adopted the following ordinance (Minutes, Vol. 1, pages 28-29)

be it ordained by the Town Council of Refugio that the following addition be & is hereby made to the present limits of the Town of Refugio be made and added as follows, to-wit, on the Northern boundary line of said Town limits beginning on the Northern boundary line of the half tier of Lots on 1/a Blocks North of Santiago Street adding 1/2 half Block thereto running the full length of Northern Boundary of said Town thus leaving thirty varas for a street which is named King Street in honor of King who fell in Refugio County in 1836 for the defence of Texas and North of said King Street another street is hereby laid off and named in honor of Ward who fell also in Refugio County in 1836 in the defence of Texas, leaving a regular block of Lots in accordance with the order of & place of said Town running on the boundary line North of King Street and a tier of Blocks of Lots North of Ward Street running the full limits of the Northern boundary of said Town;

This ordinance tends to substantiate the theory that the tiers of half blocks were platted to the east and west sides of the town at its beginning.  [Huson, Refugio Pueblo Grant, 135-140. Numbering system based on W. L. Rea's explanation].

Having platted the "town proper," the surveyor Bray, under the personal direction of Commissioner Vidaurri, next proceeded to survey the four square leagues constituting the pueblo tract, as provided by the Colonization laws. This work appears to have been completed prior to August 1, 1834. In this work the colonists Michael Fox, John Kelly, and Timothy Hart acted as chain carriers. [Deposition of Thomas O'Connor in Town' of Refugio v O'Brien].  It appears that Colonel Power later personally supervised the setting of large stones where the surveyor had driven stakes for the four corners of the four league grant, and also had a large stone set on the east line of the survey where it crossed the ancient road from the Mission of Refugio to El Copano. The colonist McDonough relates that on one occasion while Bray was surveying the town tract he espied a black stump, which he took to be an Indian, and fled back into town in great alarm, "which caused at the time a great deal of laughter. [Deposition of Edward McDonough in Byrne v Town of Refugio].

Bray's plat of the four leagues town tract, which has been referred to, shows that he complied strictly with the Colonization law, including within his survey four square leagues of land, and no more, with the Constitutional Plaza in the exact center thereof. The survey is in the form of an exact square with sides of exactly 10,000 varas in length. [Huson Regufio Pueblo Grant, 13-15].  Because of the fact that, as hereinafter shown, no formal grant was ever made by the Mexican government and the original plats and surveyor's field notes were lost at a very early period, the exact boundaries of the grant have been in a state of confusion and the location of which has been the source of much notable litigation. The west boundary line was early claimed to be 5,363 varas west of the center of the public square, instead of 5,000 varas, as contemplated by the Mexican law.  In some of the litigation referred to, it was contended that when Bray ran his western line, it threw into the four league grant the house and improvements theretofore built by the colonist Thomas Mullen. The Mullen family had been among the earliest arrivals at the mission and among those who had settled on lands taking chances of obtaining title when the Commissioner arrived. It is insinuated that Mr. and Mrs. Mullens, when they discovered that their land was to be included in the town tract with resultant loss of their improvements, waited upon Colonel Power and Commissioner Vidaurri and prevailed upon them to shift the boundaries of the town tract farther east, so as to give them the benefit of their industry. [Record in Town of Refugio v. O'Brien. McDonough testified that the mullens liver in their house until an Indian shot an arrow at Mrs. Mullen, after which they moved to town].

However such may be, the conflicts between the town and the Mullen grant have been long since adjusted. [Record in Byrne v Town of Refugio Huson, Refugio Pueblo Grant, 40-60; Minutes, Rejugio Town Council I, 164-165].  After the surveys of the town tract and town proper had been completed, they were approved by Vidaurri, and it is stated that Colonel Power personally took the original and copies to Coahuila and had them approved by the government and brought back to the colony approved copies, which were filed in the archives of the ayuntamiento. [Depositions of Edward McDonough, in Byrne v Town of Refugio; Depositions of Edward St. John, in Byrne v Town of Refugio].  The solares were distributed by the Commissioner during the month of July and August, 1834.

Colonists Receiving Title to Refugio Town Lots by Lottery (Suerte)

James Brown, Nicholas Fagan, Robert Patrick Hearn, Edward McDonough, John Malone, John Dunn, Samuel C. Blair, James Bray, Joshua Davis, Martin Lawlor, James McDonough, Lorenzo Ryan, Patricio Fitzsimmons, John Sinnott, James Doyle, Augustine Austa, John Shelly, Michael Fox, Martin Power, John James, James McGeehan, Bridget Quinn, James Dolan, Jeremiah Dolan, William Dolan, Santiago O'Reilly, Ellen Gillam, Isabel Ryan, Edward O'Donnell, Isaac Robinson, John Polan, John Bennett, John Joseph Linn, Robt. W. Carlisle, William Lavery, Catalina Duggan, John Bowen, Walter Burke, Ira Westover, Garrett Roach, John Shelly, Edward Linn, Patrick Samuel McMasters, Michael O'Reilly, William Anderson, Miss Josefa Rios, Joseph Coffin, William Carroll, Cornelius P. Heermans, Phoebe Crain, Thomas Connor, Henry Robert Eyles, Samuel W. McCamly, Miss María  Byrne, Felix Corason, Solon Bartlett, William Redmond, James Collyer, Pedro Suarte, James Power, James Power, Tomasa Portilla, Thomas Scott, James Reynolds, William Quinn, Miss Elizabeth Hart, William Burk, William Sumner, William McGuill, Patrick Downey, George McKnight, John Scott, Michael Tobin, John Couchlan, Esteban Lopez, Miss Susan, Moore Crain, Morgan Brien (Brine), Miss María  Roach, Martin Murphy, Andrew Brien (Brine), Elizabeth Brien (Brine), Michael O'Donnell, Peter Kehoe, Elkanah Brush,  José Miguel Aldrete, Patrick Cunningham, William Robertson, José María  Aldrete, Felipe Roque Portillo, Oscar F. Davis, Rafael Garza, Antonio Garza, Juan Pobedando, Antonio Galan, Lino Castillo, Florentine Rios, Trinidad Aldrete, Rafael Aldrete, José María  Castillo, Tomas Galan, Jeremiah Day, James Quinn, Anastacio Reojas, Francisco Portilla, Lucius W. Gates, Antonio Nunes, Florentino de la Garza, Juan Toole, Martin Fitzsimmons, John Fitzsimmons, James Carlisle, Charles Kelly, John Smiley, Antonio Vina, John Hart, Mrs. Rosa Brown, Eugenio Navarro, James McCown, James Hewetson, Joseph Benjamin Dale, Santiago Serna, Juan Gonzales, John Walmsley, Charles Smith, M.S. Sarah Hall, Elliott Ward, Simon Kehoe, Henry Winchester, William Lavery, W. De Beauham, Edmund Quirk, Thomas Holden, Edmund St. John, George Morris, Michael Toole, Jerry Toole, John Toole, James Toole, Dominick Toole, Elinor Toole, John McDonough, Green B. Robertson, Augustin L. Fernet, Alfred Alleson, Carlos W. Barlets, Walter Lambert, Domingo Morris, Wilhelm Langenheim, James Power, Franz Dieterich, Patricia Gillam, Jasper Pollan, Anastacia Reyes, Malcolm McAulay, George H. Hall, Michael O'Donnell, Charles Malone, Patrick Bray, Miss María  Bray, Thomas Mullen, Victor Loupy, John Clark, Michael Fox, Patrick Downey, Richard Downey, John Downey, Timothy Downey, James Downey, John Ryan, Edward McCafferty, Domingo Tool.

After the solares had been distributed by the commissioner, a number of persons came to the colony for the purpose of settling. As they could not obtain titles from the government direct, they bought lots and lands from colonists who had already received titles. Among those who acquired town lots from original grantees prior to 1836 were: Lewis Ayers, Sabina Brown, Philip Dimmit, Patrick Downey, Hugh McDonald Fraser, Captain William H. Living, Dr. Alexander Lynch, Ira Westover and Allen White.

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