Article XIV, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution

Adopted February 15, 1876:

There shall be one General Land Office in the State, which shall be at the seat of government, where all land titles which have emanated or may hereafter emanate from the State shall be registered, except those titles the registration of which may be prohibited by this Constitution. It shall be the duty of the Legislature at the earliest practicable time to make the Land Office self-sustaining, and from time to time the Legislature may establish such subordinate offices as may be deemed necessary.

Editor Comments

The Texas General Land Office was created in 1836. It is the state's oldest state agency.

Note that Article IV, Section 1 creates the office of "Commissioner of the General Land Office."

And that Article IV, Section 23 addresses the land commissioner's term, salary, and duties.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • Kenedy Pasture Co. v. State, 231 S.W. 683, 693 (Tex. 1921) ("The holding of the trial court that the Fant Heirs and the purchasers from the State were purchasers for value of their respective sections without notice of the inchoate right of Villareal, should in our opinion be also sustained. . . . The grant issued Villareal being void, its record with the field notes accompanying it in Cameron County, or the filing of a copy of it and the field notes in the Land Office afforded, of course, no character of notice. The resurvey by Cocke of the Abajo at the instance of Crafts was based upon the void grant. It was hence wholly without authority, and the filing of the field notes could not, therefore, operate as notice.")
  • Day Land & Cattle Co. v. State, 4 S.W. 865, 879 (Tex. 1887) ("The other ground of estoppel claimed is that, as the officers of the government who have power to issue patents in proper cases, issued the patents under which the appellant claims, and construed the law as authorizing them so to do, this construction is conclusive upon the state after the land has gone into the hands of a purchaser for value. The state cannot be estopped by the acts of any of its officers, done in the exercise of a power not conferred . . . . The powers of all officers are defined and conferred by law, and of these all persons who deal with them must take notice. Acts done in excess of the powers conferred are not official acts.")
  • Dobbin v. Bryan, 5 Tex. 276, 285 (1849) ("We will next in order consider the sufficiency of the defense of the statute of limitations. It will be recollected that the condition of the . . . . Now, although by an act of Congress a much earlier time was fixed for the 'opening' of the land office in the sense of that term contemplated by the parties, yet we are authorized to know from the history of our own times, constituting a part of our political history, that the land office was not practically opened for such purposes until some time in 1844. That its operation in this respect was restrained by different acts of the Legislature, by proclamation, and by the removal of the Government for a time from the city of Austin.")

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