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David Barkalow
Guadalupe College Land Grant.
Tracts of the Guadalupe College Land Grant. Courtesy Texas General Land Office.

GUADALUPE COLLEGE LAND GRANT. The Congress of the Republic of Texas chartered nineteen colleges from 1837 to 1845. During the term of Mirabeau B. Lamar, an act to establish the Guadalupe College at Gonzales was approved on January 30, 1841. The act required the General Land Office to issue patents totaling four leagues of vacant and unappropriated land in the name of the trustees of Guadalupe College. Trustees had the authority to sell, lease, or rent the land with the proceeds allocated for building construction, fixtures, or educational material. The act also recognized a thirteen-member college board that included Benjamin McCulloch and Thomas J. Pilgrim. As requested by the Congress, to fund Guadalupe College, the General Land Office assigned tracts of land in eleven different counties: Bexar, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, DeWitt, Eastland, Freestone, Montague, Stephens, Travis, and Williamson. Bexar County contained the greatest number of land tracts with the largest amount of acreage. No construction efforts or land sales occurred in the eleven years after passage of the 1841 charter.

File Detail of Guadalupe College Land Grant.
File detail of the Guadalupe College Land Grant in Bexar County. Courtesy Texas General Land Office.

On March 24, 1851, private citizens met in Gonzales and formed an association to found an “institution of learning” named Gonzales College. On January 21, 1852, Texas Senator Thomas Hinds Duggan introduced a bill in the Fourth Texas Legislature to establish and incorporate Gonzales College. On February 16, 1852, the Texas legislature repealed the Guadalupe College charter of 1841 and chartered Gonzales College. The repeal transferred ownership of the existing four leagues of land to the Gonzales College trustees. The landholdings were sold for $2,150.60, and the proceeds added to private funds for a school building that had already begun construction. The Gonzales College opened on April 4, 1853, in a stone building in Gonzales which was funded in part by the original Guadalupe College land grant. During the Civil War, the college suffered declining enrollment and financial difficulties. Gonzales College ceased operation as an educational institution in the 1870s.

The Guadalupe College land grant program was not associated with the Seguin, Texas, Guadalupe College, which operated from 1887 until 1936.


C. E. Evans, The Story of Texas Schools (Austin: Steck, 1955). Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). Journal of the Senate of the State of Texas: Fourth Legislature (Austin: State Gazette Office, 1852).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, David Barkalow, "GUADALUPE COLLEGE LAND GRANT," accessed May 30, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mng01.

Uploaded on January 29, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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