Evolution of the Lands in Texas
David W. Myers, L.S.L.S., R.P.L.S.
This vast territory has been inhabited by many cultures
for several centuries beginning with the Native Americans and,
by the late 1700's, Spain was showing interest by introducing
horse and cattle ranching to the Southwest. However, Spain lost
its grip on the new world and the importance of Texas was soon
forgotten by the Spaniards. From 1821 to 1836, Texas fell under
the reign of Mexico until the Republic of Texas won its
Texas existed as an independent republic for nearly ten years,
the fledgling nation encountered a host of difficulties
including Indian wars, poor relations with Mexico, financial
woes and political problems. Despite all this, immigrants
yearning for their own land responded to the generous land
policies and flocked to the new republic and during this period
of rapid growth the republic doled out more than 50 million
acres of its public domain.
this evolution of the American West, little
attention has been given to the hardy man who
measured and marked the land the
surveyor. There have been many books about
the missionary, the explorer, the fur trader, the
miner, the buffalo hunter, the cattleman, and the
homesteader; but someone had to stake out the
land before it
David W. Myers
be fenced and settled.
The Natives had
no need for the surveyors.
Their claim to land
ownership was by the tribe. They lived and hunted, fought and
died across the miles of land we now call Texas and needed no
boundary lines, no fence posts, no marker to tell the specific
spot where one’s boundaries began and ended. Their guidelines
were the stars, the moon and the seasons of changing winds.
Their cities ended in the shadows outside the campfire.
Then, a new breed of man rode
south to the hills, into the forests and across
the plains of Texas. He brought the compass and
mathematics; he was the surveyor. Like the
trapper and the trader, like the frontier soldier
in Army blue and buckskin, he was the pioneer.
the vanguard of the westward surge of settlement
was the survey party, crossing the almost empty
plains by saddled horse or by buckboard and
sleeping under the stars or in a small tent.
Surveyors had to mark the routes of railroads,
line up the lands which were granted to the rail
companies, measure the widespread cattle ranches,
and divide new townsites into streets, blocks and
The surveyor was one of the
earliest of civilized men to make this new land
his own and call it home. He brought many
talents. If he knew fear (and like all brave men,
he did) it was tempered by his daring to do what
few other men had done.
Without this mans ability to draw
a straight line across land that had never known
the taming of a single string drawn taut by the
exactness of a mathematical equation, this land
could have never been tamed.
It is a tribute to these
pioneers of the profession that we are obligated
by law today to "follow in their