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Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Notebook Archives



Constable's Notebook - August 2011

We know we are blessed to live in the best city and county in Texas but how much do we really know about our community’s history or the people who served in office and in many instances altered (for better or worse) our history. The Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas established Austin in 1839 and Travis County in 1840. (1. What was Austin’s original name?) Travis County, originally consisted of about 20,000 square miles. Today Travis County sits on just under 1,000 square miles and is home to just over 1,000,000 people. (2. What was Travis County’s population in 1840?)

Travis County certainly has a rich history but unfortunately many records about people, events and important milestones in Travis County history have either been lost or are deteriorating in attics and garages. In cooperation with the Travis County History Committee, my office is working to compile a complete list of Travis County Constables, find out something about them and obtain photographs. For example we know that Thomas V. Ally was appointed as our first Constable in 1823 to “act in the capacity of constable to summon witnesses and bring offenders to justice." The first constables elected in 1840 were Reuben Towers, Moses Woods, Matthew Moss and Allen Brown, but little is known about them or many of their successors who served our community over the subsequent 171 years. (3. Who was the first woman to serve as a Travis County Constable?)

In order to locate and preserve a complete record of constables we are asking Travis County residents who might be descendants of constables, knew a constable or possess documents, clippings or photographs of past constables to consider donating them or at least allow them to be scanned or photographed for the Travis County archives project. We have verified the names of about 200 Constables (which can be viewed at Constable5.com) who have served our community since 1840. We want to know if constables are missing from this list as well as something about them and their service to Travis County.

Oath document signed by one of Travis county's 
first constables, Reuben Towers, dated March 11, 1840

If you have materials about constables you would be willing to share, please contact Leslie Pool at 854-3712 or Leslie.Pool@co.travis.tx.us Travis County archivist Christy Moilanen Christy.Moilanen@co.travis.tx.us would also welcome donations of documents (or the opportunity to scan) regarding other past Travis County officials and other community leaders, people and events.

The Travis County History Committee is spearheading several projects to bring to life people and events that shaped our community including the Fourth Annual Travis County History Day event which will be held on October 21 in the lobby of the new Travis County Commissioners Courtroom at 700 Lavaca St. (4. What was the location of the first Travis County Courthouse and when was it built?) This year’s theme is to recognize living former Travis County elected officials. (5. Who is the current longest serving Travis County elected official?)

Through this project we hope to learn much more about those who served Travis County before us and about the issues they struggled with and to leave a more complete record of Travis County’s heritage for future generations.

Answers to the embedded questions may be found at constable5.com.



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