March 1982 Collage





In a few decades after the end of the American Revolution the new United States accomplished the seemingly impossible task of colonizing the immense wilderness that lay beyond the Alleghenies. To begin with, property ownership in Louisiana prior to the Purchase was controlled by alien principles derived from the customs and legislations of France and Spain.  Even the shape and size of the plots created problems; The fact that the unit of measure (the arpent) did not correspond to the English acre.


Congress, sensibly decided to allow the pre-purchase colonists or their successors in interest to perfect their ichoate or defective Spanish titles to land, if they were able to substantiate that their claims emanated from the prior government, and that they had made settlement on the land and were in actual possession of it on the date of the transfer of Louisiana to the United States.


Though the entries in the report, the following summaries of the testimony offered by the settlers or their successors in support of the claims give very welcome details about the early settlers.


DAWALT CRITZ, Claiming 200 acres and 53 poles

State of Missouri, County of Cape Girardeau

GEORGE F. BOLLINGER, aged about 60 years, being duly sworn, as the Law directs, deposeth and saith that he was well acquainted with the said DAWALT CRITZ, the original claimant; that the claimant came to this country, then the Province up Upper Louisiana, now State of Missouri, in the year 1802; that he was a cripple and unable to go about much; that DANIEL BOLLINGER applied to, and obtained permission of grant from LOUIS LORIMIER, Spanish commandant of the district, for him to settle that said CRITZ selected the land claim, which the witness also knows; that the land was actually cultivated in the year 1804, and had the same surveyed, and has been actually cultivated ever since; that valuable improvements were made on the same, such as a good dwelling house, out-house, barn, stables, and orchards.


This testimony was sworn to and subscribed before L.F. Linn, Commissioner on 19th Oct. 1833. (page 174)