CREATION OF HAMILTON COUNTY
Seventh Legislative Session of the State of Texas
22 January, 1858
The following limits, towit: Beginning at the North west
corner of Bosque county, on the South line of
Erath county; thence with said South line,
South 60 degrees West, to the South west corner of Erath county; thence 20
East, six miles; thence South 60 West to the East line of Brown county;
thence south 30 East to a point South 60 West from the North west corner
of Coryell county; thence North 60 East to the North west corner of
Coryell county; thence following the North line of Coryell and the West
line of Bosque county to the beginning shall constitute the county of
Hamilton, named in honor of the late Gen. James Hamilton. The county seat
thereof shall bear the same name.
Hamilton County, located in Central
Texas, is actually the second county named Hamilton in Texas;
however, it is the only Hamilton County to be organized as
such. Both counties were named to honor Gen. James Hamilton for his
participation in the financial support of the Republic of Texas.
JAMES." The Handbook of Texas Online
first Hamilton County was created 2 February, 1842, by the Sixth
Congress of the Republic of Texas. The Sixth Congress passed an
act to divide Montgomery and Houston Counties in southeast Texas
so that two additional counties would be created for "judicial
and other purposes." "It included the north half of what is now
Walker County, the east portion of Madison County, and parts of Houston,
Trinity, and Polk counties; Cincinnati was made the county seat. Hamilton
County was abolished by the Spring Session of the Texas Supreme Court in
the Stockton v. Montgomery decision which declared judicial counties
created by the Texas Congress were unconstitutional."- -Oran Jo
Pool, Nov. 19, 1954
COUNTY (JUDICIAL)." The Handbook of Texas Online
The Second Hamilton County
COUNTY." The Handbook of Texas Online
Sixteen years later, on January 22, 1858, what is now Hamilton
County was sliced from Comanche, Bosque, and Lampasas
Counties by the Legislature of the State of Texas. The county
was organized August 2, 1858, and the county seat of Hamilton was
soon surveyed. Only one family, the Ezekiel "Zeke" Manning
family, lived at the site selected for the town of Hamilton.
Mrs. Manning was the first white woman ever to spend a night in Hamilton.
The Mannings from Perry County, MO, had arrived in 1855 in
an ox cart and initially camped at the site now occupied by St. Mary’s
Episcopal Church. Mr. Manning built a "tavern" on the
southwest corner of the square (now the at the intersection of HWY 281 and
HWY 36. The square had not been laid off, and there was a big chaparral
thicket where the courthouse now stands. Mr. Manning helped
organize the county of which he was the first sheriff being appointed by Governor
Sam Houston. Also appointed were
Chief Justice (County
Judge)--James Monroe Rice
County Commissioner--Henry C. Standefer, and
County Clerk--Isaac Skelton Standefer.
The first elected county officials on 2 August, 1858,
Chief Justice (County Judge)--James Monroe Rice
County Treasurer--Jesse Jones Griffith
Assessor and Collector--R. B. Griffith
County Clerk--Isaac Skelton Standefer.
County Commissioners--Henry C. Standefer and Noah
Isaac Standefer issued the
first marriage license in Hamilton County to Joel Baggett
and Emily J. Ferrell.
Most of the inhabitants of the new county lived on the Leon
River near what is now known as the Evergreen
and or the Pulltight community and
they wanted the county seat to be located at the site of the future Rock
House near the Leon River. Fear of losing Priddy, Center
City, and the western part of the county contributed to the acceptance
of a more centrally located site. In creating Hamilton County, the Texas
Legislature had stipulated that both the county and the county seat
would be named Hamilton, and that the town of Hamilton would
be within five miles of the geographic center of the county.
M. McIlhaney offered sixty
acres of land "beginning at a point where the Burch hotel now
stands and extending to the F. C. Williams home, and from the Presbyterian
Church street [College Street--across the street from and south of St.
Mary’s Episcopal Church] to where the railroad tract now runs on the
east [Railroad Street.] This was the edge of the timberland, and
the beginning of the prairie."
Severe droughts in 1856 and in 1858 increased the
hardships and dangers faced by the first brave souls who ventured into the
soon-to-be Hamilton County. A smallpox epidemic in 1863 took
the lives of many early pioneers. In 1877 frosts occurred every month
with the exception of July and August. The frost on 10 June, 1877,
killed all of the corn crops. There was no rain in Hamilton County
in 1886, and none in 1887 until August. The years of 1917, 1918, and
brought a drought to Hamilton County. The drought of the 1950's was
broken with the flood in Hamilton on May, 1957.
By 1871 residents on the Leon River were pressing
for the county seat to be moved to the Leon River. On 31 January,
1871, a petition was sent to the state legislature on behalf of both the
county and the town of Hamilton to leave the county seat where it
was. If the county seat were moved, it would have been ten miles from the
center of the county instead of four miles north of the county’s
Also in 1871--July 17, that the first District Court was
organized in Hamilton County. J. P. Ousterhout, was the first Judge
of the 34th Judicial District. James B. Boyd was district attorney;
Isaac Hollingsworth Steen was district clerk, and Capt.
Frederick Browder Gentry was foreman of the grand jury.
Dangers from Indian attacks prevailed through the
In 1881 the residents of Hamilton County learned
that the State Legislature was considering forming a new county
from the counties of Hamilton, Lampasas, Comanche, and Brown.
Both the Commissioners Court and the citizens of the county sent petitions
opposing the loss of any Hamilton County land to a new county.
Despite the protests Mills County was organized 15 March, 1887,
from the above named counties. Before Mills County was formed, the
citizens of the southern portion of Hamilton County had become
disgruntled with being so far from the countyseat. After the courthouse
burned 2 February, 1886, these citizens petitioned for an election to
consider relocating the countyseat to "Pegtown," a
proposed town eight miles south of Hamilton near Shive. To
preserve Hamilton as the countyseat of Hamilton County, the
Commissioners Court negotiated with the residents along the southern
border of the county to move the Hamilton County line north
seven miles from Sims Creek south of Center City to McGirk.
HAMILTON COUNTY AIRPORTS
HAMILTON COUNTY BASIN
HAMILTON COUNTY CEMETERIES
HAMILTON COUNTY CHURCHES
PLACES: TOWNS, VILLAGES, COMMUNITIES
SCHOOLS IN HAMILTON COUNTY
HAMILTON COUNTY CLIFF
HAMILTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT, 1912
HAMILTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS & OFFICIALS 1916
COURTHOUSES of HAMILTON COUNTY
CSA PENSIONS APPLICATIONS FILED IN HAMILTON COUNTY
HISTORICAL MARKERS IN HAMILTON COUNTY
HAMILTON, JAMES, GEN.
LAND SURVEY ABSTRACT INDICES
SHERIFFS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, TXHERIFFS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, TX
HAMILTON COUNTY MINUTE DETACHMENT OF MOUNTED TEXAS RANGERS
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR VETERANS FROM HAMILTON COUNTY
WORLD WAR I
1867 HAMILTON COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION LIST
Lawmen murdered while on
A TRIBUTE TO LAWMEN
DAVENPORT, SGT. STEVE
GIBSON, DEPUTY SHERIFF AUDIE LEE