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George Washington Brooks and Bexar Donation Military Land Grants awarded in 1881 while he was living in Lavaca County

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George Washington Brooks and Bexar Donation Military Land Grants awarded in 1881 while he was living in Lavaca County

Posted: 1438490361000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Brooks
There are some inconsistencies in the documentation on the Texas General Land Office website, and I am wondering if someone who understands all these different classes of grants can help me sort through it. Basically, I'm trying to sort out the documentation of George Washington Brooks of Montgomery and then Lavaca County from that of George Whitfield Brooks of Fayette and then Washington County. There are also seems to be a third G. W. Brooks in early Texas for whom I find a letter of reference in the Texas GLO archives.

From his pension application, the service of George Washington Brooks:
1832 Participated in the Battle of Velasco under the command of John Austin
1836 As a member of Captain John Bird's Company assisted with the removal of families during the Runaway Scrape
1836 Joined Captain Hendershot's Company, which followed the retreating Mexican army to the [San] Bernard River, where George W. Brooks was discharged May 1836.

George Whitfield Brooks was a member of Shackleford's Red Rovers and in advance guard with Horton, which is how he escaped the massacre at Goliad. His brother, Zachariah, also escaped the massacre.

Some additional info:
"C. H. Allen et al. v. George Bruce Halstead" from The Texas Civil Appeals Reports
In this case decided 3 May 1905, the Republic of Texas military service of George Whitfield Brooks was distinguished from that of George Washington Brooks.

George Washington Brooks applied in 1879 for a land grant based on military service. His application was filed in Lavaca County, and we know this is George Washington Brooks and not another "G. W. Brooks" as he was listed with his family in the 1880 Census in Lavaca County, and the acreage of land owned matches between the land grant application and the 1880 Farm Schedule.

Mystery #1: The military service entered on the 1879 land grant application clearly corresponds to George Whitfield Brooks. In the approval of this land donation, there was even confusion over the identity of George Washington Brooks versus George Whitfield Brooks. Notes in pencil on the front and back of the application wrapper identify the two G. W. Brooks applicants and outline the service of George Whitfield Brooks. Could the land office have mixed up the service records of the two men when approving their applications? Could the application could have been erroneously filled in after George Washington Brooks signed? In the end, both men were approved for the donations. George Washington Brooks was awarded certificate no. 733. It seems that George Washington Brooks may have been mistakenly approved based on the service of George Whitfield Brooks, though he may have qualified on his own.

Mystery #2: In 1881, George Washington Brooks sells two certificates for land awarded through the Bexar Donation land grant program. Why did he have two? And, again, the military service is confused.

14 Mar 1881
G. W. Brooks sells an 1881 Veterans Land Certificate (No. 205, Bexar Donation) for 640 acres to John W. Gamel for $150. Gamel has the land surveyed in Mason County. This certificate/sale file references an 1870 Nacadoches Bounty Patent for George W. Brooks in which is described the receipt by George W. Brooks of a military bounty land grant in 1837 for three months service in the Republic of Texas army. The dates of service cited are 12 Dec 1835 to 10 Mar 1836, which corresponds to the dates of George Whitfield Brooks's military service and not that of George Washington Brooks, according to the pension files of both and other documentation.

15 Sep 1881
G. W. Brooks sells his 1881 Veterans Land Certificate (No. 733, Bexar Donation) for 640 acres to J. D. Gillis for $150. Gillis has the land surveyed in Medina County. This certificate is associated with the 1879 application mentioned above, with the incorrect military history.

There are some inconsistencies here that bring to mind the possibility of fraud, perhaps on the part of the people who helped George Washington Brooks file the application for the Bexar donation, or perhaps the parties who benefitted by the subsequent sale of the land. Indeed, the Texas GLO website mentions that as many as 10% of land grants were acquired through fraud.

I'm also wondering if I might be missing something because I'm still learning how to understand and interpret all this land grant documentation. If you have more information or clarity (or questions, for that matter), please post here! I would love to understand all this better if it's possible.

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