About Cornelius Smith
Cornelius SMITH WAS b. 23 Dec 1783 on Swearing Creek, Jersey Settlement, North Carolina Colony, d. 10 Oct 1837 in Brazoria Co., Texas Republic; m. 1 Jan 1803 Elizabeth 'Betsy' ROBERTS b. 1785 in Kentucky Co. (Pulaski Co. aft 10 Dec 1798), Virginia, d. 31 Aug 1859 in Brazoria Co., Texas.
Cornelius took his growing family from Tennessee to the new Republic of Mexico in 1824 (it had just achieved independence from Spain) in response to a free-land offer by Stephen Austin. He had cajoled the new government of Mexico to increase their population by granting land to US settlers in the area of Coahuila Y Tejas (later Texas) and it gained the appellation of "Austin's 300", for the number of settlers (actually more like 280-some).
On April 20, 1824, Cornelius SMITH, along with his father-in-law William ROBERTS and a group of colonists were at the home of James Britton 'Brit' BAILEY when Josiah H. BELL read the Constitution of 1824 and heard their oath of loyalty to the Mexican government.
Cornelius’ Mexican land grant of 1 league and 1 labor (4,605.5 acres) was dated August 7, 1824 and was approved by Estevan F. AUSTIN (Stephen F. AUSTIN) August 10, 1824 after it was surveyed. The actual acreage was 4,587.096 acres. Cornelius’ father-in-law, William ROBERTS, was also an 'Old 300' colonist. William’s land adjoined Cornelius’ on its southern boundary. William sold half of his 5,312.13 acres to his son, Andrew (28 Dec, 1824), and the other half to his son-in-law, Cornelius (27 Dec 1824), for $150.00. This brought Cornelius’ land holdings to about 7,243 acres.
NOTE: By Mexican law, each family received one league 4,428 acres of pasture land and one labor 177 acres of irrigable farm land. They paid $190 in fees to the state, the land commissioner, the surveyor, and for writing the deed about four cents per acre! Austin's plan to rebuild the family fortune was thwarted by laws that prohibited the empresario from charging fees. His reward was 23,000 acres of land as a "premium" for each 100 families he settled. Austin located most of his premium land for his first contract along the Brazos River in Brazoria County.
Cornelius Smith's Timeline
December 23, 1783
Swearing Creek, Jersey Settlement, North Carolina Colony
November 28, 1808
Pulaski, KY, USA
October 10, 1837
Brazoria Co., Republic of Texas