Fifty Cent Act

By: Alice Gray Upchurch

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

The Fifty Cent Act, advocated by Governor Oran M. Roberts and approved by the Texas legislature on July 14, 1879, provided for selling Texas public lands at fifty cents an acre, one-half the proceeds to be used to pay the public debt and the other half to establish a permanent school fund. The act opened to settlement about fifty-two West Texas counties, out of which the state sold 3,201,283 acres for $1,600,641.55. On January 22, 1883, the Fifty Cent Act was repealed as a public necessity resulting from fraudulent speculation in the land.

Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). Texas Legislature, House Journal, 16th Leg., extra sess., 1879.

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

Alice Gray Upchurch, “Fifty Cent Act,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995