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Minutes of the
Ellis County Commissioners' Court
1850 - 1853


These records  (abstracted from Order Book I  by Barbara Knox) pertain to business conducted during the first court sessions. The priorities were clear - a county seat, a court house, assessment of taxes and building of roads to facilitate better transportation in the newly created county.  Court orders provide valuable information regarding early county settlers and subsequent county development .

August 19 through August 23, 1850

Since no official building then existed for the purpose, Court met at the house of Emory W. Rogers in Waxahachie.  Present: Honorable William Hawkins, Chief Justice,  Larkin Newton, Henry Trimble and James L. Berry, commissioners; Benjamin F. Hawkins, Clerk and William H. H. Bradford, Sheriff. Ordered: Richard Donaldson be paid $100 in town lots for surveying and marking 60 acres of land into lots, streets and alleys comprizing a public square for the county seat and $10 to Sterling C. Cross, Chief Justice of Navarro County  for his services in organizing Ellis County -  money to be taken from first money paid into county treasury. A report regarding location of county seat  was approved with six precincts defined [detailed boundaries given] and respective presiding election officers in each as follows:

No. 1 -Malcolm Johnston, No. 2 - John Bell; No. 3 - James Billingsley; No. 4 -  Benjamin Garvin; No. 5 - Napoleon B. Brooks; No. 6 - Joseph Whittenburg,  Bonds for Sheriff, Assessor/Collector and District Clerk were approved. County levy set at seven and one half cents on each $100 value of real estate and personal property, with special tax of 10 cents on all money loaned at interest, goods, wares, merchandise, wines and liquors; $50 from each person involved in theatrical amusements; $12.50 for retail sale of wines and liquors; $5 for peddlers; $25 for keeping billard table; $10 for keeping bowling alley; $7.50 for keeping cook shop, restaurant or eating house for pay; $12.50 for race track owner; $10 real estate broker, ship broker, cotton broker; $12.50 auctioneer.

Ordered: Elbert C. Newton to be in charge of advertising and selling town lots in Waxahachie - deed for said land to be given him by  Emory W. Rogers .  Contract for building  a courthouse awarded Joseph N. Whittenberg for $59.00 [detailed specifications]; to be completed by third Monday in October. List of persons suitable for jury service entered in jury book. Larkin Newton, William Hawkins and James S. Berry  to be paid $7.50 each for five days' service as Commissioners; same to B. F. Hawkins for service as County Clerk.

Special Session - October 28, 1850

Terms for sale of county lots: one half of survey price to be paid in one year and the other in two years from sale date, with bond and approved security.

Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 18 and 19, 1850

Court held at courthouse in Waxahachie. Ordered: Charles H. Barker, Malcomb Johnson, David P. Fearis and Emory W. Rogers to mark best way for a road toward Taos in Navarro County as far as county line. Joseph Boren, Silas M. Durrett, James E. Patton, Jonathan E. Prince, and James P. Apperson to mark best way for a road from Waxahachie to Corsicana as far as Chamber's Creek. The road from Dallas to Waxahachie and on to Chamber's Creek designated a county road, divided into two precincts:

No. 1: beginning on Grove Creek at crossing of old Dallas Road, north with road to Dallas County line, west on line 2 miles above township line; south on line to point on divide between north fork of Waxahachie and Grove Creeks, down Creek to beginning. Road hands living within bounds: John Billingsley, William T. Patton, Robert Bell (overseer), John Nugent, George C. Parks, James J. Clayton, Henderson Hurst, Andrew Downing, Josiah P. Woolsey, Jonathan Billingsley, John Chapman, Isaac Hurst, John Hurst, William Hurst, Samuel Patton and Joel S. Davis.

No. 2:  beginning at southwest corner of Pct. 1, north to Daniel Heater's, south to divide between fork of Waxahachie and Onion Creek, down divide east to point opposite David P. Ferris, then straight line to old Dallas road crossing on Grove Creek, up creek with south line of Pct. 1 to beginning. Hands living within bounds: Jonathan E. Prince (overseer), Robert Mayfield, Jasper Marchbanks, William Weaver, Emory W. Rogers, Edward Turpen, Thomas Stevens, Wm. T. Briggs, Harold Marchbanks, John Gilmore, John W. Berry, B. F. Hawkins, G. L. Hickey, Chas. H. Barker, Norman Whittenburg, George Cunningham, M. T. Flaherty, David P. Fearis, Robert M. Berry, John Mathews, Peter Apperson, James P. Apperson.

No. 3: to include all settlers  living on waters of Chambers and Onion Creek within five miles of Dallas Road: Mr. Lacy, Wm Smith, N. B. Brooks, Mr. Hammack, E. H. Tarrant, William Young, Joel Mitchell, Alexander McCulloch, James Jackson, Seth A. Taylor and Edmond Carter; Guy Stokes overseer.
Ordered: Joseph Whittenberg's report on building of courthouse approved.

Special Session - December 16, 1950

Charles H. Barker, G. L. Hickey, Emory W. Rogers, Elbert C. Newton and William T. Balch appointed to meet with Dallas County commissioners to decide location for a road from Waxahachie to county line.

Benjamin Garvin, Coleman Jenkins, John H. Singleton, James L. Kelley and Joseph Mundon to mark best way for a road from the north county line to intersect a road from Dallas running south through the county toward Waco Village.

Monday, Feb. 17, 1851

County court held at the courthouse in Waxahachie. Ordered: all of Pct. 5, lying south of the dividing ridge between Chambers and Mill Creeks be designated as Pct. 7, with elections to be held at Thomas Bell's house. Approval of other presiding officers for precinct elections: Green Bolwear (No. 1); Johin Bell (No. 2); Elbert C. Newton (No. 3); Benjamin G. Garvin (No. 4); James Jackson (No. 5) and Joseph N. Whittenberg (No. 6).

Because of survey error, all assignments of precincts and road overseers made at November 1850 Term ordered rescinded..

Report of surveyors for road from Waxahachie to Dallas County line approved. Road precincts: No. 1 to begin at old Dallas road crossing on Grove Creek north with road to Dallas County line, west on line and south to point on divide between north fork of Waxahachie and Grove Creeks, where line running east would intersect Grove Creek, down Creek to beginning and including south bank of creek.

Special Term of Court, Monday, Oct. 4, 1852

James Sanford, Elias Mackey, William Mitchell, Emory W. Rogers and Jonathan E. Prince to mark road from Waxahachie to Waco; Guy Stokes, Robert Hogan, J. G. R. Turner, James H. Garry and Wm. C. Scott to mark road from Waxahachie to Waco as far as the county line. John C. Hatter, Jone E. Anderson, Robert Bell, Wm. Thomas Patton and George Marchbanks to mark road from Waxahachie to county line toward Dallas by way of Lancaster.  Ordered that Lot, 7, Block 7  be set aside to build county jail. Court adjourned.

Regular Term of Court, Monday, Nov. 15, 1852

Ordered approved: James Markey's claim  for 640 acres due him as a Peters Colonist  (He had settled prior to July 1, 1848 but received no certificate). Report for road from Waxahachie toward Waco, precincts as follows:

No. 1: to begin at Mr. Kinzy's south to county line, with line southwest to Acquilla Creek, N. 30 west to Iceland fork of Chambers Creek, down to head of Hog Creek, down it to crossing of Turner's precinct line and with that line to beginning. Hands living within bounds: Elias McKey (overseer), G. W. DeVere, Charles Davis, John P. Randal, Wm. H., Burns, J. M. Sanford, Joel Mitchell, Thos. Davis.

Pct 2: To begin at mouth of Iceland ford, cross Chambers Creek to head of Greathouse Branch; on straight line to mound on south fork of Waxahachie; north to its north fork; down creek to point opposite NW corner of P. Apperson's field, on straight line to Hinds' on Chambers Creek, south to Hog Creek, up it to mouth and straight line to beginning. Hands living within bounds: N. P. Sims (overseer); E. M. Brock, Josiah Millshire, P. C. Sims, A. C. Low, Lewis D. Low, J. P. Apperson.

Road from Waxahachie toward Waco by Stokes' house divided into following pcts:

No 1 - to begin at Mr. Kinzy's to middle of divide between Mill Creek, down divide to road from Tarrant's Mill to Meltons', south to Mill Creek, south 60 west to point due south of Stokes' and back to beginning. Hands living within bounds:
M. M. Knight, Mr. Kinzy, Henry Skiles, John Beaty, Henry Herral, John Parker, Clinton Biggs, Jonathan Melton, McGilson, Wm S. Carr, Bennett Biggs, Adam Beaty, Joseph Beaty, David Biggs, J. G. R. Turner.

Pct. No. 2: to begin on divide between Mill Creek and Chambers Creek at N., W. corner of Pct. 1, on straight line to Hinds; crossing on Chambers Creek, north to north fork of Onion Creek and down creek to Waxahachie-Tarrant's Mill road, with it to mill; down Chambers to falls and on line to Mill Creek to N. E. corner Pct. 1, on to divide betweem Mill and Chambers to beginning. Hands within bounds: Richard Willson, R. R. Hogan, Joseph Lacy, Edmond Turpin, Henry Trimble, S. B. Lacy, Watson, Guy Stokes (overseer)

Pct. 3: to begin at N. W. corner Pct. 2 on north fork of Onion Creek, along west line of Waxahachie to Franklin Street, east to town's lower boundary, down north fork of Waxahachie to forks, then to crossing of Tarrant's Mill road on Onion Creek and up creek to beginning. Hands:
P. Apperson, Clint Sweatt, Edward Sweatt, Quincy Sweatt, Wesley Young, Harvey W. Young, Alexander Sweatt, Calvin Marchbanks, Russell Marchbanks, John J. Gilmore, John W. Berry, Jessey L. Herring, William Young, Wm. C. Sweatt (overseer)
Jonathan E. Prince, J. H. Boyd, Daniel Weaver, Jourden Powers and James Laughlin appoiont4ed to mark route for road from Waxahachie to Birdsville in Tarrant County as far as county line.
Court adjourned.

Regular session Monday, Feb. 21, 1853

Election Pct. No. 9 established, elections to be held at house of William H. Middleton, judge. Joshua W. Brock presiding officer Pct. 1 in place of James Hicks. Lafayette Brock overseer of road (Pct 1) from Waxahachie to Trinity City and Robert Smith for Pct. 2. Norman H. Whittenberg overseer of road from Waxahachie to Corsicana as far as county line. John Westbrook overseer of road from Trinity City toward Taos. William R. Herron overseer road Pct. No. 1 from Tarrant's Mill toward Taos and James R. Henderson same for Pct. 2 same road. James H. Sanford overseer Pct. 1 road from Waxahachie toward Waco; E. M. Brock for Pct. 2.


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