Lone Star State
By K. L. Batts
Under this rather inaccurate title memoranda (perhaps incomplete) is given concerning five classes of counties:
1. Judicial counties.
2. Counties whose names have been changed.
3. Counties whose territories have been entirely changed.
4. Counties, the laws organizing which have been repealed.
5. Counties whose territory is no longer considered part of the State.
I. Judicial Counties
At the sessions of the Fifth and Sixth Congresses, held respectively in 1841 and 1842, a number of counties were organized which were subsequently spoken of as "judicial counties." These counties did not differ from the counties from which they were created except that they were not given representation in Congress. Because this representation was not given, the acts creating them were held unconstitutional, as being in conflict with article I, section 5, of the Constitution of the Republic, which declared that "each county shall be entitled to at least one representative." Stockton v. Montgomery, Dal., 473; Beazley v. Stinson, Dal., 537; Allen v. Scott, Dal., 615. By Act of July 18, 1842 (Special Session of Sixth Congress, p. 1), acts of boards of land commissioners or district courts, and of surveyors, with reference to lands, were validated.
Burleson. The judicial county of Burleson was created by the Act of January 15, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 35.) It covered territory of which the present county of Burleson, created four years after (Act March 24, 1836, p. 16), is a part.
Burnet. I find no act creating the judicial county of Burnet, but on December 6, 1841, an act was passed better defining the boundaries of Burnet County. This was entirely distinct from the present county of that name, and included very considerable territory between the Trinity and Sabine Rivers. I have assumed that this was a judicial county, because it disappeared without a repealing act (so far as I can find), and because the creation of such counties was the settled policy at the session of Congress at which the act mentioned was passed.
De Witt. The judicial county of De Witt was created by Act of February 2, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 89.) The present county succeeded four years later.
Guadalupe. The judicial county of Guadalupe was created by Act of January 29, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 78.) It was succeeded four years later by the existing county.
Hamilton. The judicial county of Hamilton was created from Montgomery and Houston counties by Act of February 2, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 91.) Its territory was entirely distinct from that of the present county.
La Baca. The judicial county of La Baca was created by Act of January 29, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 74.) It was succeeded four years later by the present county of Lavaca.
Madison. The judicial county of Madison was created by Act of February 2, 1842 (page 91), from Montgomery county. The present county of Madison was created January 27, 1853 (p. 10) from Grimes, Walker, and Leon counties.
Menard. The judicial county of Menard was created by Act of January 22, 1841 (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 74), from Liberty County. Its territory was entirely distinct from that of the present county of Menard.
Neches. The judicial county of Neches was created from Jasper and Jefferson counties by Act of January 29, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 82.)
Panola. The judicial county of Panola was created by Act of January 30, 1841 (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 153), from Harrison county; is was succeeded in 1846 by the present county.
Paschal. The judicial county of Paschal was created from Red River, Bowie, and Lamar counties by Act of January 28, 1841. (Acts Fifth Cong., p. 56.)
Waco. The judicial county of Waco was created from Robertson and Milam by Act of January 29, 1842. (Acts Sixth Cong., p. 80.)
Ward. The judicial county of Ward was created from Mata gorda and Colorado by Act of January 19, 1841. (Acts Fifth Cong., p. 65.) Its territory was entirely distinct from that of the present county of Ward.
II. Counties Who’s Names Have Been Changed.
Bevil. Bevil's settlement was organized in 1830 into a precinct of Nacogdoches municipality; it was organized in 1834 as a separate municipality. The name was changed in 1835 to Jasper, which is still retained as the name of the county succeeding the municipality.
Buchanan. Buchanan County was created by Act of January 22, 1858 (p. 58); name was changed by Act of December 7, 1861 (p. 8), to Stephens, which is retained.
Columbia. The municipality of Brazoria was formed May 12, 1832 (Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, p. 197); the name was changed to Columbia by Decree 233 (Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, p. 274), without date; the name Brazoria was restored in 1835, and is retained.
Davis. The name of Cass County was changed to Davis by Act of December 17, 1861, but the original name was restored by Act of May 16, 1871 (p. 92).
Harrisburg. The name Harrisburg was changed to Harris by Act of December 28, 1839. (Acts Fourth Cong., p. 222.)
Mina. The municipality of Mina was created in 1834. (Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, No. 283, p. 274.) Name changed to Bastrop by Act of December 18, 1837 (p. 90).
Navasota. Created by Act of January 30, 1841 (p. 86); name changed to Brazos, January 28, 1842.
Tenehaw. By Act of January 11, 1836 (p. 122), the name of the municipality of Tenehaw (Tenaha) was changed to Shelby, which is retained as the name of the county succeeding the municipality.
Viesea. Name of municipality of Viesea changed by Act of December 26, 1835 (p. 99), to Milam, which is retained as the name of the county succeeding the municipality.
III. County Who’s Territory Has Been Completely Changed.
San Patricia. The municipality of San Patricio was established by Decree 283 of Coahuila and Texas (p. 274). One of its boundary lines was defined by Act of May 24, 1838 (p. 36), and its boundaries were completely defined by Act of April 18, 1846 (p. 86), and were further affected by Act of March 17, 1887 (p. 28), and April 13, 1891 (p. 172). Mr. Pressler, expert draughtsman of the General Land Office of Texas, is authority for the statement that no part of the present county is included in the original territory.
IV. Counties, The Laws Creating Which Have Been Repealed.
Buchel. By Act of April 22, 1897, this county was abolished and its territory included within Brewster County.
Dawson. By Act of February 1, 1857 (p. 87), a county by the name of Dawson was created from. Kinney and Uvalde counties. The act was not expressly repealed, but the county was obliterated by Acts of September 29 and October 5, 1866 (pp. 18 and 21), changing lines of Uvalde and Kinney. Its territory was entirely distinct from that of the present county of Dawson.
Foley. By Act of April 22, 1897, this county was abolished and its territory included in Brewster County.
Wegefarth. Wegefarth County was created by Act of May 31, 1873 (p. 67). It included a large territory on Prairie Dog Town Fork of Red River. The creative act was repealed August 21, 1876.
V. Counties Who’s Territory Is No Longer Considered Part Of The State.
Greer. The county of Greer, composed of territory between the Red River and the Prairie Dog Town Fork thereof, was created by Act of February, 8, 1860 (p. 138). The Supreme Court of the United States has held that this territory was not within the boundaries of Texas. (United States v. Texas, 162 U. S., 1.)
Santa Fe. The county of Santa Fe was created by Act of March 15, 1848 (p. 95), with the following boundaries: Beginning at junction of Rio Puerco with the Rio Grande, and running up the principal stream of said Rio Grande to its source; thence due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude; thence along the boundary line as denned in the treaty between the United States and Spain to the point where the one hundred degree of longitude west of Greenwich intersects Red River; thence up the principal stream of said Red River to its source; thence in a direct line to the source of the principal stream of the Rio Puerco, and down said Rio Puerco to place of beginning. This territory was ceded to the United States by Act of November 25, 1850, accepting Act of the United States Congress of September 4, 1850.
Worth. Worth County was created by Act of January 3, 1850 (p. 201). It was composed of the following territory: Beginning on the Rio Grande at the northwest corner of the county of El Paso; thence up said river to a point twenty miles above the town of Sabine; thence due to the eastern branch of the Rio Pecos; thence down said stream to the northeast corner of the county of El Paso; thence with the north boundary line of said county of El Paso to the place of beginning. This territory was included in that ceded to the United States by the Act of November 25, 1850, accepting the act of United States Congress of September 4, 1850.Source: The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume I, July 1897 to April 1898, Published by the Association