Land grants, also known as land patents, are the highest form of land grant. Historically, they can only be bestowed by the sovereign government (for example, the state of Texas) to individuals and their heirs and assigns—forever. The land can never be taken away.
So why is this important? In a word: money. Any unsold public land belongs to the state of Texas, including whatever minerals or other natural resources may be present on the land. Texas has a close relationship with the concept of public land. Indeed, historically and presently, public land funds Texas ventures, rewards veterans and funds public education. A professional surveyor can help you if you have questions about excess acreage and corrected patents in Texas.
Excesses and Vacancies
Excess acreage happens when the title or land grant survey reveals more acreage than called for on paper. This usually is a result of the use of less accurate survey techniques during the 19th and 20th centuries. Modern surveys can reveal excess acreage, and whom that land belongs to depends on a number of factors. Naturally, both the state of Texas and the individual would like to hang on to the excess property.
Vacancies, on the other hand, are tracts of unsurveyed and unsold public land, located between plots of surveyed land. This is usually due to an error in surveying, typically thanks to the less-reliable techniques of centuries past. They’re considered to be part of the state of Texas, and are used to fund schools, among other ventures.
How Land Grants Are Used
Land grants are often used for the public benefit—some universities exist solely thanks to land grants, which allows them to continue to operate on the land indefinitely. Of course, funds from Texas public land—minerals, natural resources and the use of the land—also benefit the Texas School Fund.
The state can also choose to give certain corporations or entities land grants. For example, railroads are often given land grants. Railroads facilitate commerce and travel, which has a distinct public benefit—the government has a vested interest in giving some of their land up in order to benefit its citizens.
Land grants have historically been used for turnpikes, canals and other transportation infrastructure. The Land Grant Act of 1850 is responsible for massive amounts of land being granted for internal improvements. Historically, they have also been used to facilitate settlements and reward veterans for their dedicated service.
If you have a tract that hasn’t been surveyed using modern technology, you may be sitting on excess acreage! Contact D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. to learn more about your surveying options.
D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. is proud to offer over 90 years’ worth of combined expertise, including surveying for excess acreage and corrected patents in Texas. Located in Uvalde, TX and serving over 50 Texas counties, we’re happy to offer professional, reliable and trustworthy land surveying. Contact our team today to find out how we can serve you and set up a consultation to discuss your needs!