Ancestral Lands

Since I have been visiting my parents, where much of my personal library is located, I have had a chance to read a book that I got many years ago when it was withdrawn from circulation by the Gonzales Public Library, an establishment that was a regular haunt of mine in my college days.

In what has been one of the more popular posts on this blog, I talked about my Uncle George Littlefield. The book I am reading is George Littlefield: Texan by J. Evetts Haley, published in 1943 by the University of Oklahoma Press. At the time I acquired it, I knew that I was related to Uncle George – and he was always referred to as Uncle George Littlefield by my mother’s family – but I hadn’t made the exact genealogical connection. I just knew that he had put my great-grandmother through college.

Since, as you might expect, the first chapter of the biography covers his family background, it has been very interesting to read about my great-great-great-grandparents (his parents) in a real book (not a self-published genealogy-driven tome) with real footnotes referencing a wide range of primary source materials. The book details both real and personal property they possessed, acquired and sold. Through my genealogical research, I knew where some of this land was.

The personal recollections of former slaves continues to confirm my understanding the positive relationship they shared with my family. Because that is relevant to the novel I am intending to write, this has been particularly helpful.

During the years I lived in Gonzales County, I had thought it would be a nice place to settle. River bottom being the most desirable and fertile real estate, I had always wanted to own the land at the confluence of the San Marcos and Guadalupe Rivers. I figured if one river made for good land, two must be so much the better.

Having never read that book I bought from the Gonzales Public Library, I had no idea my great-great-great-grandmother thought the same and not only acquired that land, but also moved there from the original plantation where she had settled with my great-great-great-grandfather located about 15 miles up the Guadalupe.

Were I to someday win the lottery or perhaps become a wildly successful writer – though the lottery win is the more likely of the two – I might yet buy that land.

Eroding Property Rights

An Englishman’s home is his castle. That is, until Gordon Brown gets his way. He wants to give local councils the authority to snoop around and make sure that local houses are owned by local people. It will be one castle per Englishman.

Councils will have the power to require planning permission for any house that goes from fully occupied to a second home. If councils find out that a house is owned by someone who does not live in it as a permanent residence, it is not clear what they will be able to do. However, they may also get the power to ban outsiders from buying newly built properties as well.

This is socialism through and through. The State will tell you how much property you can have and where it can be located. You will live where you are told. It will also tell you to whom you may sell your property, and under what circumstances, thus effectively controlling the prices.

The property market is already in turmoil. What we don’t need is the Government stepping in with social engineering policies and making things even worse, while chipping away at historic rights and personal liberty.

The Wall

There are so many things in the news it is hard to decide what deserves comment, or more accurately what comments might draw readership. When I moved from my previous blog location for privacy reasons, it appears to have worked too well. Even people who are supposed to remember where I’ve gone seemed to have forgotten.

If I were to write about local events, it would be the flooding. It hasn’t affected us too much directly, but once again Britain seems to be under water. We are only affected because the local Asda store was granted permission to build on a flood plain. To do so, they had to pay about £10 million toward local flood defenses. The only thing that seems to be defended is the Asda store. Otherwise, there are houses that have never flooded before that are now in danger.

Don’t tell this to the Evironment Agency, of course. They have actual gone around to people’s homes and told them where the flooding reaches in their gardens. The people who live there tell the civil servants that they are wrong, but the residents are rebuffed because the computer projections show otherwise. There’s no arguing with a bureaucrat.
The only direct effect on us is that our view has been ruined temporarily by heavy machinery, mounds of earth, and blocked drains, and permanently by mounds of earth and a six-foot concrete wall where there was once a hedge. Oh, and they had to chop down a significant number of trees that were several hundred years old. All of this was to build a wall no one wanted, to stop flooding that has only become a problem since they built the wall.

Now with the recession in the housing market, it’s not like we need something ugly like this to bring down property values.