Texas (Republic). Department of State:
An Inventory of Department of State Seat of Government Papers at the Texas State Archives, 1836-1842
On October 9, 1837 by a joint resolution of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, five commissioners, jointly elected by the two houses, were to receive proposals and examine sites for the permanent seat of government. This commission reported back to Congress with a number of possible sites. On January 14, 1839 five commissioners were again elected by Congress and the search was narrowed to "some point between the rivers Trinidad (Trinity) and Colorado, and above the old San Antonio Road." The town was to be called Austin. On April 13, 1839, the commissioners reported to President Lamar their selection of Waterloo on the Colorado as the seat of government.
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. On May 9, 1846, the 1st Legislature approved an act “to define the duties of Secretary of State,” which among other things required the Secretary of State 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."
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."
(Sources include: the Secretary of State Republic of Texas records appraisal report (December 1998); and the enabling legislation (1836-1887).)
The Congress of the Republic of Texas created a commission of five members to receive proposals and examine sites for the permanent seat of government; the Department of State became the custodian of the records of that commission. These records consist of reports (and related records) to Congress and the President regarding the choices for the seat of government, and proposals from individuals or towns seeking to become the seat of government. Dates covered are 1836-1842. Seat of government papers were created during the process of considering and selecting the site of the permanent capitol of the Republic of Texas.
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.).
(Identify the item), Texas Department of State seat of government papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1905/007
These records were transferred to the Texas Department of Insurance, Statistics, and History (a predecessor of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) by the Texas Secretary of State on November 10, 1905.
Processed by State Archives staff, dates unknown
Finding aid encoded by Tony Black in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project, June 2010
Authority name and other changes by Tony Black, February 2011.
Texas State Archives staff completed an appraisal of the Texas Secretary of State holdings already in the custody of the Texas State Archives in December 1998. Fifty-seven series of these holdings were determined to be archival, including seat of government papers. The complete appraisal report (in two parts: Republic of Texas records, and non-Republic records) is available for consultation online at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosrepublic.html and http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosstate.html , and also in the search room of the Texas State Archives.
Detailed Description of the Records