sidebar menu icon


LAND FRAUD BOARD. A legislative act approved on April 14, 1883, established a Land Board (better known as the Land Fraud Board to distinguish it from the State Land Boardqv) to investigate purchases of state land that violated the land acts of 1879 and 1881 and to investigate the operation of the General Land Office. Governor John Ireland appointed E. F. Hall of Laredo, I. A. Patton of Johnson County, and Charles DeMorse of Clarksville to the board. These agents were sent separately to counties where fraud was deemed likely. DeMorse wrote in August 1883 that he had unearthed more than enough irregularities in sales, forged titles, and destroyed records to cover the cost of the board. The board's report of January 3, 1884, stated that 750,000 acres of land had been secured by illegal or improper means and could be recovered by due diligence on the part of the state. Lack of time and appropriations prevented complete investigation, but the board did recommend several suits to the attorney general, and some state land was recovered in resulting court action.

Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). Ernest Wallace, Charles DeMorse (Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1943; new ed., Paris, Texas: Wright, 1985).
Curtis Bishop

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Curtis Bishop, "Land Fraud Board," accessed November 20, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.