Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Google Earth Overlay Files (kmz) for Republic of Texas

Here are some overlays for Google Earth.
If you are not familiar with overlays, download and open any (.kmz) files below in Google Earth. The object contained within the overlay will be superimposed over the satellite image in the proper location on the globe.

Bastrop Von Rosenberg Map - Von Rosenberg's 1881 Bastrop County Headright Map Overlay in 9 sections. This is a scan from my own full size print (22,309 KB).

A copy of this map is available at the Texas General Land Office.

Bastrop County Land Survey Headrights -This folder and contents are from a 1929 Map, showing original land grants as well as property owners at the time the map was produced. Source from in 22 sections (31,266 KB).

Travis County 1861 Land Survey - A low-resolution image (only 553 KB) of the head-rights of the early settlers in Travis County which is present day Austin. I enjoy noting that the visible-from-anywhere-in-Austin "antenna farm" near the Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and Lake Austin was on the land originally granted to my great-great-grandfather, Thomas Gray. He immediately traded that headright. It is perfect country club gold course property now, but back in his day, it was worthless for farming and far too remote for a residence (553 KB).

Republic of Texas - Places and Landmarks - Locations of landmarks and places in the Republic of Texas found mentioned in Smithwick, Jenkins, Filisoloa, Urrea, and other period accounts. (8,907 KB)

Cottle Fort Location - a 60' square land feature-- either the remains of the fort or at the very least, very near to the site. (1 KB)

Gotier's Trace - In 1831 James Gotier marked off a trail from the absolute-western-most-frontier town of Bastrop to San Felipe. This "path" overlay indicates the original route of the trace through Bastrop County as of 1899. At that time, the trace was known, locally as "the stage road." The original trace is very near the current roads now in existence. (1 KB).

NOTE: In this part of Texas, there are two principle natural paths. First and most obvious from overhead views such as satellites, are water courses, whether creeks or rivers. Second, and not obvious at all unless one is actually in the terrain, are the flat high-ground deer trails between the water courses. In each case, the underlining limestone is the cause. The limestone is the skeletal remains of ancient coral reefs which were mostly flat. In the case of water courses, these have cut through the limestone leaving canyons consummate in size and proportionate to the water flow. A trail following a water course would typically be a few feet above the water, following the easy grade.

As to the high ground between the water courses-- and many springs exist in the Bastrop area-- the limestone's natural flatness provides a hard surface with little topsoil at the highest points. The great "Comanche Trail" through this part of Texas followed the Colorado River along the cliffs.

The "usual Indian trail" mentioned by Noah Smithwick can be identified by the route of the nearest significant stream from his reference point of Reuben Hornsby's Place. In that case, it is Walnut Creek where it empties into the Colorado River. To confirm this, one can follow Walnut Creek upstream to its headwaters and, in doing so, will find it arrives at the very place where the Texas Rangers in Bastrop had traveled to build a fort (Tumlinson's Fort) to detect Indian movements threatening Bastrop. Over a Century later, US Interstate 35 would be constructed very nearly parallel to this ancient trail. Likewise, the Missouri Pacific Railroad would also follow this feature, just a bit further west.

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