Carl Nikolaus Riotte -> Castro’s Colony -> Castro's Colony: Empresario Colonization In Texas



Once again Castro clamored for action toward putting the colonists in possession of their lands. He succeeded again when on 26 December 1854 Charles N. Riotte, a prominent French immigrant living in San Antonio, was appomted commissioner to replace Ward. (30) Riotte issued his first certificates on 29 and 30 of January 1855 and during the last three days of February of that same year he issued others. In all Riotte put seventy-three colonists in possession of their property and ended once and (31) for all land distribution for the Castro grant.


(30) C. N. Riotte to Governor E. M. Pease, 4 January 1855, Colonization Papers; Ledger (San Antonio), 9 December 1858.

(31) Castro Colony Land Certificates Book, H. E. Haass Papers, Barker Texas History Center.




page 197-198

The process by which the certificates were issued is also interesting. Carolan issued 360 certificates to specific individuals for specific surveys of land on the grant. Of the 125 issued by Ward, however, sixteen were floating, that is, for some unspecified piece of land within the confines of the grant, and forty-one were issued with Angelo Causici as administrator of the estate of the grantee. Causici served as Justice of the Peace for Medina County, but he was also the grandson of Henri Castro. Of the seventy-three certificates issued by Charles Riotte seventy-one were floating and Causici was administrator for thirteen grantees. It appears that the first 360 certificates went to resident colonists who already had drawn lots for their property and had surveys in hand.


After Castro realized the small showing of land claimants, however, he persuaded others from throughout Texas to ask for acreage and raanaged to get a member of his family, Causici, to oversee those from whora he got powers of attorney. His manageraent appears evident in this particular phase of the land question. The question of who ultimately received the property brings the entire process into rauch sharper focus. Initial ownership of the land lay with the colonists in the amount of 277,760 acres. This very quickly changed. By 1859 the amount of land still in the possession of colonists proper fell to only 62,880 acres or 22.6 percent of their original amount. The other 214,880 acres belonged to land speculators. Of that amount at least 150,880 acres either belonged to or had been in the possession of Henri Castro. Among those who garnered part of the land were San Antonio merchants Joseph Ulrich and J. B. LaCoste, who received 12,160 and 9,600 acres respectively. Twelve other men acquired holdings of between 1,280 and 3,840 acres, and Louis Huth managed to get 2,800 acres, and C. V. Riotte, 640 acres, managed to have a hand in the speculation. The balance of the colony land went to a number of individuals in 320 and 640 acres blocks. Thus, it is apparent that, as a land speculator, Castro proved as successful as he was as an empresario. (35)


(35) Survey of deed records for Bexar County at San Antonio, Medina County at Hondo, Frio County at Pearsall, Uvalde County at Uvalde, LaSalle County at Cotulla, McMullen County at Tilden, and Atascosa County at Jourdanton.


source: Bobby Weaver, „CASTRO'S COLONY: EMPRESARIO COLONIZATION IN TEXAS, 1842-1865“, (dissertation in history), August 1983

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