Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Secretary of State:

An Inventory of Secretary of State Executive Record Books at the Texas State Archives, 1835-1917



Overview

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State.
Title: Secretary of State executive record books
Dates: 1835-1917
Abstract: Each constitution of the State of Texas has required the Texas Secretary of State to keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Texas Governor and to provide these to the legislature when required. Types of records contained in executive record books include correspondence (mostly outgoing) of the Presidents of the Republic of Texas and Governors of the state, primarily with other Texas and U.S. officials; inaugural and valedictory addresses; executive messages; Indian treaties; proclamations; appointments and resignations; passports; pardons and remissions; extraditions; rewards; reports of state agencies; etc. Some Department of State (later Secretary of State) records are also present, consisting primarily of election returns. These records comprise the executive record books maintained by the Texas Secretary of State, dating 1835-1917.
Quantity: 15.18 cubic ft. (originals), 14 reels of microfilm (duplicates)
Language: These materials are written predominately in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The Texas Constitution of 1845 required the Secretary of State to "keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor" and to provide these to the legislature when required. This duty (and others) were reiterated in the act "to define the duties of Secretary of State," approved May 9, 1846. This authority was reconfirmed by the Constitutions of 1866 (Article V, Section 17), 1869 (Article IV, Section 17) and 1876 (Article IV, Section 21), and subsequent amendments.

The Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor's (a two-year term at first, a four-year term since 1974). The office was first created by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836 (Article VI, Section 10), and has been continued by each succeeding Constitution.

The only duty of the Secretary of State specified by the Constitution of 1836 was to receive "returns of all elections for officers who are to be commissioned by the President" (General Provisions, Section 2). The 1st Congress approved a Joint Resolution on December 13, 1836 "defining the duties of the heads of departments of the government." However, the duties of this cabinet (composed of the Secretaries of State, War, Navy, and Treasury, and the Attorney General) were expressed in extremely vague terms, i.e.: "to conform to and execute the instructions of the president, whether general or particular; and to give respectively and collectively, such needful aid and counsel whenever required so to do by the chief magistrate of the republic, as may be requisite to a firm, wholesome and harmonious administration of the government." Much of our knowledge of what the Secretary of State did during the Republic period derives from the existing records themselves. Although never so stated in law, obviously a major function of the Secretary of State under the Republic of Texas was diplomatic, a function unique to Texas' history as an independent nation.

During the next nine years of the Republic's existence, Congressional acts added little in the way of explicit duties: to receive from the chief justices of the county courts "a description of their county boundaries, and such other information and observations relative to the same, as they may conceive conducive to the convenience of their citizens" (December 17, 1836); to furnish Texan consuls with instruction for the proper regulation of foreign trade (December 18, 1837); to contract for the printing of the laws and journals of the Republic of Texas, and to arrange for their distribution (December 18, 1837 and later dates); to contract for the translation and compilation of Republic laws into Spanish ( "the Castilian language") (December 18, 1837 and January 12, 1842); to become the depository for a Library purchased for the Republic of Texas (January 24, 1839); to create a Patent Office, as a bureau of the office of Secretary of State, and to grant patent rights "for any new and useful art, machine, instrument or composition of matter, liberal arts, sciences or literature, books, maps or charts, or any new and useful improvement of the same . . . invented or discovered" (January 28, 1839); to draw from the war department funds appropriated to run a boundary line between the Republic of Texas and the United States (November 26, 1840); to assume the duties of the Postmaster General, appointing and supervising a clerk for a bureau called the "General Post Office," and to receive from the former Postmaster General all records of the abolished Post Office Department (January 18, 1841); to issue writs of election to fill certain vacancies in counties (December 7, 1841).

Except for its diplomatic duties, most of the functions of the Secretary of State under the Republic were apparently continued during the period of early statehood following annexation. An act of the 1st Legislature (approved May 9, 1846) "to define the duties of Secretary of State" included the following: to maintain a register of all official acts of the governor, and to provide the same to the legislature when required (this duty had also been spelled out by the first state Constitution, 1845); to keep a complete register of all officers appointed and elected in the state; to commission all such appointed and elected officers when not otherwise provided for by law; to record depositions and affirmations required by law to be made by resident aliens wanting to hold real estate in Texas; to arrange and preserve all books, maps, parchments, records, documents, deeds, conveyances, and other papers belonging to the State, that have been or may be properly deposited there, and sealed with the state seal (which copies shall be considered admissible as evidence in the state's courts of law); to attend every legislative session to receive bills which have became laws, and to bind and maintain such bills and enrolled joint resolutions in the office of the Secretary of State; to deliver a certified copy of these laws (with indices and marginal notes) to the public printer, and to edit and correct them after printing; to distribute the printed laws and journals to a list of state, local, and federal officials specified; and to furnish forms to county election officials for election returns, and to receive certified election returns from these officials for members of the legislature (this last duty included in "an act regulating elections," approved May 11, 1846).

An act of February 11, 1854 created a Board of Commissioners composed of the Secretary of State, the Comptroller, and the Attorney General, "to superintend the arranging and filing of the archives of the late Republic of Texas and of the State Legislature, and also the recording of the Journals of the said Congress and State Legislature ... to be deposited in the General Land-office of the State." An act of December 14, 1863 made the Secretary of State "the custodian of the records of the Senate and House of Representatives." And an act of March 25, 1887 provided that "the entire archives of the late Republic of Texas, ... together with the records, books, and journals of said Congress" would be "deposited in the Office of the Secretary of State," and "declared to be Archives of said office."


Scope and Contents of the Records

Each constitution of the State of Texas has required the Texas Secretary of State to keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Texas Governor and to provide these to the legislature when required. Types of records contained in executive record books include correspondence (mostly outgoing) of the Presidents of the Republic of Texas and Governors of the state, primarily with other Texas and U.S. officials; inaugural addresses; executive messages; Indian treaties; proclamations; appointments and resignations; passports; pardons and remissions; extraditions; rewards; reports of state agencies; etc. Some Department of State (later Secretary of State) records are also present, consisting primarily of election returns, plus a couple of annual reports. These records comprise the executive record books maintained by the Texas Secretary of State, dating 1835-1917. Republic of Texas figures represented include Presidents David G. Burnet, Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and Anson Jones; Thomas J. Rusk; Thomas Toby; and Robert Triplett. Records of governors' actions are present from each administration covering the years 1846-1917. The earlier volumes contain a variety of materials, as listed above, while the books from 1887-1917 contain mostly proclamations and pardons. Of particular interest is Rusk's oration given at the burial of the Goliad victims and the text of the $200,000 loan negotiated by Stephen F. Austin in New Orleans, found on reel 3472; and on reel 3474 is considerable material on the attempt to annex "Santa Fe County" prior to the Compromise of 1850. Correspondence in the late 1850s-1860s concerns frontier defense and other military affairs.

Executive record books were created to preserve a permanent record of the official acts and proceedings of the presidents of the Republic of Texas, and the governors of the state of Texas, whether through correspondence, addresses and messages, proclamations, etc.

Note: Some confusion may arise from the fact that the term Executive record book has also been applied to volumes that were exclusively dedicated to pardons and to rewards. When Executive record books (14 reels) were microfilmed, Pardon books (9 reels) and Reward books (3 reels) were also included, totaling 26 reels. To add to the confusion, volumes properly called Executive record books usually also contain pardon records and reward records; these have been described in separate finding aids, which can be linked from the Related records section later in this finding aid.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


 

Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged by their creator roughly chronologically.

Restrictions

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.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

These records are restricted due to their fragile physical condition, so researchers must use the microfilmed copies.

Microfilm readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Ask staff members for exact locations.


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:
Austin, Stephen F. (Stephen Fuller), 1793-1836.
Corporate Names:
Texas. President (1836 : Burnet)
Texas. President (1836-1838 : Houston)
Texas. President (1838-1841 : Lamar)
Texas. President (1841-1844 : Houston)
Texas. President (1844-1847 : Jones)
Texas. Governor.
Subjects:
Indians of North America--Texas--Treaties.
Immigrants--Texas.
Pardon--Texas.
Governors--Texas--Inaugural addresses.
Elections--Texas.
Presidents--Texas--Inaugural addresses.
Places:
Texas--History--Republic, 1836-1846.
Texas--History--1846-1950.
Texas--Politics and government--1836-1846.
Texas--Officials and employees--Selection and appointment.
Texas--Emigration and immigration.
Texas--Colonization.
Texas--Boundaries.
Santa Fe (N.M.)
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Politics and government--1835-1917.
Proclamations--Texas--Politics and government--1835-1917.
Election returns--Texas--Politics and government--1850-1917.
Reports--Texas--Politics and government--1849-1879.

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 clemency records, 1840, 1845-2009, 110.68 cubic ft., 168 reels of microfilm (originals), 22 reels of microfilm (duplicates) [especially Pardon registers, 1874-1900]
Texas Secretary of State fugitive records, 1837-1965, bulk 1875-1915, 83.13 cubic ft. (originals), 13 reels of microfilm (duplicates)
Texas Secretary of State records relating to passports issued by the Department of State, Republic of Texas, 1836-1845, 1855, 1858, 0.4 cubic ft.
Texas Department of State diplomatic correspondence, 1831-1832, 1835-1846, undated, 6.9 cubic ft., 3 reels of microfilm
Texas Secretary of State consular correspondence, 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846, 2.26 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State colonization records, 1820-1879, undated, bulk 1836-1845, 1.71 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State election registers (a.k.a. appointment registers), 1837-2007, 32.15 cubic ft. (originals), 36 reels microfilm (duplicates)
Texas Department of State, Republic of Texas election returns, 1835-1845, 3.06 cubic ft.
Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, State of Texas election returns (county-by-county), 1846-1984 (not inclusive), 176.55 cubic ft.
Records relating to Indian Affairs, 1825-1957.
Texas Governor [Related executive records can be found in the records of each governor.]
Texas Adjutant General's records [described in numerous finding aids].
Publications
Legislative Messages of the Chief Executives of Texas, 1835-1846 , Price Daniel and James C. Martin (eds.), Austin, Texas State Library, 3 volumes.
The Texas Indian Papers, 1825-1916, Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day (eds.), Austin, Pemberton Press, 1966, 5 volumes.
Official Correspondence of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, William C. Binkley (ed.), New York, D. Appleton-Century Co., 1936, 2 volumes.
Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins (ed. and comp.), Austin, Presidial Press, 1973, 10 volumes.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Secretary of State executive record books. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1932/002, 1938/008, 1968/094, 1990/158

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Secretary of State on September 28, 1932 and January 3, 1939; and by the Records Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on February 9, 1968 and June 21, 1990 (this last accession being the microfilm).

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff, various dates

Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project by Tony Black, June 2003

Links added and other changes by Tony Black, February 2011.

Appraisal Information

These records were appraised as archival by an in-house appraisal of Secretary of State (Republic of Texas) records on January 16, 1998. See that appraisal report online at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosrepublic.html#33 or in paper in the State Archives reading room.

Other Formats for the Records

The originals were microfilmed (on 35 mm microfilm) in 1990 by the Records Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The reels are available through interlibrary loan; contact your local librarian for details. They are also available for purchase (scroll down to Executive Record Books); contact the State and Local Records Management Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The following equivalency chart will be helpful in matching Archives reel numbers listed in this finding aid with TSLAC Catalog reel numbers:

Archives reel number TSLAC Catalog reel number
3472 353.91 T312E EX-1
3473 353.91 T312E EX-2
3474 353.91 T312E EX-3
3475 353.91 T312E EX-4
3476 353.91 T312E EX-5
3477 353.91 T312E EX-6
3478 353.91 T312E EX-7
3479 353.91 T312E EX-8
3480 353.91 T312E EX-9
3481 353.91 T312E EX-10
3482 353.91 T312E EX-11
3483 353.91 T312E EX-12
3484 353.91 T312E EX-13
3485 353.91 T312E EX-14


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Texas Secretary of State executive record books, 1835-1917,
15.18 cubic ft. (originals); 14 reels of microfilm (duplicates)

Provisional Government, 1835-1836
Reel
3472 Provisional Government letterbook, November 7, 1835-March 16, 1836:
Declaration of the People of Texas in General Convention Assembled
Plan and Powers of the Provisional Government
Ordinances and Decrees, Resolutions of the Consultation and General Council
Executive Ordinance establishing the ad interim government
Communications to the General Council and Governor Smith, communications referred to the General Council, and communications from the General Council, July 1835-March 1836
Presidents of the Republic of Texas, 1836-1845
Reel
3472 President David G. Burnet, January-October 1836:
Department of State outgoing correspondence, March 20-August 9, 1836
[pp. 1-48]
Department of State incoming correspondence, March 23-June 7, 1836
[pp. 57-79]
David G. Burnet outgoing correspondence, March 19-October 17, 1836
[pp. 83-176]
David G. Burnet incoming correspondence, March 4-November 3, 1836 and undated
[pp. 177-411; some 1838 correspondence is entered on pp. 343-344]
U.S. Commissioners and Texas Agency correspondence, January 14-June 17, 1836
[pp. 412-433]
Resignations, April 1-July 15, 1836
[pp. 434-438]
Correspondence, 1836
[pp. 439-511]
(The remainder of the volume is filled with a variety of correspondence, principally between the President or Secretary of State and Thomas Toby, Robert Triplett, Thomas J. Rusk. It includes a transcript of Rusk's oration at the burial of the Goliad victims, and the text of the $200,000 loan negotiated by Stephen F. Austin in New Orleans)
President David G. Burnet (provisional [actually, ad interim] government), March-October 1836:
Presidential messages to Congress, October [4]-22, 1836
[pp. 1-44]
Presidential addresses, proclamations, executive orders, March-October 1836
[pp. 45-95]
Presidents Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar, November 1, 1836-December 9, 1841
(proclamations and Indian treaties)
President Mirabeau B. Lamar, December 10, 1838-December 14, 1841
(letters sent, inaugural address, executive messages)
President Mirabeau B. Lamar: letterbook, February 10, 1840-June 5, 1841
(letters sent: President to Commissioners to Negotiate a Loan of Five Million Dollars)
Reel
3473 President Sam Houston (second term), December 13, 1841-December 9, 1844
(letters sent, addresses, executive messages, proclamations, orders)
President Sam Houston (second term), January 31, 1842-January 29, 1844
(colony contracts, proclamations)
President Anson Jones, December 9, 1844-February 19, 1846
(letters sent, valedictory speech, executive messages, appointments)
Governors of the State of Texas, 1846-1917
Reel
3473 Governor J. Pinckney Henderson, February 19-May 19, 1846
(description of inaugural ceremonies, inaugural address, executive messages, proclamations, orders, appointments, transfer of office to A. C. Horton)
Acting Governor A. C. Horton, May 19-November 10, 1846
(letters sent, correspondence between the executive and officers of the United States, appointments, restoration of office to J. Pinckney Henderson)
Governors J. Pinckney Henderson and A. C. Horton, February 8, 1846-November 11, 1847
(proclamations)
Governor George T. Wood, December 21, 1847-December 14, 1849
(Executive Department records: letters sent, inaugural and valedictory addresses, executive messages, proclamations, appointments, pardons)
(State Department records: letters sent, correspondence concerning public printing, letters concerning delinquent or incorrect returns for census or elections, official returns for electors for president and vice president (1848), 1848 statistical census of the population, resolutions of the Texas Senate and House requesting information from the governor or secretary of state)
Reel
3474 Governor P. H. Bell, Volume I, December 21, 1849-December 10, 1850
(letters sent [includes considerable material on the attempt to annex Santa Fe County], inaugural address, executive messages, proclamations, appointments, pardons, remissions of fines)
(election returns, seat of government, March 1850 [pp. 146-149]),
Governor P. H. Bell, Volume II, December 21, 1851-September 27, 1852
(inaugural address, executive messages, proclamations, appointments, pardons, rewards, extraditions)
Governors P. H. Bell, James W. Henderson, and E. M. Pease, December 31, 1849-March 2, 1854
(Executive Department: letters sent, proclamations, appointments, pardons, rewards, extraditions)
(Secretary of State: outgoing official correspondence, biennial report)
(election returns [pp. 54-59, 110-117, 178-183, 191-193, 254-261])
Reel
3475 Governor E. M. Pease, December 21, 1853-December 15, 1857
(inaugural ceremony and address, valedictory address, executive messages, appointments, pardons)
(election returns [pp. 277-282, 292-298, 436, 451, 459, 534-543, 548, 565, 570, 574, 599-601, 603, 610, 615-618, 647-651])
Governor H. R. Runnels, December 21, 1857-December 20, 1859
(Executive Department: inaugural and valedictory addresses, executive messages, proclamations, instructions, appointments, pardons, remissions of fines, rewards, extraditions)
(Department of State: census of the State of Texas as per returns for the year 1858 [printed, statistics only, attached, p. 443])
(election returns [pp. 83, 115-118, 181-190, 232, 297, 355-358, 388-391])
Reel
3476 Governor Sam Houston, December 21, 1859-December 26, 1860
(letters sent [principal topic of letters is frontier defense, some letters about the 1860 boundary survey and political matters; several letters feuding with Comptroller C. R. Johns]; executive messages, orders, authorization for transfers of railroad lands; broadside tipped in at page 48-49)
Governors Sam Houston and Edward Clark, December 27, 1859-November 1, 1861
(Executive Department: proclamations, appointments, passports, pardons, remissions of fines, rewards, extraditions, warrants)
(Department of State: election returns [pp. 89, 114-121, 147-150, 182, 222-223 (for ordinance of secession), 288, 322-327, 364-367])
Governor Edward Clark, March 29-October 22, 1861
(letters sent, principally concerning military affairs; executive messages)
Governor Francis R. Lubbock, November 7, 1861-January 24, 1863
(letters sent, principally concerning military affairs; addresses, executive messages, appointments)
Reel
3477 Governor Francis R. Lubbock, January 25-November 4, 1863
(valedictory address, executive messages, appointments)
Governor Francis R. Lubbock, November 8, 1861-November 5, 1863
(Executive Department: valedictory address, executive messages, appointments, pardons, remissions of fines, rewards)
(Department of State: election returns [pp. 21-24, 33-38, 72-73, 77, 108-114, 129, 170, 197, 202-207, 212-214, 216, 219, 249-251])
Governor Pendleton Murrah, November 6-December 23, 1863
(letterbook)
Governor Pendleton Murrah, November 5, 1863-January 19, 1865
(Executive Department: inaugural address, addresses, executive messages, proclamations, commissions, passports, pardons)
(Department of State: election returns [pp. 63, 104, 115, 124, 128-133])
Governor Pendleton Murrah, February 7-June 12, 1865
(Executive Department: addresses, appointments, passports, pardons, remissions of fines and bail bonds)
(Department of State: election returns [p. 16])
Governor A. J. Hamilton (Provisional Government), July 25, 1865-August 13, 1866
(Executive Department: addresses, executive messages, bonds and oaths, pardons, remissions of fines, arrests)
(Military Board report [pp. 94-119])
(Department of State: election returns [pp. 198-227])
Reel
3478 Governor J. W. Throckmorton, August 9, 1866-August 8, 1867
(letters sent [principally to Major General Charles Griffin, commander of the District of Texas, and with other federal military or political officials], inaugural address, summary of department status made upon his removal from office, executive messages, appointments)
Governor J. W. Throckmorton, August 13, 1866-August 8, 1867
(Executive Department: proclamations, appointments, passports, contracts, pardons, remissions of fines, rewards, extraditions)
(State Department: election returns [pp. 44-47]; Secretary of State report, August 8, 1867)
Governor J. W. Throckmorton, January 8-August 3, 1867
(letterbook, principally cover letters for enclosures)
Governor E. M. Pease, August 2, 1867-September 30, 1869
(Pease appointment, Throckmorton removal, executive messages, proclamations, appointments, removals from office, oaths of office, pardons, arrests, extraditions)
Reel
3479 Governors E. M. Pease and E. J. Davis, January 18-October 27, 1870
(Pease: correspondence, including copies of petitions and grand jury indictments, executive messages, pardons and remissions)
(Davis: letters sent [principally to J. J. Reynolds], recommendations for appointments or removals, recommendations for pardons)
(penitentiary report concerning convicts [pp. 523-528])
Governor Edmund J. Davis, Volume II, October 10, 1870-May 30, 1871
(correspondence, executive messages, appointments, rewards)
Reel
3480 Governors E. J. Davis and Richard Coke, January 8, 1870-February 9, 1874
(Executive Department: E. J. Davis appointment, proclamations, oaths of office, bonds, pardons, rewards, extraditions)
(State Department: election returns [pp. 715-726, 743-746, 789-790, 865-867, 939-942, 1019-1058, 1133, 1146-1147])
Reel
3481 Governors E. J. Davis and Richard Coke, June 20, 1873-July 9, 1875
(proclamations, appointments, commissions, passports, pardons and remissions, rewards)
(election returns [pp. 130-134, 449-455])
Governors Richard Coke and Richard B. Hubbard, January 15, 1874-January 14, 1879
(inaugural address, executive messages, appointments, financial receipts)
(Adjutant General report [pp. 62-65])
Reel
3482 Governors Richard Coke and Richard B. Hubbard, July 10, 1875-June 20, 1877
(proclamations, appointments, commissions, pardons, remissions, rewards)
(election returns [pp. 60, 706-721])
Governor Richard B. Hubbard, July 5, 1877-January 21, 1879
(proclamations, appointments, pardons, rewards)
(election returns [pp. 646-649])
Reel
3483 Governor Oran M. Roberts, January 21, 1879-July 11, 1879
(inaugural address, executive messages, appointments)
Governor Oran M. Roberts, January 28, 1879-June 13, 1881
(proclamations, commissions, pardons, rewards, extraditions)
(election returns [pp. 39, 480-484, 514-529])
Governors Oran M. Roberts, John Ireland, and L. Sullivan Ross, June 13, 1881-October 31, 1887
(executive messages, proclamations, cessions of land, contracts, pardons, rewards)
(election returns [pp. 136-149, 454-465, 478-491, 561-564])
Reel
3484 Governors L. Sullivan Ross through Thomas M. Campbell, February 7, 1887-November 11, 1907
(proclamations, pardons)
(election returns [pp. 28-32, 67, 188-189, 654-655])
Reel
3485 Governors Thomas M. Campbell, Oscar B. Colquitt, and James E. Ferguson: proclamations, January 6, 1908-February 14, 1917
(includes ceremonial, pardon, and quarantine proclamations; executive directives)
[Last part of reel is Pardons and remissions, 1874-1876]