Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Galveston County (Tex.) County Judge's Office:

An Inventory of Galveston County Judge's Office Records at the Texas State Archives, 1913-1965, bulk 1940-1960


Creator: Galveston County (Tex.). County Judge's Office.
Title: Galveston County Judge's Office records
Dates: 1913-1965
Dates (Bulk): bulk 1940-1960
Abstract: The Texas Constitution of 1876 established the office of county judge for all Texas counties. The county commissioners court was designated as the county's administrative body with the county judge as the court's presiding officer and the county's chief administrative officer. Records created by the Galveston County Judge's Office include administrative records dating 1913-1965, with the bulk of the records dating 1940-1960.
Quantity: 10 cubic ft. (including 4 volumes)
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Agency History

All Texas counties derive their responsibilities and county officers from the Texas constitution and statutes enacted by the legislature. The Congress of the Republic of Texas created Galveston County in 1838, and the county was organized the following year. The office of county judge, as the elected administrative officer of the county, was established in 1876.

Since the Republic, county administration has been performed by various official entities. The first Congress of the Republic of Texas divided county administrative functions between a board of commissioners of roads and revenues and a county court. In 1846, the legislature combined the functions into one administrative body (the county court), which was comprised of a chief justice (the presiding officer) and four commissioners. The court had both administrative and judicial functions. The Constitution of 1866 brought changes to county administration. The police court, comprised of the judge of the county court as presiding officer and four commissioners, became the administrative body.

The Reconstruction Constitution of 1869 significantly reconfigured county government. The offices of county court judge, county commissioner, and county clerk were eliminated. It changed the name of the county administrative body from police court to county court and changed its membership to the county's five justices of the peace. The justice of the peace residing in the county seat was designated as the presiding justice.

The Constitution of 1876 established Texas' current form of county government. It created the county commissioners court as the administrative body of the county, with no judicial function. The county judge was designated as its presiding officer (Article V, Section 18, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1876). The Constitution also re-established the elected offices of county clerk, county tax assessor, county tax collector, and county treasurer, among others. The county clerk, once again, became the recorder for the county and the clerk of the commissioners court. As clerk of the commissioners court, the clerk performed administrative duties for the court, including recording and filing minutes, bonds and oaths, and record books for the county judge.

The legislature itemized the duties and responsibilities of the commissioners court in the first legislative session held following adoption of the constitution. These duties included: establishing public ferries; establishing and building public roads; building and repairing bridges; exercising control over roads, highways, ferries, and bridges in the county; providing for and repairing the county courthouse and jail; settling all accounts against the county and providing payment; providing for the support of paupers, and "such idiots and lunatics as cannot be admitted into the lunatic asylum, . . . who are unable to support themselves"; providing for the burial of paupers; and levying and collecting taxes for county purposes (Act 1876, 15th Texas Legislature, Ch. 55; codified at Art. 1509, et seq, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stats., 1879). As part of his administrative duties, the Galveston County Judge was the budgeting officer for the county, the chief elections officer for the county, and administrator of non-elected county offices.

(Sources include: several articles from the Handbook of Texas Online: "Galveston County" (Diana J. Kleiner), "Government" (Janice C. May), "County Judge" (Dick Smith), "County Organization" (Dick Smith), published by the Texas State Historical Association (accessed February 21, 2017). Inventory of County Records-Galveston County Courthouse, Volume I, compiled by Diane Hill, et al. (Austin: Texas State Library, 1980). Inventory of the County Archives of Texas No. 94, Guadalupe County (Seguin) prepared by the Texas Historical Records Survey through the Works Progress Administration (San Antonio: The Survey, 1939), particularly the chapters "Commissioners Court" and "Governmental Organization and Records System." Various historical statutes accessed through Historical Texas Statutes, Texas State Law Library (accessed February 21-22, 2017); The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, compiled by H.P.N. Gammel (Austin: Gammel, 1898, reprinted University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; accessed February 21-22, 2017); and The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated Comparative Analysis, George D. Braden, et al. (Austin: Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1977; accessed February 21, 2017).)

Scope and Contents of the Records

Records of the Galveston County Judge's Office reflect the judges' various administrative responsibilities as presiding officer of the commissioners court and administrative officer for the county. The records consist of administrative materials created, compiled, recorded, and filed by various Galveston County judges and include loose papers and four volumes of reports on various topics. Dates covered are 1913-1965, with the bulk of the records dating 1940-1960. The volumes are in the form of handwritten and typed entries into journals. The loose papers are in the form of handwritten and typed forms, correspondence, reports, notes, informational pamphlets, invoices, claims, contracts and proposals, minutes, newspaper clippings, maps, blueprints, and photographs. The files relate to the county budget, county elections, the commissioners court, road and building construction projects, county departments, marriages, and county health and safety issues. They include information on civil defense, the acquisition of ferry boats to run between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County Memorial Hospital, oil and gas exploration in Galveston County, the creation and abolition of county school districts, pollution in Galveston Bay, storm damage following hurricanes, and tax collection.

The county judges maintained extensive records for two special projects undertaken by Galveston County: construction of the Galveston seawall and seawall extension, and construction of the Texas City seawall and levee, known as the Texas City dike. Records relating to these projects include correspondence and information files, proposals, contracts, blueprints, maps, reports, and legislation.

Arrangement of the Records

The records are arranged roughly alphabetically by subject, then chronologically.


Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, names or other identifying information of patients, students, or residents in eleemosynary facilities (Texas Health and Safety Code, Sections 576.005 and 595.001), and the privacy of medical records (Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 181.001, et seq), where noted an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).

The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (director.librarian@tsl.texas.gov), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas county agencies are not copyrighted. County records also include materials received by, not created by, county agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the Archives when reviewing photographic materials.

Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
County government--Texas--Galveston County.
County officials and employees--Texas--Galveston County.
Local government--Texas--Galveston County.
Elections--Texas--Galveston County.
Marriage records--Texas--Galveston County.
School districts--Texas--Galveston County--Elections.
Pictorial works--Texas--Galveston County.
Galveston (Tex.).
Galveston County (Tex.)--History.
Galveston County (Tex.)--Officials and employees.
Galveston County (Tex.)--Politics and government.
Document Types:
Photographs--Texas--Galveston County.
Administrative records--Texas--Galveston County.
Administrative reports--Texas--Galveston County.
Minutes (administrative records)--Texas--Galveston County.
Correspondence--Texas--Galveston County.
Bids (documents)--Texas--Galveston County.
Blueprints (reprographic copies)--Texas--Galveston County.
Bonds (negotiable instruments)--Texas--Galveston County.
Contracts--Texas--Galveston County.
Maps (documents)--Texas--Galveston County.
Proposals--Texas--Galveston County.
Administering claims.
Administering county government.
Administering expenditures.
Administering elections.
Administering revenue.
Administering taxation.

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
Galveston County Treasurer's Office records, 1870-1963, bulk 1901-1963, 12.41 cubic ft. (including 67 volumes) [See the series Financial records, 1870-1959, 8.81 cubic ft. (including 39 volumes)].
Galveston County Tax Assessor-Collector's Office records, 1865-1878, 1884-1959, 1961-1964, 1980, 31.68 cubic ft. (including 122 volumes) [See the series Assessment rolls, 1865-1878, 1899-1900, 1906, 1930, 1950, 1.53 cubic ft. (including 5 volumes); and Delinquent tax records, 1884-1959, 1961, 1963, 26.7 cubic ft. (including 104 volumes)].
Galveston County Auditor's Office records, 1893-1960, undated, bulk 1905-1960, 39.04 cubic ft. (including 170 volumes) [See the series Claims, expenditure, and payment records, 1905-1955, undated, 5.73 cubic ft. (including 13 volumes); Records of contracts, proposals, and bids, 1905-1958, undated, 10.71 cubic ft. (including 16 volumes); Seawall construction records, 1902-1959, 2.12 cubic ft. (including 9 volumes); and Texas City dike construction records, 1935-1948, 0.75 cubic ft.].
Galveston County Clerk's Office records, 1838-1858, 1867-1978, undated, 65.74 cubic ft. (258 volumes) [See the series Administrative records, 1870-1905, 1911-1955, undated (19 volumes); and Marriage records, 1932-1933 (1 volume)].
Galveston County Office of Superintendent of Schools records, 1892-1918, 1921-1971, undated, bulk 1925-1971, 15.42 cubic ft. (including 10 volumes) [See the series County superintendent records, 1897-1899, 1911-1918, 1922-1934, 0.68 cubic ft. (including 3 volumes)].
Galveston County records available on microfilm, 151 microfilm reels [See the series Marriage records, 1838-1907, 9 microfilm reels].

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Galveston County Judge's Office records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 2011/438, 2015/074

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by Galveston County in 1980 and were initially housed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. They were transferred to the Sam Houston Regional Library & Research Center in Liberty, Texas, on December 19-20, 2003. On July 20 and August 18, 2011, the records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

The boxes of Galveston County records brought from Liberty were removed from accession number 2011/438 and given a new accession number, 2015/074, on December 10, 2014, for the purposes of control and numbering.

Processing Information

Collection processed and DACS-compliant EAD finding aid created by Teri E. Flack, volunteer, March 2017

Appraisal Information

These records were appraised and determined to be archival in February 2017.

Detailed Description of the Records

Galveston County Judge's Office records, 1913-1965, bulk 1940-1960,
10 cubic ft. (including 4 volumes)

2015/074-50 Annual accounting: compilations of annual expenditures by department-summaries, lists, notes, 1929-1935, 1939
Annual accounting: lunacy cases-notes, receipts, payments, 1935
[Note: Folder contains possibly excepted information: names of patients in eleemosynary institutions.]
Annual accounting: registers of annual expenditures, 1936-1941
Attorney General's opinions, 1939-1959
Birth certificates: correspondence, 1947-1960
[Note: Folder contains possibly excepted information: birth certificates.]
Petitions to obtain birth certificates, 1960-1962
Bond issues: information, 1955
Budget information, 1932-1943
Causeway: correspondence, 1944-1962
Civil Defense:
Civil Defense Advisory Committee, 1955-1958
Information, 1955-1956
Information, 1956
Information, 1957
Correspondence, 1957
2015/074-51 Information, 1958
Information, 1959-1960
"Operation Rebound Final Report," 1959
Correspondence, 1961-1962
Information about survival guides and fallout suits, 1958-1961
News clippings about preparation, 1961
Promotional materials-preparing for disasters and bomb blasts, 1956
Commissioners Court: resolutions, orders, 1922-1935
Commissioners Court: general
2015/074-52 Commissioners Court: minutes
January 1959-June 1959
July 1959-December 1959
January 1960-June 1960
July 1960-December 1960
January 1961-June 1961
July 1961-December 1961
January 1962-June 1962
July 1962-December 1962
January 1963-June 1963
July 1963-December 1963
2015/074-53 Construction projects:
Highway 124 from Port Bolivar to High Island, 1933-1935
Public Works Administration bituminous surfaced roads, 1934
[2 folders]
Public Works Administration improvements to public roads:
Contract documents, August 1938
Contracts, payment vouchers, correspondence, 1938
Works Progress Administration Camp Wallace Road improvements:
Contracts, purchase orders, 1941
Receipts, employee forms, requisitions, 1941
Employee work records, inventory report, 1941
Transmittal letters, reports on sponsors material, 1941
Correspondence, 1941
[2 folders]
Highway 75 information: correspondence, agreements, blueprints, 1944-1949
County courthouse and jail: design, financing, drawings, blueprints, minutes, federal funds forms, bond correspondence, architect correspondence, 1945-1949
S Road relocation: U.S. Army correspondence, 1947-1949
2015/074-54 Dickinson county agents building: bid specifications, blueprints, 1949
Dickinson street improvements: correspondence, blueprints, 1949
County public health center in La Marque:
Contracts, correspondence, 1955-1960
Estimates, blue prints, contracts, 1958-1959
Drawing of proposed public health center, 1959
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Dedication ceremony, 1960
County office building in Texas City:
Blueprints, materials list, 1958
Bonds, correspondence, bids, contracts, 1958
Artist's rendering of building, construction workers, finished building, 1958
[includes 3 black-and-white photographs]
County jail: bonds, blueprints, correspondence, bid specifications, cost estimates, 1959-1960
County administration, 1928-1933
County airport: correspondence, 1952
County Certificate of Title Department: financial reports, 1941-1945
County employees retirement system:
Correspondence, annual reports, financial reports, minutes, 1947-1950
Correspondence, annual reports, financial reports, minutes, 1951-1954
Annual reports, 1959-1961
County engineers: contracts, bid specifications, blueprints, 1948-1950
County health department: correspondence, reports, information about hiring of director, 1963
[includes 1 black & white photograph]
County health unit: budgets, correspondence, 1943-1954
County health unit: reports, statistics, 1955-1963
2015/074-55 County Home for the Aged: correspondence, 1948-1956
County judge matters:
Information and correspondence, 1946-1954
Information and correspondence, 1955-1956
Information and correspondence, 1957-1958
Information and correspondence, 1959
Information and correspondence, 1960-1962
Dickinson: incorporation election, 1958
Drainage program: correspondence, 1951-1952
Election returns, 1948-1949
Ferry boats:
Blueprints, 1925
Bids and purchase documents, 1934-1936
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Correspondence and agreements, 1934-1937
Bids and purchase documents, 1934, 1938
Fort Travis ferry channel: dredging correspondence, 1930
Fort Travis: correspondence, 1949
Galveston County Memorial Hospital:
Background materials, maps, laws, rules, 1947-1949
Correspondence, 1954-1960
"Hospital Need Determination and Expansion Program," 1956
Board minutes, 1963
Financial statements and report on examination, 1964
2015/074-56 Galveston County Navigation District #1: correspondence, Attorney General's opinion, transcript of organizational proceedings, 1955 bond issue, 1944-1945, 1950, 1955
Guardianship matters: correspondence, orders, applications, 1947, 1951, 1953
Gulf Coast Cattle Sales: quarterly reports, 1953-1956
Gulf Freeway: opening ceremonies, 1952
Hurricane Audrey: photographs of damage in Gilchrist; photo service envelop, October 1957
[includes 48 black-and-white photographs]
Information file: notes, information, newspaper clippings-various topics, 1916-1917
Insurance: proposals, analysis, policies, correspondence, 1948, 1953, 1962
Intracoastal canal: correspondence with Highway Department, lists of deeds acquired and tracts of land condemned from property owners, 1931-1932
Jury matters: civil-County Court, 1945-1962
Jury matters: criminal-correspondence, dockets, 1947-1963
La Marque incorporation election: petition, 1948-1955
Cause No. 48617 C.H. Niemann vs. County of Galveston, et al., 1927-1932
Todd Shipyards Corp. vs. Texas Employment Commission and Andrew Ochoa and Earl Holcomb-findings of fact and conclusions of law, briefs, memorandum of authorities, 1950
Cause No. 17500 Fred Linton vs. Sam Schankey, 1955
Legislature: correspondence, 1959
Louis Levin: correspondence, photograph of Greek cemetery in Galveston, 1962-1965
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Marriage: Consent/permission for orphans to marry, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1920, 1923
Mosquito Control District: correspondence, reports, 1949-1955
2015/074-57 Mosquito Control District: correspondence, photograph of crop duster airplane spraying field, 1956-1961
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Oaths and appointments: cotton field appraisers and special judges, 1917, 1919, 1921
Oil and gas exploration and development: petitions and orders, 1947-1949
Old Federal Office Building purchase: correspondence, 1954
Physically handicapped children: applications and correspondence regarding medical care and hospitalization, 1960-1962
[Note: Folder contains possibly excepted information: names of patients in eleemosynary facilities and patient medical records.]
Pollution information:
Map of Texas population trends, 1940-1950
Correspondence, 1947-1954
"Preliminary Report on Shellfish Producing Waters in the Galveston Area," 1950
"Progress Report: Galveston County Pollution Survey," 1950
"Galveston County Pollution Survey: Progress Report," 1951
Postwar Planning, 1949
Probate matters: correspondence, 1946-1947, 1951-1953
Release of deceased remains to University of Texas State Medical College, 1932
School districts:
Election petitions, candidates, correspondence, 1950
Reports of receipts and disbursements, 1927-1935
Dickinson and San Leon election to consolidate: order, petition, correspondence, 1948
High Island election to incorporate: petition, correspondence, oaths of office, 1946-1948
Hitchcock trustee election, 1949
Kemah election to raise school tax rate, 1946, 1948
La Marque election to incorporate: correspondence, petition, abstract of title to land, 1943-1944, 1949
La Marque and Hitchcock election to consolidate: correspondence, 1954
Santa Fe election to incorporate: correspondence, election notice, election order, 1948
Santa Fe election to abolish school district: correspondence, petitions, Attorney General's opinion, 1950
State Department of Health-Bureau of Vital Statistics: correspondence, statistics, 1927-1935
State Highway Department: maintenance-copies of claims settled and disposed of, 1926
State Highway Department: correspondence, 1927
Storm damage: courthouse and county park auditorium in League City-claims and payments, July 1943
Storm damage: courthouse and county jail claims and insurance approvals, August 1947
Tax collection: delinquencies, 1927
Tax collection: delinquencies and assessments, 1932-1933
Tax re-allocation election: petition, order, notice, interview transcript, 1949
2015/074-58 Seawall: financial reports, correspondence, blueprints, 1918-1927
Seawall construction projects:
Public Works Administration resurfacing Seawall Blvd., 1935-1938
Public Works Administration seawall ramps: correspondence, minutes, contracts, budgets, payment vouchers, 1938
Public Works Administration seawall ramps: contracts, public notices, budgets, correspondence, contract changes, 1939
Seawall extension:
Draft contract, 1933
Information, 1944-1947
Brief of Galveston County for Rivers and Harbors Commission hearing, 1945
"Extension of the Galveston Seawall for the Protection of Galveston Army Air Field and Adjacent Area," 1945
Survey of proposed extension, May 1947
Remarks to Board for Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, 1948
Survey of proposed alignment, 1949
Information, 1948-1949
Letter from Secretary of Army regarding Galveston harbor and channel, 1949
Public Law 516, 81st Congress, 1950
"History of Galveston Seawall," 1951
correspondence, orders, minutes, 1950-1954
Right of way map, 1950
Map of Galveston Bay channels and jetties, 1950
Survey of site topography, 1951
Specimen seawall refunding bond, Series 1951, 1951
"Extension of Galveston Seawall" by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1952
H.R. 4974, 83rd U.S. Congress, 1953
Program for dedication ceremony, 1953
Prepared statement to Sub-Committee on Army Civil Functions, U.S. Senate, 1954
Specimen seawall refunding bond, Series 1954, 1954
Prepared statement to Sub-Committee on Army Civil Functions, U.S. Senate, 1955
Information, 1956-1958
Correspondence: Galveston Chamber of Commerce to U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Public Works, 1957
Plan for extension, 1958
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Prepared statements for Sub-Committee on Public Works, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, 1958
Commissioners court orders, 1958
Condemnation proceedings, 1958
Detailed project schedule, 1958
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: correspondence regarding "Right of Entry Forms," 1958
Standing committees of 86th Congress, 1959
Seawall extension: photographs of beach structures
[includes 2 black-and-white photographs]
[includes 5 black-and-white photographs]
[includes 5 black-and-white photographs]
[includes 5 black-and-white photographs]
[includes 4 black-and-white photographs]
2015/074-59 Texas City dike:
Correspondence, notes, reports, 1945-1949
Construction plans, budgets, 1946-1956
Congressional reports, 1949-1958
Correspondence, notes, reports, 1952-1955
Records of experience, 1955
"Storm and Tide Protection for Texas City, Texas," 1955
Correspondence, notes, bond issue, 1956-1958
Aerial view of intersection of Hwy 146 and County Rd 341, 1957
[includes 2 black-and-white photographs]
Photographs of refinery tanks, 1957
[includes 2 black-and-white photographs]
"Survey of Texas City and Vicinity, Texas (Storm Protection)" by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1957
Bond issue specimens, notices, 1958
Congressional testimony, 1959-1960
Correspondence, notices, 1959-1961
Map of Texas City and proposed dike, 1961
[includes 1 black-and-white photograph]
Plans, correspondence, bond proposal, notes, "Analysis of the Increase in the Texas City Hurricane Flood Protection Project Cost," 1962-1963
Tin smelter: correspondence about drainage, 1950
Tuberculosis: correspondence about sanatorium applications, 1959-1963
[Note: Folder contains possibly excepted information: names of patients in eleemosynary facilities.]
U.S. Representative Bob Nesbit: correspondence, 1946-1952
Voting machines: information, 1947-1951
West Galveston: incorporation, 1949