John Veatch has had a lot of experience surveying near the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately the John Veatches of the world have a pension for being 20 years ahead of their time.   If you’re a history buff you might enjoy this.


John Veatch came from a preacher’s family, growing up in Indiana and Kentucky.

His father was also a member of the Indiana legislature. He received a good education with background in medicine, geology, and botany. In 1829 at the age of 21 he traveled south to New Orleans where he taught school, married and had a family of his own. The lure of the land caused him to immigrate to Texas in 1833. In 1835 he presented himself to Jorge Antonio Nixon; who had become a citizen of Mexico and was appointed land commissioner in East Texas, requesting the land grant that he was entitled to as a colonist. In picking out his land, he split his certificate placing part in Jefferson County southeast of the ravine of Tevis because of the “mineral water” there, which happened to be the remaining land on what would later be some of the most valuable land in Texas-acreage at Sour Lake and Spindletop oilfields.  Coincidence? I think not! Veatch spent several years around Bevil and Town Bluff where he practiced medicine and surveying.  As we now know oil was discovered there some fifty years after Veatch left to seek his fortune in California looking for gold and silver.  There his major find was borax.  He was elected as a delegate from the municipality of Bevil to the Consultation of 1835 and secured additional land in the Zavala grant through his surveying practice. “In Oct. 1835, John McGaffey and Dr. John Veatch dragged measurement chains and survey instruments across the McGaffey league (4,426 acres) and McGaffey labor (177 acres), mostly through marsh land”.  By 1850 he had moved to San Antonio and amassed $15,000 in real property.


As for me I have watched with some personal interest the land surveying profession wrestle, as have most professions, with the emerging digital revolution.  For most of the past 50 years land surveyors have been scaling the mountain of new technologies and as they approach the summit they are just now beginning to recognize that I have been up there waiting for them for about 20 years.  


John Veatch, Urban Planner, Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor


This Content Originally Published to Land Surveyors United Network

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