In a great article a few years ago in the Bastrop Daily Enterprise, Wes Helbling wrote a great article commemorating the 250th anniversary of The Baron de Bastrop‘s birthday. Much can be said about this mysterious land shark today, and the impact he had on how current land use has developed from generation to generation can often be dated back to these original land grants. For more on The Baron, see Helbling’s article here.
Though most of this land is found in present day Morehouse, and West Carroll parishes, a small portion also reached into present day Richland Parish.
At the request of fellow researcher Tom Allen, of Oak Ridge, I set out to find some documents that the United States Senate held in their archives from 1851, where more than 800 pages of recorded testimony helped to bring some sense of clarity and closure to land grants related to the Baron de Bastrop. They were filed as Senate Executive Documents to the 32nd Congress, Serial Set 661. For interested researchers, you can find these detailed documents here.
“I will give to every family, industrious and well recommended, 400 acres of land – take where they please – six months’ provisions, all kinds of seeds they want to plant out, and their children (that is to say, boys) will be unregistered; and when they come to age, 400 acres of land will be given to each of them, during this current spring.”
The colonists came in two parties, one of which was detained at New Madrid for a month waiting for a boat from the Spanish government. The Baron finally bought a barge to bring them to Louisiana.