Land Fraud Board

By: Curtis Bishop

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 13, 2019

A legislative act approved on April 14, 1883, established a Land Board (better known as the Land Fraud Board to distinguish it from the State Land Board) to investigate purchases of state land that violated the land acts of 1879 and 1881 and to investigate the operation of the General Land Office. Governor John Ireland appointed E. F. Hall of Laredo, I. A. Patton of Johnson County, and Charles DeMorse of Clarksville to the board. These agents were sent separately to counties where fraud was deemed likely. DeMorse wrote in August 1883 that he had unearthed more than enough irregularities in sales, forged titles, and destroyed records to cover the cost of the board. The board's report of January 3, 1884, stated that 750,000 acres of land had been secured by illegal or improper means and could be recovered by due diligence on the part of the state. Lack of time and appropriations prevented complete investigation, but the board did recommend several suits to the attorney general, and some state land was recovered in resulting court action.

Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). Ernest Wallace, Charles DeMorse (Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1943; new ed., Paris, Texas: Wright, 1985).

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

Curtis Bishop, “Land Fraud Board,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 13, 2019