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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Organization of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Civil court records, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated,

Criminal court records, 1897-1921, 1929-1931,

Registers of inquests, 1896-1898, 1900-1959, 1963-1964, undated,

Marriage registers, 1889-1910, 1912-1950, undated,

Tax assessment register, 1871,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas. Justice of the Peace (Galveston County):

An Inventory of Galveston County Justice of the Peace Records at the Texas State Archives, 1871, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated



Overview

Creator: Texas. Justice of the Peace (Galveston County)
Title: Galveston County Justice of the Peace records
Dates: 1871, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated
Abstract: The Congress of the Republic of Texas established Galveston County in 1838. The Constitutions of 1846 and 1876 established the county-level court system for all Texas counties, including the justice of the peace courts. The justices of the peace perform judicial and non-judicial functions. These records were created by various Galveston County justices of the peace and include civil and criminal court dockets, a fee book, and receipt books; inquest records; marriage records; and a register of tax assessments dating 1871, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, and undated.
Quantity: 57.82 cubic ft. (245 volumes)
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

All Texas counties derive their county officers and responsibilities from the Texas constitution and statutes enacted by the legislature. From the beginning of the Republic, Texas has required each county to elect justices of the peace. The Congress of the Republic of Texas created Galveston County in 1838, and the county was organized the following year. Justices of the peace were among the first judicial officials elected in Galveston County.

Each of Texas' constitutions and resulting statutes has assigned judicial and non-judicial functions to the justices of the peace. With a few exceptions, their responsibilities have varied little over time. Their judicial functions included presiding over the justice court – handling minor civil and criminal cases; performing the duties of a magistrate – conducting examining trials to determine whether an accused person should be charged with a crime; and after 1876, conducting inquests to determine cause of death. Their primary non-judicial function was authority to conduct marriage ceremonies; however, under the Reconstruction Constitution of 1869, justices of the peace briefly performed the duties of the tax assessor, assessing the value of the property in the county and determining the amount of tax due.

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, and designated the county judge as the presiding officer of the county. Re-established were the elected offices of county clerk, county tax assessor, county tax collector, and county treasurer, among others; however, the elected office of county coroner was eliminated. Justices of the peace continued to be elected by county voters. County commissioners were directed to divide the county into not less than four nor more than eight precincts, with each precinct electing one justice of peace. Galveston County commissioners divided Galveston County into multiple precincts, each with an elected justice. However, the Constitution also directed that in any precinct in which a city with a population greater than 8,000 was located, two justices were to be elected. Consequently, after the population of the city of Galveston exceeded 8,000, two justices were elected from Precinct 1 (identified as Precincts 1-A and 1-B) (Art. V, Sec. 18, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1876). The precinct was not subdivided into two discrete units. Both of the justices in Precinct 1 had jurisdiction throughout the entire precinct; however, they maintained separate caseloads and dockets.

The 1876 Constitution also established the jurisdiction of justice courts. The court had jurisdiction in civil cases where the amount in controversy was less than $200 and in criminal cases in which the maximum penalty or fine did not exceed $200. The Constitution also permitted the legislature by law to assign other responsibilities to the justices of the peace, and the legislature enacted statutes further defining the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace courts and the other responsibilities performed by justices. The legislature included justices in the definition of "magistrate," giving them the authority to handle preliminary matters relating to criminal cases, such as accepting complaints, issuing search and arrest warrants, fixing bail, and conducting examining trials, regardless of the level of the alleged crime. Since the office of county coroner had been eliminated, the legislature assigned to the justices the responsibility for conducting inquests and determining cause of death. The legislature extended the justices' civil authority to include forcible entry and detainer cases through which a landlord sought to evict a delinquent tenant, and in 1953, the legislature established small claims courts as part of the justice courts' jurisdiction. Justices continued to have authority to conduct marriage ceremonies.

The basic functions of the justices of the peace have not changed significantly. Justices still try minor civil and criminal cases, conduct examining trials, and marry couples. However, legislatures have modified slightly the jurisdictional amounts and responsibilities of the justices of the peace. Justices conduct inquests into the cause of death only in counties without a medical examiner, and the justice court's jurisdiction over civil matters has been increased to include cases where the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less (unless exclusive jurisdiction lies in district or county court).

(Sources include: 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 "Justice of the Peace" and "Governmental Organization and Records System." Several articles from the Handbook of Texas Online: "Galveston County" (Diana J. Kleiner), "Government" (Janice C. May), "Judiciary" (Paul Womack), "Justice of the Peace" (Dick Smith), and "Forensic Medicine" (Charles S. Petty) (Published by the Texas State Historical Association; accessed May 14-15, 2013). Inventory of County Records-Galveston County Courthouse, Volumes I and III, compiled by Diane Hill, et al (Austin: Texas State Library, 1980). 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 November 13, 2013). 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 November 13, 2013).)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

Records of the Galveston County Justices of the Peace reflect the judicial and administrative responsibilities of various justices of the peace who served in Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5, 6 and 7 of Galveston County, including civil dockets, forcible detainer dockets, small claims court dockets, fee and receipt books, misdemeanor criminal dockets, magistrate case dockets, inquest records, marriage records, and tax assessment lists. These records are in the form of handwritten and typed entries into journals, registers, and lists organized into five series: civil court records, criminal court records, registers of inquests, marriage registers, and tax assessment register. Dates covered are 1871, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, and undated.

Records include the civil dockets and other records of various justices of the peace who served in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5 and 6. Justices of the peace were required to maintain dockets of civil cases filed in the court. The types of dockets reflected in the records include civil dockets, forcible detainer dockets, small claims court dockets, filed dockets, and execution dockets. In addition, justices kept a fee book, recording the fees collected for civil cases, and a receipt book, recording the attorneys who removed case papers for review.

Records include the criminal dockets of various justices of the peace who served in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, and 1-B. Justices of the peace were required to maintain dockets of criminal cases. The types of dockets reflected in the records include misdemeanor criminal dockets, in which the case was tried in the justice's court, and magistrate case dockets, in which the justice sat as a magistrate and held an examining trial to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for a person to be charged with a crime.

Records include registers of inquests of various justices of the peace who served in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5, and 7. The Constitution of 1876 eliminated the office of county coroner and assigned inquest duties to the justices of the peace. In the performance of these duties, the justices created records reflecting their investigations into and their findings of the causes of death.

Records include the marriage registers for various justices of the peace who served in Galveston County Precinct 1. Performing marriage ceremonies has always been an important function for the Galveston County justices of the peace. Each justice maintained record books of the marriages he performed.

Records include a register of the inventory of property compiled by the justice of the peace in Galveston County Precinct 5. Under the Reconstruction Constitution of 1869, justices of the peace were assigned the function of county tax assessor. Each justice assessed the value of the property located within his precinct and assigned the amount of taxes due. Just as tax assessors before and after this time period, the justices created and maintained a record of property owners and the amount of taxes owed.

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Organization of the Records

The records are organized into five topical series. Two series are further organized into topical subseries related to the purposes for which the volumes were created.
Civil court records, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated, 130 volumes
  • Filed docket, 1910-1914, 1926, 1 volume
  • Civil dockets, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated, 66 volumes
  • Execution docket, 1914-1915, 1 volume
  • Forcible detainer dockets, 1891-1971, undated, 50 volumes
  • Small claims court dockets, 1953-1966, 9 volumes
  • Fee book, 1903-1912, 1 volume
  • Receipt books, 1899-1942, 2 volumes
Criminal court records, 1897-1921, 1929-1931, 50 volumes
  • Criminal dockets, 1908-1921, 1929-1931, 28 volumes
  • Magistrate case dockets, 1897-1921, 22 volumes
Registers of inquests, 1896-1898, 1900-1959, 1963-1964, undated, 50 volumes
Marriage registers, 1889-1910, 1912-1950, undated, 14 volumes
Tax assessment register, 1871, 1 volume

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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 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

Many of the large bound volumes are in fragile condition; bindings are either broken or ready to break, and pages may be loose. Therefore, most of the volumes may not be photocopied and must be treated with care. Check with State Archives staff to determine if a volume can be copied or scanned.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects:
County government--Galveston County (Tex.)
County officials and employees--Galveston County (Tex.)
Local government--Galveston County (Tex.)
Ad valorem tax--Galveston County (Tex.)
Court records--Galveston County (Tex.)
Criminal courts--Galveston County (Tex.)
Marriage records--Galveston County (Tex.)
Property tax--Galveston County (Tex.)
Tax administration and procedure--Texas.
Tax assessment--Galveston County (Tex.)
Taxation--Galveston County (Tex.)
Coroners--Galveston County (Tex.)
Places:
Galveston (Tex.)
Galveston County (Tex.)--History.
Galveston County (Tex.)--Officials and employees.
Galveston County (Tex.)--Politics and government.
Document Types:
Registers--Galveston County (Tex.)--Marriages--1889-1910, 1912-1950.
Forms (documents)--Galveston County (Tex.)--Taxation--1871.
Registers--Galveston County (Tex.)--Taxation--1871.
Dockets--Galveston County (Tex.)--Court records--1878-1879, 1883-1976.
Indexes--Galveston County (Tex.)--Court records--1878-1879, 1883-1976.
Minutes--Galveston County (Tex.)--Court records--1878-1879, 1883-1976.
Functions:
Administering property tax.
Administering taxation.
Adjudicating.
Officiating weddings.

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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 Comptroller's Office, Ad Valorem Tax Division, County property tax rolls, 1837-1981 [Over 6,600 reels of microfilm of county property tax records, including 12 reels for Galveston County]
Galveston County (Tex.) Tax Assessor-Collector's Office records, 1865-1871, 1877-1879, 1884-1950, 1958, 1961, 1963, 126 volumes [See the series "Assessment rolls, 1877-1878, 2 volumes" and "Tax rolls, 1884-1911, 28 volumes"]
Galveston County (Tex.) records available on microfilm, 151 reels [See: "Marriage record, 1838-1907, 9 reels" and "Tax rolls, 1838-1910, 12 reels"]
Galveston County (Tex.) Clerk's Office records. Marriage records, 1932-1933, 1 volume [Part of accession 2011/438; see reference staff for access]

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 2011/438

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.

Processing Information

Collection processed and DACs-compliant EAD finding aid created by Teri E. Flack, volunteer, July-September 2013

Dates of several volumes corrected by Teri E. Flack, volunteer, March 2014

Appraisal Information

These records were appraised and determined to be archival in June and October-December 2012.

Other Formats for the Records

Galveston County records available on microfilm, 151 reels [See: "Tax rolls, 1838-1878, 2 reels"]

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Civil court records, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated,
130 volumes

Civil court record books were created and maintained pursuant to specific statutes and for different purposes by various justices of the peace who served in Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5, and 6 of Galveston County. They consist of filed dockets, civil dockets, an execution docket, forcible detainer dockets, small claims court dockets, a fee book, and receipt books dating overall 1878-1879, 1883-1976, and undated.
As originally adopted, the Constitution of 1876 limited justices of the peace to trying "civil matters of all cases where the amount in controversy is $200 or less, exclusive of interest, of which exclusive jurisdiction is not given to the District or County Courts" (Art. V, Sec. 19, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1876).
The Constitution also allowed the legislature to establish other jurisdictions for the justices of the peace. The legislature gave justices "the power to foreclose mortgages and enforce other liens on personal property" where the amount in controversy was $200 or less, and justices were given jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and detainer – cases in which a landlord sought to evict a tenant and retake possession of his property (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Sections 3 and 4; codified at Art. 1539, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1568, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2291, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2385, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925). In the 1950s, the Texas legislature established small claims courts as part of the justices' jurisdiction. These courts facilitated access to the courts when the amount in controversy was small (Acts 1953, 53rd Legislature, Chapter 309).
Each justice was required to maintain a docket of the cases filed in the court, and justices were permitted to create additional dockets and records (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 5; codified at Art. 1550 and 1552, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1579 and 1581, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2302 and 2304, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2382, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925). A docket is a register listing the cases filed in a court and may reflect actions taken by the court. The justice maintained several types of dockets for civil cases, each of which served a different purpose. The Filed Docket recorded each case at the time it was filed in the justice's court. It provided a master list of all of the justice's civil cases. The Civil Docket recorded the pending cases scheduled during each term of the justice's court and the action taken by the court on each case. The Execution Docket recorded the cases for which a judgment was executed or enforced. In addition to the various dockets, justices were required to maintain a fee book recording "all costs accruing in any suit" (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 28), and as a matter of practice, the justices kept a receipt book recording when the attorneys representing parties in a case borrowed the pleadings and other case documents from the court.
Organization
The records are organized into seven subseries:
Filed docket, 1910-1914, 1926, 1 volume
Civil dockets, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated, 66 volumes
Execution docket, 1914-1915, 1 volume
Forcible detainer dockets, 1891-1971, undated, 50 volumes
Small claims court dockets, 1953-1966, 9 volumes
Fee book, 1903-1912, 1 volume
Receipt books, 1899-1942, 2 volumes
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the subseries), Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Filed docket, 1910-1914, 1926,
1 volume
The docket of filed cases recorded and maintained by the justice of the peace serving in Galveston County Precinct 1 dates 1910-1914 and 1926 and includes case number, date filed, style of case, and a brief description of the case. The types of cases include forcible detainer; collection of amounts owed on contracts, promissory notes, sworn accounts and other debts; and damages. A section of the volume is exclusively a docket of forcible entry and detainer cases for the year 1926. The volume is not indexed.
Each justice of the peace maintained a docket (official register) of the civil cases pending before the court. The filed docket recorded each case at the time it was filed in the justice's court. It provided a master list of all of the justice's civil cases.
Arrangement
Data in the volume are arranged chronologically by case number.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Filed docket, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-385 Precinct 1, June 1910-May 1914 and 1926
Civil dockets, 1878-1879, 1883-1976, undated,
66 volumes
Civil dockets recorded and maintained by the justices of the peace serving in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5, and 6 date 1878-1879, 1883-1976, and undated and include the case number, date filed, names of the parties, nature of the case, amount claimed, citation issued, date of hearing, notes by justice (including findings, judgments rendered, and orders), and bills of costs. The types of cases include garnishment of wages; collection of wages; writs of sequestration; collection of amounts owed on chattel mortgages, promissory notes, sworn accounts and other debts; collection of amounts owed for professional services; and forcible detainer suits to evict delinquent tenants. The volume for Precinct 5 for the years 1927-1937 also includes entries listing marriages conducted by the justice of the peace. Indexes to volumes 14 and 16 for Precinct 1 and volumes 19 and 26 for Precinct 1-A include the names of the plaintiffs and case numbers. Volumes 17-18, 20-25, and 27-32 for Precinct 1-A are indexed within the volumes. The dockets dated 1948-1966 for Precinct 5 are indexed within the volumes. The volume for Precinct 6 is indexed within the volume. All other volumes are not indexed.
In the docket the justice listed the title of the lawsuit; the service of process on the defendant; the appearances of one or both parties; the nature of the case and the amount claimed; the dates of every adjournment; the date of the trial and whether it was heard by a jury or the justice; the verdict by a jury or the judgment rendered by the justice; the date on which execution of the judgment was entered, served and executed; and any stays or appeals (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 5; codified at Art. 1550 and 1552, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1579 and 1581, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2302 and 2304, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2382, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925).
Each justice was required to hold a term of his court every month (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 25; codified at Art. 1546, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1575, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2298, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2380, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925). The entries in the civil docket identified the pending cases scheduled each term for action by the justice. Following the proceeding, the justice would record the action taken in the docket. A case usually appeared multiple times on the civil dockets as it made its way through the court process, including when process was served, when parties made an appearance, when a case was continued or dismissed, when a trial was held and judgment rendered or orders given, and when a judgment was executed. Consequently, the civil docket does not include a master entry summarizing all actions taken on each case. Rather, it reflects particular actions taken on pending cases during each court term.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and then chronologically. Internally, each docket volume is arranged monthly by court term and the case number of the cases heard during that term. Internally, the index volumes are arranged alphabetically by last name of the plaintiff.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Civil dockets, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-386 No. 2, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, October 1883-April 1885
Volume
2011/438-387 No. 3, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, April 1885-September 1886
Volume
2011/438-388 No. 4, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, October 1886-March 1889
Volume
2011/438-389 No. 5, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, March 1889-April 1891
Volume
2011/438-390 No. 6, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, April 1891-November 1891
Volume
2011/438-391 No. 7, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, December 1891-June 1892
Volume
2011/438-392 No. 8, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, July 1892-August 1893
Volume
2011/438-393 No. 9, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, September 1893-March 1895
Volume
2011/438-394 No. 10, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, March 1895-March 1896
Volume
2011/438-395 No. 11, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, February 1896-April 1897
Volume
2011/438-396 No. 12, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, April 1897-July 1898
Volume
2011/438-397 No. 13, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, July 1898-June 1900
Volume
2011/438-398 No. 14, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, June 1900-July 1903
Volume
2011/438-399 Index to No. 14, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, undated
Volume
2011/438-400 No. 15, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, July 1903-December 1906
Volume
2011/438-401 No. 16, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, December 1906-September 1911
Volume
2011/438-402 Index to No. 16, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Civil docket, undated
Volume
2011/438-403 No. 17, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, September 1911-March 1914
Volume
2011/438-404 No. 18, Precinct 1-A, Justice of the Peace Civil docket, March 1914-December 1914
Volume
2011/438-405 No. 19, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, December 1914-October 1915
Volume
2011/438-406 Index to No. 19, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, undated
Volume
2011/438-407 No. 20, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, October 1915-July 1916
Volume
2011/438-408 No. 21, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, July 1916-June 1917
Volume
2011/438-409 No. 22, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, June 1917-May 1918
Volume
2011/438-410 No. 23, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, May 1918-November 1919
Volume
2011/438-411 No. 24, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, November 1919-June 1922
Volume
2011/438-412 No. 25, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, June 1922-March 1933
Volume
2011/438-413 No. 26, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, August 1933-May 1938
Volume
2011/438-414 Index to No. 26, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, undated
Volume
2011/438-415 No. 27, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, May 1938-October 1940
Volume
2011/438-416 No. 28, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, November 1940-August 1943
Volume
2011/438-417 No. 29, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, August 1943-January 1946
Volume
2011/438-418 No. 30, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, January 1946-April 1953
Volume
2011/438-419 No. 31, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, May 1953-July 1957
Volume
2011/438-420 No. 32, Precinct 1-A, JP Civil docket, July 1957-August 1961
Volume
2011/438-421 No. 20, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court Civil docket, January 1898-November 1898
Volume
2011/438-422 Precinct 2, Justice's Court Civil docket, July 1878-November 1879
Volume
2011/438-423 No. 9, Precinct 2, Justice's Court Civil docket, May 1886-April 1887
Volume
2011/438-424 No. 10, Precinct 2, Justice's Court Civil docket, April 1887-May 1888
Volume
2011/438-425 No. 16, Precinct 2, Justice's Court Civil docket, August 1894-July 1895
Volume
2011/438-426 Precinct 2, Justice's Civil docket, July 1916-April 1948
Volume
2011/438-427 Precinct 2, Civil docket, July 1959-November 1972
Volume
2011/438-428 Precinct 2, Justice Civil docket, November 1972-July 1976
Volume
2011/438-429 No. 1, Precinct 5, Justice's Civil docket, January 1924-December 1926
Volume
2011/438-430 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, June 1927-June 1937
Volume
2011/438-431 Precinct 5, Justice Civil docket, May 1937-September 1942
Volume
2011/438-432 Precinct 5, Justice Civil docket, October 1942-July 1948
Volume
2011/438-433 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, July 1948-October 1950
Volume
2011/438-434 Precinct 5, Justice Court Civil docket, November 1950-April 1953
Volume
2011/438-435 Precinct 5, Civil docket, April 1953-May 1954
Volume
2011/438-436 Precinct 5, Civil docket, May 1954-February 1955
Volume
2011/438-437 No. 45, Precinct 5, Civil docket, February 1955-October 1957
Volume
2011/438-438 Precinct 5, Civil docket, November 1957-August 1958
Volume
2011/438-439 Precinct 5, Civil docket, August 1958-May 1959
Volume
2011/438-440 Precinct 5, Civil docket, May 1959-May 1960
Volume
2011/438-441 Precinct 5, Civil docket, March 1960-January 1961
Volume
2011/438-442 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, January 1961-August 1961
Volume
2011/438-443 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, August 1961-March 1962
Volume
2011/438-444 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, March 1962-October 1962
Volume
2011/438-445 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, October 1962-March 1963
Volume
2011/438-446 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, March 1963-September 1963
Volume
2011/438-447 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, September 1963-May 1964
Volume
2011/438-448 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, May 1964-March 1965
Volume
2011/438-449 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, March 1965-December 1965
Volume
2011/438-450 Precinct 5, JP Civil docket, December 1965-September 1966
Volume
2011/438-451 Precinct 6, Civil docket, January 1959-February 1966
Execution docket, 1914-1915,
1 volume
The execution docket recorded and maintained by the Justice of the Peace serving in Galveston County Precinct 1-A reflects judgments executed during the years 1914-1915 and includes case number, date execution ordered, style of case, amount of money to be collected, and the date execution was returned. The volume is not indexed.
The judgments of justices of the peace were enforced by execution (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Sections 19 and 20; codified at Art. 1627, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1657, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2380, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911). Execution of a judgment involved collecting any monies owed and/or delivering possession of real or personal property to the prevailing party. The execution docket was the official justice court record of the execution of a judgment.
Arrangement
Data in the volume are arranged chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Execution docket, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-452 Precinct 1-A, September 1914-September 1915
Forcible detainer dockets, 1891-1971, undated,
50 volumes
Forcible detainer dockets recorded and maintained by the justices of the peace serving in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, and 1-B date 1891-1971 and undated and include identification of the case as a suit for forcible detainer, identification of the property for which the owner/landlord sought to evict the tenant, the issuance and date of service of process on the tenant, the appearances of one or both parties, the date of the hearing, and the judge's findings and orders. Indexes for volume 7 for Precinct 1-A and volumes 6, 8, and 14 for Precinct 1-B include the names of the parties and page numbers. The dockets for Precinct 1-A dating 1946-1971 are indexed within the volume. The other volumes are not indexed.
The legislature gave justices jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and detainer – cases in which a landlord sought to evict a delinquent tenant and retake possession of the property (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 4; codified at Art. 1539, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 1568, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2291, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2385, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925. For specific laws governing forcible entry and detainer see Art. 2440, et seq, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 2519, et seq, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 3940, et seq, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 3973, et seq, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925). Many of the Galveston County justices of the peace recorded all of their pending cases, including forcible entry and detainer cases, in their civil dockets. For a period of time, the justices in Precincts 1, 1-A, and 1-B did so, too. However, as the volume of forcible entry and detainer cases grew, the justices in Precincts 1, 1-A, and 1-B (the precincts which included the city of Galveston) eventually chose to create separate dockets for those cases only.
The entries in the forcible detainer docket identified the pending cases of forcible entry and detainer scheduled during each monthly term for action by the justice. Following the proceeding, the justice would record the action taken on the docket. Most forcible detainer cases appeared on the docket only once (when the judge ordered the tenant evicted), although occasionally a case might appear on the docket more than once.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and then chronologically. Internally, each docket volume is arranged monthly by court term and the case number of the cases heard during that term. Internally, the index volumes are arranged alphabetically by the last names of the parties.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Forcible detainer dockets, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-453 No. 2, Precinct 1, Justice Court, March 1891-May 1894
Volume
2011/438-454 No. 3, Precinct 1, Justice Court, May 1894-April 1898
Volume
2011/438-455 No. 4, Precinct 1, Justice's Court, May 1898-February 1904
Volume
2011/438-456 No. 5, Precinct 1, Justice's Court, February 1904-February 1910
Volume
2011/438-457 No. 6, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1910-March 1943
Volume
2011/438-458 No. 7, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, March 1943-February 1945
Volume
2011/438-459 Index to No. 7, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, undated
Volume
2011/438-460 No. 8, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1945-September 1946
Volume
2011/438-461 No. 9, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, September 1946-February 1948
Volume
2011/438-462 No. 10, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1948-May 1949
Volume
2011/438-463 No. 11, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, May 1949-October 1950
Volume
2011/438-464 No. 12, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, October 1950-November 1951
Volume
2011/438-465 No. 13, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, November 1951-November 1952
Volume
2011/438-466 No. 14, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, November 1952-September 1953
Volume
2011/438-467 No. 15, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, September 1953-April 1954
Volume
2011/438-468 No. 16, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, April 1954-November 1954
Volume
2011/438-469 No. 17, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, November 1954-March 1955
Volume
2011/438-470 No. 18, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, March 1955-August 1955
Volume
2011/438-471 No. 19, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, August 1955-December 1955
Volume
2011/438-472 No. 20, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, December 1955-July 1956
Volume
2011/438-473 No. 21, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, July 1956-April 1957
Volume
2011/438-474 No. 22, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, April 1957-February 1958
Volume
2011/438-475 No. 23, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1958-September 1958
Volume
2011/438-476 No. 24, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, September 1958-March 1960
Volume
2011/438-477 No. 25, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, March 1960-August 1961
Volume
2011/438-478 No. 26, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, August 1961-February 1962
Volume
2011/438-479 No. 27, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1962-July 1962
Volume
2011/438-480 No. 28, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, July 1962-January 1963
Volume
2011/438-481 No. 29, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, January 1963-May 1963
Volume
2011/438-482 No. 30, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, May 1963-October 1963
Volume
2011/438-483 No. 31, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, October 1963-March 1964
Volume
2011/438-484 No. 32, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, March 1964-June 1964
Volume
2011/438-485 No. 33, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, June 1964-October 1964
Volume
2011/438-486 No. 34, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, October 1964-February 1965
Volume
2011/438-487 No. 35, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, February 1965-October 1965
Volume
2011/438-488 No. 36, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, October 1965-August 1966
Volume
2011/438-489 No. 37, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, August 1966-May 1967
Volume
2011/438-490 No. 38, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, May 1967-January 1968
Volume
2011/438-491 No. 39, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, January 1968-August 1968
Volume
2011/438-492 No. 40, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, August 1968-July 1969
Volume
2011/438-493 No. 41, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, July 1969-May 1970
Volume
2011/438-494 No. 42, Precinct 1-A, Civil docket, May 1970-February 1971
Volume
2011/438-495 No. 5, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, March 1926-April 1928
Volume
2011/438-496 No. 6, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, April 1928-January 1930
Volume
2011/438-497 Index to No. 6, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, undated
Volume
2011/438-498 No. 8, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, June 1931-July 1932
Volume
2011/438-499 Index to No. 8, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, undated
Volume
2011/438-500 No. 14, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, July 1940-February 1943
Volume
2011/438-501 Index to No. 14, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, undated
Volume
2011/438-502 No. 15, Precinct 1-B, Justice's Court, February 1943-December 1948
Small claims court dockets, 1953-1966,
9 volumes
Small claims court dockets recorded and maintained by various justices of the peace serving in Galveston County Precincts 1-A and 5 date 1953-1966 and include the case number, date filed, names of the plaintiff and defendant, names of attorneys, nature of the case and amount claimed, citation issued, fees due, and judgment and findings. The volumes are indexed within the volume.
In 1953, the Texas legislature established small claims courts as part of the jurisdiction of the justices of the peace. These courts facilitated access to the courts by individuals when the amount in controversy was small. When the legislature created these courts it declared "that many citizens of the State of Texas are now in effect denied justice because of the present expense and delay of litigation when their claims involve small sums of money. [T]his discouragement of litigation based on financial ability is contrary to the public policy of this State" (Art. 2460a, Vernon's Tex. Ann. Civ. Stat., 1953). The small claims court was a court of inferior jurisdiction over which the justices of the peace presided. When initially established, amounts in controversy could not exceed $50, except that claims for wages or for payment for work performed could not exceed $100. To initiate a proceeding, a claimant filed a sworn statement of his or her claim. The claimant often did not hire an attorney to try the case; however, either side in a case was permitted to hire an attorney. As with other cases filed in his court, the justice of peace when sitting as a judge of the small claims court recorded the case in a docket.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and then chronologically. Internally, each volume is arranged chronologically by court term and then by case number.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Small claims court dockets, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-503 Precinct 1-A, Small Claims Court docket, September 1953-April 1954
Volume
2011/438-504 Book 2, Precinct 1-A, Small Claims Court docket, March 1954-March 1957
Volume
2011/438-505 Book 3, Precinct 1-A, Small Claims Court docket, March 1957-June 1961
Volume
2011/438-506 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, November 1958-February 1960
Volume
2011/438-507 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, February 1960-April 1961
Volume
2011/438-508 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, April 1961-June 1962
Volume
2011/438-509 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, June 1962-June 1963
Volume
2011/438-510 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, June 1963-April 1964
Volume
2011/438-511 Precinct 5, Small Claims Court docket, April 1964-February 1966
Fee book, 1903-1912,
1 volume
The fee book recorded and maintained by the Galveston County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1-B dates 1903-1912 and includes case number, date, names of plaintiff and defendant, amount owed and amount collected. The volume is not indexed.
Justices of the peace were required to maintain a fee book recording "all costs accruing in any suit" (Art. 1580, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2303, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911). In this book, a justice would record fees assessed and collected related to all civil suits filed in his court. In addition, he would list delinquent fees and resulting collection efforts.
Arrangement
Data in the volume are arranged chronologically by case number.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Fee book, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-512 Precinct 1-B, 1903-1912
Receipt books, 1899-1942,
2 volumes
Books of attorneys' receipts for papers recorded and maintained by various justices of the peace serving in Galveston County Precincts 1 and 1-B date 1899-1942 and include the name of the attorney receiving the papers, number of the case, style of the case, and the dates papers were received and when they were returned. The volumes are not indexed.
In addition to their dockets, justices of the peace were permitted to keep other records related to the cases filed in their court (Art. 1581, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 2304, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 2382, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925). Rather than the justices copying and distributing all of the pleadings and other case documents, attorneys often borrowed these materials for their review and copying. As a matter of practice, the justices kept a receipt book recording when attorneys borrowed case documents and when they returned them.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged chronologically. Internally each volume is arranged by the date the papers were borrowed by an attorney.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Receipt books, Civil court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-513 Precinct 1, Receipt book for papers, September 1899-July 1915
Volume
2011/438-514 Precinct 1-B, Receipt book for papers, May 1914-January 1942

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Criminal court records, 1897-1921, 1929-1931,
50 volumes

Criminal court records were created and maintained pursuant to specific statutes and for different purposes by various justices of the peace who served in Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, and 2 of Galveston County. They consist of criminal dockets and magistrate case dockets dating overall 1897-1921 and 1929-1931.
As originally adopted, the Constitution of 1876 limited the criminal jurisdiction of the justices of the peace to "cases where the penalty or fine may not be more than $200," but it permited the legislature to prescribe other criminal jurisdiction for the justices (Art. V, Sec. 19, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1876). In 1876, the legislature enacted laws defining the duties and responsibilities related to criminal cases for the justices (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 3; codified at Art. 76, Code Crim. Proc., 1879; recodified at Art. 96, Code Crim. Proc., 1895; recodified at Art. 106, Code Crim. Proc., 1911; recodified at Art. 60, Code Crim. Proc., 1925).
Each justice was required to maintain a docket of all trials for criminal offenses that came before him (Acts 1876, 15th Legislature, Chapter 103, Section 5; codified at Art. 899, Code Crim. Proc., 1879; recodified at Art. 934, Code Crim. Proc., 1895; recodified at Art. 969, Code Crim. Proc., 1911; recodified at Art. 879, Code Crim. Proc., 1925). The justice maintained several types of dockets for criminal cases, each of which served a different purpose. The Criminal Docket recorded the criminal cases pending before the justice which were scheduled for a hearing during each term of the justice's court and any action taken. The Magistrate Case Docket recorded the cases for which the justice sat as a magistrate and held an examining trial to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for a person to be charged with a crime.
Organization
The records are organized into two subseries:
Criminal dockets, 1908-1921, 1929-1931, 28 volumes
Magistrate case dockets, 1897-1921, 22 volumes
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item and cite the subseries), Criminal court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Criminal dockets, 1908-1921, 1929-1931,
28 volumes
Criminal dockets recorded and maintained by the justices of the peace serving in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, and 2 date 1908-1921 and 1929-1931 and include the case number, date filed, name of accused, charges filed, warrant issued, date of trial, findings (including verdict and amount of fine), and costs assessed against the defendant. The types of criminal charges include vagrancy, disturbing the peace, gaming, cursing and abusing, and violating state highway laws. Volumes 1 through 25 reflect both Precinct 1 and Precinct 1-A. Volumes 18 through 25 for Precincts 1 and 1-A are indexed within the volumes. All other volumes are not indexed.
Each justice recorded in the docket proceedings in all trials for criminal offenses showing the offense, the issuance of any warrants, the date of the trial (whether by jury or justice), the verdict, the judgment of the court, any notice of appeal, and when the judgment was enforced. Following the proceeding, the justice recorded any action taken in the court docket. A case might appear multiple times in the criminal docket as it made its way through the court process, including when an arrest warrant was issued, when the accused made an appearance, when a case was continued or dismissed, when a trial was held and judgment rendered, and when a judgment was executed. Consequently, the criminal docket does not include a master entry summarizing all actions taken on each case. Rather, it reflects particular actions taken by the justice during each term on a pending case.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and then chronologically. Internally, each volume is arranged monthly by court term and the case number of the cases heard during that term.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Criminal dockets, Criminal court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-515 Precinct 1, Justice's Court Criminal docket, July 1897-September 1898
Volume
2011/438-516 Volume 1, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Criminal docket, May 1899-September 1899
Volume
2011/438-517 Volume 3, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, March 1900-August 1901
Volume
2011/438-518 Volume 4, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, August 1901-January 1902
Volume
2011/438-519 Volume 5, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Criminal docket, January 1902-March 1902
Volume
2011/438-520 Volume 6, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, March 1902-May 1902
Volume
2011/438-521 Volume 7, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, May 1902-August 1902
Volume
2011/438-522 Volume 8, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, August 1902-October 1902
Volume
2011/438-523 Volume 9, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, October 1902-April 1903
Volume
2011/438-524 Volume 10, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, April 1903-April 1904
Volume
2011/438-525 Volume 11, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, April 1904-April 1905
Volume
2011/438-526 Volume 12, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, April 1905-October 1906
Volume
2011/438-527 Volume 13, Precinct 1, Justice Court Criminal docket, October 1906-August 1908
Volume
2011/438-528 Volume 14, Precinct 1-A, Justice Court Criminal docket, August 1908-March 1910
Volume
2011/438-529 Volume 14 1/2, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, March 1910-July 1910
Volume
2011/438-530 Volume 15, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Court Criminal docket, July 1910-September 1911
Volume
2011/438-531 Volume 16, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Court Criminal docket, September 1911-March 1913
Volume
2011/438-532 Volume 17, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Court Criminal docket, March 1913-December 1913
Volume
2011/438-533 Volume 18, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Court Criminal docket, December 1913-September 1914
Volume
2011/438-534 Volume 19, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Criminal docket, September 1914-November 1915
Volume
2011/438-535 Volume 20, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, November 1915-August 1916
Volume
2011/438-536 Volume 21, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, August 1916-January 1917
Volume
2011/438-537 Volume 22, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, January 1917-August 1917
Volume
2011/438-538 Volume 23, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, August 1917-March 1918
Volume
2011/438-539 Volume 24, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, March 1918-July 1919
Volume
2011/438-540 Volume 25, Precinct 1, Justice's Court Misdemeanor docket, June 1919-July 1921
Volume
2011/438-541 Precinct 2, Justice's Criminal docket, April 1916-July 1921
Volume
2011/438-542 Precinct 2, Justice's Criminal docket, April 1929-August 1931
Magistrate case dockets, 1897-1921,
22 volumes
Dockets recorded and maintained by Galveston County Justices of the Peace sitting as magistrates in Precincts 1, 1-A, and 1-B date 1897-1921 and include the case number, date of examination, name of complainant, charge alleged, date warrant issued, and justice's findings. The types of criminal charges alleged include felony theft, assault to murder, forgery, burglary, rape, embezzlement, and various misdemeanor charges. Included in the volumes for Precinct 1-B is the justice's criminal docket whereby he adjudicated cases in which the accused was charged with a misdemeanor. Volumes 1-3 for Precinct 1 and volumes 4-5, 11, and 14-25 for Precinct 1-A are indexed within the volumes. All other volumes are not indexed.
The term "magistrate" was not used in Texas until the legislature adopted the first Code of Criminal Procedure in 1856. The Code identified "the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Judges of the District Court, the Chief Justice of a County, either of the County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, the Mayor of an incorporated city or town, and in certain special cases, the Coroner" as magistrates authorized to hold an examining court to "inquire into a criminal accusation against any person" and to determine if the accused should be charged with a crime (Art. 52 and 55, Code Crim. Proc., 1856). Following ratification of the Texas Constitution of 1876, the legislature re-adopted the Code of Criminal Procedure continuing to identify justices of the peace as magistrates authorized to hold an examining court (codified at Art. 42 and 63, Code Crim. Proc., 1879; recodified at Art. 41 and 62, Code Crim. Proc., 1895; recodified at Art. 41 and 62, Code Crim. Proc., 1911; recodified at Art. 33 and 35, Code Crim. Proc., 1925).
As magistrate, a justice handled the preliminary issues in felony cases, such as accepting criminal complaints, issuing search warrants, determining bail, and holding examining trials to determine whether the accused should be charged with a felony crime such as assault, murder, rape, or burglary. Justices maintained a docket of the examinations they conducted as magistrates, recording the offense, the issuance of any warrants, the date of the examination, and the justice's findings.
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and then chronologically. Internally, each volume is arranged by case number.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Magistrate case dockets, Criminal court records, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-543 Volume 1, Precinct 1, Criminal docket felony cases, March 1905-June 1906
Volume
2011/438-544 Volume 2, Precinct 1, Criminal docket felony cases, June 1906-October 1907
Volume
2011/438-545 Volume 3, Precinct 1, Criminal docket felony cases, October 1907-October 1908
Volume
2011/438-546 Volume 4, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, October 1908-September 1909
Volume
2011/438-547 Volume 5, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, September 1909-June 1910
Volume
2011/438-548 Volume 11, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, July 1910-May 1911
Volume
2011/438-549 Volume 12, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, May 1911-February 1912
Volume
2011/438-550 Volume 13, Precinct 1-A, Criminal docket felony cases, February 1912-July 1912
Volume
2011/438-551 Volume 14, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, July 1912-January 1913
Volume
2011/438-552 Volume 15, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, January 1913-July 1913
Volume
2011/438-553 Volume 16, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, June 1913-March 1914
Volume
2011/438-554 Volume 17, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, March 1914-September 1914
Volume
2011/438-555 Volume 18, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, September 1914-March 1915
Volume
2011/438-556 Volume 19, Precinct 1-A, Justice's Criminal docket felony cases, March 1915-November 1915
Volume
2011/438-557 Volume 20, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, November 1915-June 1916
Volume
2011/438-558 Volume 21, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, June 1916-December 1916
Volume
2011/438-559 Volume 22, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, January 1917-November 1917
Volume
2011/438-560 Volume 23, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, November 1917-January 1919
Volume
2011/438-561 Volume 24, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, January 1919-June 1920
Volume
2011/438-562 Volume 25, Precinct 1-A, Justice felony docket, June 1920-October 1921
Volume
2011/438-563 Volume 3, Precinct 1-B, Criminal docket, August 1897-August 1899
Volume
2011/438-564 Volume 4, Precinct 1-B, Criminal docket, August 1899-January 1914

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Registers of inquests, 1896-1898, 1900-1959, 1963-1964, undated,
50 volumes

Registers of inquests conducted by various justices of the peace who served in Galveston County Precincts 1, 1-A, 1-B, 2, 5, and 7 date 1896-1898, 1900-1959, 1963-1964, and undated and include inquest number, name of the justice of the peace, date and location of the proceedings, name of the deceased, description of the deceased, location of death or where body was found, date of death, finding of the justice, and names of suspected parties and dates of arrest. The index to volumes 0-8 for Precinct 1-A includes the name of the deceased, volume number, and page number. For Precinct 1, the volumes dated February 1896 through November 1903 are not indexed, and the volumes dated December 1903 through December 1906 are indexed in the front of each volume. For Precinct 1-A, the volumes dated December 1906 through November 1911 and the volumes numbered 11-15 are indexed in the front of each volume; the volumes dated November 1911 through April 1919 and the volumes numbered 9-10 are not indexed. For Precinct 1-B, all volumes are indexed in the front of each volume. For Precincts 2, 5 and 7, none of the volumes is indexed.
Until 1876, the office of county coroner was a constitutionally established elected office. The coroner inquired into the cause, manner and circumstance of the death of persons for whom the circumstances of death were unknown. If the coroner was absent from the county or otherwise unable to perform the duties, the nearest justice of the peace was authorized to conduct an inquest (Art. IV, Sec. 13, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1846; Acts 1846, 1st Legislature, Sections 12 and 21, May 13, 1846. Duties and responsibilities codified at Art. 851, et seq, Code Crim. Proc., effective February 1, 1857).
The Constitution of 1876 did not include an elected coroner and is silent on the matter of inquests; however, by 1879 the Code of Criminal Procedure assigned the duty of conducting "inquests on the bodies of deceased persons" to any justice of the peace within the county. An inquest was required when a person died in prison, when a person was killed or died of unnatural causes or under suspicious circumstances, and when the circumstances of death were unknown. To conduct an inquest, the justice inquired into the cause, manner, and circumstance of death. The justice of peace was required to keep a book recording the minutes of the proceedings of each inquest, including the information provided about the circumstances of death, the time and place of the inquest, the name of the deceased, the findings, and the name of any suspect. The justice was authorized, although not required, to consult with a physician and conduct a chemical analysis. (Art. 988, et seq, Code Crim. Proc., 1879; recodified at Art. 1023, et seq, Code Crim. Proc., 1895; recodified at Art. 1058, et seq, Code Crim. Proc., 1911; recodified at Art. 968, et seq, Code Crim. Proc., 1925)
Historians believe that inquests held by Galveston County justices of the peace may have been the first in the state to include autopsies conducted by pathologists because the first medical school in Texas opened there in 1891 (Charles Petty, "Forensic Medicine," Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association; accessed November 13, 2013). In 1955, the legislature first allowed counties to appoint medical examiners to conduct autopsies and determine cause of death instead of a justice of the peace. In 1972, the Galveston County Commissioners' Court established the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office, and justices of the peace no longer conducted inquests in the county. (See Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office website)
The registers of inquests do not include any inquests conducted into deaths resulting from the 1900 Galveston hurricane because none were held. An account published shortly after the storm explains that "the suggestion was made that inquests must be held on the bodies and the law complied with. But the corpses began to grow larger in number. Inquests now were no longer discussed." (Paul Lester, The Great Galveston Disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times, ca. 1900, digital images (accessed July 2, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History).
Arrangement
The volumes are arranged by precinct number and chronologically. Internally, each inquest volume is arranged chronologically. Internally, the index volume is arranged alphabetically by name of the deceased.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Registers of inquests, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-565 Precinct 1, Inquest record, February 1896-June 1898
Volume
2011/438-566 Precinct 1, Inquest record, January 1900-July 1901
Volume
2011/438-567 Precinct 1, Inquest record, August 1901-December 1902
Volume
2011/438-568 Precinct 1, Inquest record, December 1902-November 1903
Volume
2011/438-569 Precinct 1, Inquest record, December 1903-February 1905
Volume
2011/438-570 Precinct 1, Inquest record, February 1905-January 1906
Volume
2011/438-571 Precinct 1, Inquest record, January 1906-December 1906
Volume
2011/438-572 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, December 1906-October 1907
Volume
2011/438-573 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, October 1907-September 1908
Volume
2011/438-574 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, September 1908-June 1909
Volume
2011/438-575 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1909-March 1910
Volume
2011/438-576 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, April 1910-February 1911
Volume
2011/438-577 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, February 1911-November 1911
Volume
2011/438-578 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, November 1911-June 1912
Volume
2011/438-579 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1912-December 1912
Volume
2011/438-580 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, December 1912-July 1913
Volume
2011/438-581 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, July 1913-April 1915
Volume
2011/438-582 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, May 1915-March 1916
Volume
2011/438-583 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, March 1916-June 1917
Volume
2011/438-584 Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1917-April 1919
Volume
2011/438-585 Precinct 1-A, Index to Inquest records, Volumes 0-8, undated
Volume
2011/438-586 Volume 0, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1919-June 1921
Volume
2011/438-587 Volume 1, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, July 1921-January 1923
Volume
2011/438-588 Volume 2, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, January 1923-June 1924
Volume
2011/438-589 Volume 3, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1924-October 1926
Volume
2011/438-590 Volume 4, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, October 1926-October 1927
Volume
2011/438-591 Volume 5, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, October 1927-March 1929
Volume
2011/438-592 Volume 6, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, April 1929-June 1930
Volume
2011/438-593 Volume 7, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1930-September 1932
Volume
2011/438-594 Volume 8, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, September 1932-January 1936
Volume
2011/438-595 Volume 9, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, February 1936-June 1939
Volume
2011/438-596 Volume 10, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, June 1939-February 1943
Volume
2011/438-597 Volume 11, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, February 1943-October 1946
Volume
2011/438-598 Volume 12, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, November 1946-February 1950
Volume
2011/438-599 Volume 13, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, February 1950-February 1952
Volume
2011/438-600 Volume 14, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, January 1952-April 1954
Volume
2011/438-601 Volume 15, Precinct 1-A, Inquest record, May 1954-January 1959
Volume
2011/438-602 Volume 1, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, June 1914-October 1919
Volume
2011/438-603 Volume 2, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, October 1919-July 1927
Volume
2011/438-604 Volume 4, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, May 1932-June 1934
Volume
2011/438-605 Volume 5, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, June 1934-June 1935
Volume
2011/438-606 Volume 6, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, June 1936-August 1938
Volume
2011/438-607 Volume 7, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, August 1938-March 1941
Volume
2011/438-608 Volume 18, Precinct 1-B, Inquest record, June 1963-May 1964
Volume
2011/438-609 Precinct 2, Inquest record, December 1915-May 1924
Volume
2011/438-610 Precinct 2, Inquest record, March 1929-September 1941
Volume
2011/438-611 Precinct 2, Inquest record, November 1941-February 1951
Volume
2011/438-612 Precinct 5, Inquest record, February 1924-August 1929
Volume
2011/438-613 Precinct 7, Inquest record, September 1925-November 1946
Volume
2011/438-614 Precinct 7, Inquest record, December 1946-May 1956

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Marriage registers, 1889-1910, 1912-1950, undated,
14 volumes

Registers of marriage ceremonies conducted by various Galveston County Justices of the Peace for Precinct 1 date 1889-1910, 1912-1950, and undated and include the date the marriage license was issued, the county in which the license was issued, names of the bride and groom, and the date of the marriage ceremony. The undated index to the volume dated December 1912-December 1917 includes names of the bride and groom and page numbers. Volumes dated December 1940 through June 1950 are indexed in the front of the volumes. All other volumes are not indexed.
Justices of the peace have been authorized to conduct the rites of matrimony for Texas couples since the days of the Republic (Acts 1837, 1st Cong. of the Republic of Texas, June 5, 1837; codified at Art. 2838, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 2954, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 4608, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 4602, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925).
From 1837 until 1866, males under 14 and females under 12 could not legally marry. An 1866 amendment prohibited marriage for males under 16 and females under 14 (Acts 1866, 11th Legislature, Chapter 76, Section 1). Beginning in 1879, parental or guardian consent was needed for males under 21 and females under 18 to obtain a marriage license (Art. 2841, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1879; recodified at Art. 2957, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1895; recodified at Art. 4611, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1911; recodified at Art. 4605, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat., 1925).
Arrangement
The registers are arranged chronologically. Internally, the index volume is arranged alphabetically by last names of the bride and groom.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Marriage registers, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-615 Precinct 1, Marriage record, August 1889-February 1893
Volume
2011/438-616 Precinct 1, Marriage record, June 1893-February 1900
Volume
2011/438-617 Precinct 1, Marriage record, February 1900-February 1908
Volume
2011/438-618 Precinct 1, Marriage record, February 1908-December 1910
Volume
2011/438-619 Precinct 1, Marriage record, December 1912-December 1917
Volume
2011/438-620 Index to Precinct 1, Marriage record, undated
Volume
2011/438-621 Precinct 1, Marriage record, December 1917-November 1921
Volume
2011/438-622 Precinct 1, Marriage record, December 1921-May 1927
Volume
2011/438-623 Precinct 1, Marriage record, May 1927-January 1934
Volume
2011/438-624 Precinct 1, Marriage record, February 1934-July 1936
Volume
2011/438-625 Precinct 1, Marriage record, July 1936-September 1938
Volume
2011/438-626 Precinct 1, Marriage record, September 1938-December 1940
Volume
2011/438-627 Precinct 1, Marriage record, December 1940-July 1944
Volume
2011/438-628 Precinct 1, Marriage record, July 1944-June 1950

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Tax assessment register, 1871,
1 volume

The register of tax assessments compiled by the Galveston County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 dates 1871 and includes the date of the assessment, name of the taxpayer, listing of real property (abstract number, number of acres, original grantee, the quarter and number of the out lot, and the number of lot and block), by whom rendered, the value of the improvements, a listing of personal property (such as livestock, household furnishings, merchandise for sale, money, jewelry, musical instruments, bonds and contracts, capital used in trade or business, and other articles of non-exempt personal property), total value of the property, and amount of taxes assessed. The volume is indexed.
The Reconstruction Constitution of 1869 eliminated the elected office of county tax assessor. The Constitution directed the justices of the peace in each county to assess the property in their precincts, and the county sheriff was directed to collect the taxes (Art. XII, Sec. 28, Constitution of the State of Texas, 1869). The legislature directed the justices to "call upon every person in his precinct required to give a list of property, moneys, credits or other subjects of taxation, and the value thereof." Each justice was required to compile and maintain a register of the names of property owners and other persons taxed, including the amount taxed (Acts 1870, 12th Legislature, Called Session, Chapter 84, Sections 5 and 47). The justice of the peace as tax assessor did not last long. The Constitution of 1876 restored the office of county tax assessor-collector.
Arrangement
The data in this volume are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the taxpayer.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Tax assessment register, Galveston County Justice of the Peace records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Volume
2011/438-629 Precinct 5, Inventory of property, 1871

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