Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Governor John Ireland:

An Inventory of Records at the Texas State Archives, 1879-1887 (bulk 1883-1887)


Creator: Texas. Governor (1883-1887 : Ireland)
Title: Records
Dates: 1879-1887
Dates (Bulk): (bulk 1883-1887)
Abstract: Types of records are correspondence, messages, proclamations, petitions, lists, certificates of appointment, and a register dating from 1879 to 1887, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1883 to 1887. Records are from John Ireland's terms as governor of Texas.
Quantity: 0.47 cubic ft.
Language English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in part with funds provided by the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board for the Texas Archival Resources Online project.

Biographical Sketch

John Ireland served as governor of Texas from January 16, 1883 to January 18, 1887. Ireland was born in Kentucky on January 1, 1827. While in his 20s, he was constable and deputy sheriff of his home county, and he studied law. In 1853 he moved to Seguin, Texas, where he was elected mayor in 1858. After serving in the Secession Convention of 1861, he joined the Confederate army where he rose in rank from private to lieutenant colonel. Ireland was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866, and a district judge until removed by General Philip Sheridan as an impediment to reconstruction (1867). In 1872 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and in 1874 to the Texas Senate. While legislator (and later as governor), Ireland was known as "Ox Cart John" for his opposition to railroad subsidies on the grounds of their encouraging monopoly and privilege. He was briefly a Supreme Court justice until the Constitution of 1876 eliminated his seat. He was then defeated in a race for U.S. Senate (1876) and again in a race for U.S. House of Representatives (1878).

Ireland won the gubernatorial race in 1882 over strong opposition from the Independent candidate George W. "Wash"Jones. As governor, Ireland reversed Oran Roberts' policy of rapid sale of public lands, arguing instead for a minimum price and sale to the highest bidder. The proceeds from these sales went into permanent funds for public schools, the state university, and state institutions. The constitution was amended to provide school districts with taxing power, and a state superintendent of education was created. Ireland reduced the number of pardons, and called a special session of the legislature in 1884 to deal with the fence-cutting war. That same year, Ireland was re-elected by a greater margin than before. Ireland's suggestion to establish a railroad commission failed to pass and he had to contend with strikes by the Knights of Labor in 1885 and 1886. He refused to sign a contract to rebuild the capitol unless native Texas stone was used. Upon retirement in 1887, Ireland unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate against John H. Reagan. He then resumed the practice of law in Seguin. Ireland died in San Antonio on March 15, 1896.

Scope and Contents of the Records

Types of records are correspondence, messages, proclamations, petitions, lists, certificates of appointment, and a register dating from 1879 to 1887, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1883 to 1887. Records are from John Ireland's terms as governor of Texas. Much of the correspondence relates to the appointment or resignation of state and local officials and the disqualification of district judges to hear specific cases. Other materials deal with pardons, rewards, and requisitions for extradition, as well as railroad bonds, fence-cutting, the recollections of a Texas Revolution veteran, and the North, Central and South American Exposition of 1886. Included are election results for locating a "colored"university and a register listing convicts who had their citizenship restored between 1885 and 1887.

Arrangement of the Records

Arrangement is generally by type of material and then chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use


Technical Requirements


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Ireland, John, 1827-1896.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Office of the Governor.
Texas--Politics and government--1865-1950.
Texas--Officials and employees--Selection and appointment.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Governors--1873-1887 (bulk 1883-1887).
Proclamations--Texas--Governors--1873-1887 (bulk 1883-1887).
Petitions--Texas--Governors--1873-1887 (bulk 1883-1887).
Certificates--Texas--Governors--1873-1887 (bulk 1883-1887).
Registers--Texas--Governors--1873-1887 (bulk 1883-1887).

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Secretary of State, Executive record books, 1835-1917, 14 reels of microfilm
Texas Secretary of State, Executive clemency records, 1840, 1845-2002, 103.62 cubic ft., 168 reels of microfilm (originals), 22 reels of microfilm (duplicates)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Records, Texas Governor John Ireland. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

No accession information for these records was located.

Processing Information

June 1984

Tonia J. Wood, December 1995

Detailed Description of the Records

Records, 1879-1887 (bulk 1883-1887),
0.47 cubic ft.

Box Folder
301-123 1. Appointments, 1883
2. Correspondence, January 1879
3. Correspondence, January 1881
4. Proclamations, 1885
5. Correspondence, October 1886
6. Manuscript Messages, 1887
7. Printed Messages, 1884
8. Printed Messages, 1887
9. Miscellaneous, undated
10. Correspondence, January 1883
11. Correspondence, February 1883
12. Correspondence, March 1883
13. Correspondence, April 1883
14. Correspondence, May 1883
15. Correspondence, June 1883
16. Correspondence, July 1883
17. Correspondence, August 1883
18. Correspondence, September 1883
19. Correspondence, October 1883
20. Correspondence, November 1883
21. Correspondence, December 1883
22. Correspondence, January 1884
23. Correspondence, February 1884
24. Correspondence, March 1884
25. Correspondence, April 1884
26. Correspondence, May 1884
27. Correspondence, June 1884
28. Correspondence, July 1884
29. Correspondence, August 1884
30. Correspondence, September 1884
31. Correspondence, October 1884
32. Correspondence, November 1884
33. Correspondence, December 1884
34. Correspondence, undated
35. Correspondence, April 1885
36. Correspondence, May 1885
37. Correspondence, June 1885
38. Correspondence, July 1885
39. Correspondence, August 1885
40. Correspondence, September 1885
41. Correspondence, October 1885
42. Correspondence, November 1885
43. Correspondence, December 1885
44. Correspondence, January, April 1887