Travis County was established on January 25, 1840, by an act of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas, days after the community of Waterloo had been renamed Austin and approved as the capital city. The county was in operation as early as 1839, prior to its official establishment. The first election for county officials was held in February of 1840, at which time the population was reported to be 856.
County officials in the year 1840 included:
Chief Justice (later called the County Judge): James W. Smith
Commissioners Court: Martin Humpff, Jno. D. McLeod, B.F. Johnson, A.C. Hyde, W.Y. Woods, David Laughlin, A.I. Adkison, Thos. A. Duggan, S.J. Whatley
Constables: Reuben Towers, Beat No. 1; Moses Woods, Beat No. 2; Matthew Moss, Beat No. 4
County Clerk: M.C. Hamilton, Pro Tem; James C. Harrelson, Pro Tem; Muhlenberg H. Beaty
County Sheriff: Wayne Barton
County Surveyor: William A. Force
County Treasurer: William H.H. Johnston
District Clerk: B.D. Bassford
District Judge: John T. Mills, 3rd District Court
When officials are elected or appointed to office, official bonds and oaths of office are filed with the County Clerk. Official bonds guarantee the honest and faithful performance of the official’s duties as prescribed by law, including the honest account of all monies entrusted to the official while in office. Oaths of office are formal affirmations taken by individuals prior to undertaking the duties of an office. The oaths bind them to perform their duties conscientiously and in good faith.
Official Bond of B.D. Bassford as Clerk of the District Court, 1840
Oath of Office of James W. Smith as Chief Justice, 1840
Official Bond and Oath of Reuben Towers as Constable, Beat No. 1, 1840
The Travis County Archives has a number of Travis County official bonds and oaths of office in its collections, many of which date back to the Republic of Texas days. For more information, view the County Clerk collection finding aid