I had several reproductions of Bastrop County plat maps already in my collection, but they were all in black and white. I wanted a color one like the one at Chicken Express. So, a month or so ago when I paid a visit to the General Land Office, I took the opportunity to look at the available maps and pick out one that I thought would make a nice focal point for my living room. I selected the 1861 map because it was the most colorful.
When I went back later that afternoon to pick up the map, I realized how very big it was. It would definitely fill up that big expanse of white wall, but I was a little bit afraid of what it was going to cost to get it framed. Finally, I decided it would be a good Christmas present to myself. I braced myself and waltzed into the framing area of the nearby craft store and picked out all the pieces before I ever inquired about the cost. It was a good thing I did that, because I would probably have backed off and chosen more inexpensive elements. As it was, I swayed a little when they gave me the total, but gamely handed over my credit card and placed the order, telling myself it was another piece of furniture I had fallen in love with - rather like that platform rocker I brought home a few weeks ago that I didn't know I needed until I saw it.
The day before the holiday vacation was over, I got the call that it was ready for pickup. It was good motivation to get me back to the office after all that nice rest and relaxation. When they brought the box out of the workroom, I was astonished all over again at the size of the thing. But when they removed the wrapping and let me take my first look, I knew I had made good choices. I loved it.
I loved the aged look of the outer wood frame, with the delicate scrollwork that gives it an early, almost Pennsylvania Dutch air. I love the double mats of green and rusty red. I love that if you did not know better, you would think you were looking at an authentic old map and not a reproduction. I can't wait to get it put in its proper place up on the mantle, but I've decided it would be smart to wait until I have a little assistance to lift the heavy thing into place.
As a historian and as a 5th generation native born Texan and 5th generation native born Bastrop Count-ian, I feel like this is just the right touch for my living room. And down in the southwest corner, near Red Rock, I can point to the proof of my heritage. Jacob G. Lentz, my 3rd great grandfather, acquired a league of land from the Mexican government in 1831.
Sure wish Jacob's daughter Amanda, my great-great grandmother, had held onto her share of her father's land. Jacob's league was split into various pieces and sold down through the generations, but a portion of that original league is still in the hands of some of the descendants of Amanda's brother Thomas.
I am pleased that this map will be there in my living room for years to come to remind me of my deep Bastrop County roots.