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Founder of Dewitt's colony dies in Mexico


On this day in 1835, Green Dewitt, empresario of Dewitt's colony, died in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico. DeWitt was born on February 12, 1787, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. In 1821 he was inspired by Moses Austin's widely bruited success in obtaining a grant from the Mexican government to establish a colony in Texas. Having seen Texas and visited Austin, DeWitt journeyed in March 1825 to Saltillo, the capital of the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas, where he petitioned the state government for a land grant. Aided by Austin and the Baron de Bastrop, he was awarded an empresario grant on April 15, 1825, to settle 400 Anglo-Americans on the Guadalupe River and was authorized to establish a colony adjacent to Stephen F. Austin's. Although he was successful in attracting settlers to the colony, he was unable to fulfill his contract by the time it expired on April 15, 1831, and he failed to get it renewed. He spent his last years engaging in some limited commercial investments and improving his own land on the right bank of the Guadalupe River across from the Gonzales townsite. In an attempt to improve his economic position and to secure premium land for settling eighty families, DeWitt journeyed in 1835 to Monclova. But he failed to acquire any land. While in Monclova DeWitt contracted a fatal illness, probably cholera, and died on May 18.

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