Mineral Rights: a Brief Discussion
Over the years many of those who retained the ownership of the mineral rights in a property would bequeath portions of the mineral rights to their heirs upon death. This divided the ownership of the mineral rights into fractional, or partial, interest holdings. Often times this occurred many times through several generations as the ownership of the mineral rights were passed down, sometimes resulting in a large number of owners who owned only fractional interest in the mineral rights of a particular property. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Well that is a loaded question that requires an entire Texas history lesson. But for now, I will submit the following . Back in the early to mid 1800's, just after Texas joined the union and became a state, folks from Mexico were slipping up into Texas and "stealing" salt (salt is a mineral) to take back to Mexico. Of course land owners did not like that folks were stealing their salt. So, very long story made very short, over a period of about 80+- years, there were several state laws passed through congress and court cases, even the Texas Supreme Court eventually ruled that the owners of the surface of the land, the "surface estate" also owned the minerals below the surface, the "mineral estate". All of that created two (2) separate "estates" that could be severed, or separated, and sold separately, as discussed above. All of that also rendered the "surface estate" as "servient" to the "dominate" "mineral estate", which is what allows the mineral owners to utilize the surface to produce their minerals. Yes, it all started with salt. That seems like a good stopping place for now. If you want to learn more you can do a search for mineral rights in Texas.