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Hamilton County was organized in 1858 and the first body of county officials was elected. It was necessary to have a place or a court house where the business affairs of the new county and its officials could be shown proper consideration and dignity. In the sequence of events the first court house in Hamilton county was built. After numerous consultations and interviews it seems to be the consensus of opinion that the first court house was situated where Grant Bros. Grocery store now stands and that it was built of clapboards or split logs. The date of the building seems to be unknown but it was in use until the close of the Civil War when it was destroyed by fire. The official home of the county was then moved to a building that occupied the place where the old Eli Terry livery stable stood at a later date. It remained there until the increase of the county and town population led the county officials to determine it advisable to build a new court house. A site was chosen in what was considered the center of the future town. The second court house of Hamilton County was built of county stone and was a two story building with the necessary conveniences of that early day. This first real court house was constructed by the building firm of Martin-Burns-Johnson. It was the most prideful possession of the Hamilton County citizenship.

In the early 80s [1880's] fire again destroyed the courthouse. Most of the official papers were burned at the same time. The sheriff, county judge, and other county officials moved to the old stone jail. The City Bakery now occupies part of the old building. The remaining offices found quarters wherever they could until another courthouse was built. It was ready for occupancy about 1886. This building was also of Hamilton County stone and complete in conveniences in use at that time. This third courthouse was built by the firm of Lovel-Hood and McCloud at a cost of about $31,000.

With the passing of time the county officials felt the need of larger quarters for county and judiciary affairs. After due consultations and considerations with builders and architects, the plans were submitted by E. M. Mills of Brownwood were accepted and the contract let for construction to J. C. Ray and Son of Dallas. They now own the marble works of Hamilton and are residents of this city. The old courthouse was entirely dismantled, leaving nothing but the four outer walls. New wings and porch towers were added on the north and south ends of the building. Enlarged entrances on the east and west sides with larger passageways through the lower floor were added. While the entire courthouse is fireproof, the south wing houses the vaults which are themselves of fireproof construction. They furnish rooms to care for the county records for a century hence, according to reliable estimates. In addition, the lower floor houses all county offices and the county court room.

The district court room, the witness rooms, jury rooms, and entrances occupy the entire second floor.

The heating plant, rest rooms and sewage are in the north end of the basement and the south end is used to house old records, not used any more. All the basement excavation work was done by day laborers. The contract price for the building was $165,000 but when completed the cost price was a few hundred dollars higher because of a few additional details that were added from time to time.

Hamilton now has one of the most modern and best equipped small town court houses in the state. Its size and efficient in every detail makes it unnecessary for another court house to be built for many years to come. The county court official body is headed by Judge P. M. Rice were [sic] the county commissioners: W. D. Snell, S. A. Clark, C. C. C. Newton, and O. R. Barker.


The Hamilton County News, Vol. IV, Number 11--Section Three

Historical and Trading Expansion Issue

W. F. Billingslea, Editor-Publisher

Subscription Price ONE YEAR ..$1.00

June 29, 1934



1. September, 1863

2, March 17, 1877

3, February 2, 1886


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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress