In Texas, one of the duties of the Commissioners’ Court is the construction and maintenance of county roads and bridges. County roads are public roads that are located outside of city limits but within the county boundaries. City roads are the responsibility of cities, and interstate highways and farm to market (FM) roads are the responsibility of the state.

Commissioner Lawson Booth and Precinct 4 road crew, 1957

Prior to the establishment of the Texas Department Transportation in 1917 (then called the Texas Highway Department), County Commissioners had expanded authority over the selection of routes and the construction and maintenance of more roads located within the county.

Commissioner precincts were subdivided into road precincts, and each Commissioner had his own work force, road equipment, and budget. Citizens could petition for a new road or for improvements to an existing one, after which the Commissioners Court appointed a jury to decide on the matter.  The Commissioners also appointed road overseers for each road precinct, to supervise the road workers. Road workers were local residents who lived nearest to the route under construction, although those with means could pay substitutes to work the road in their stead.Generally, all able-bodied men aged 21 to 45 were required to volunteer several days a year for roadwork.

The following records in the Travis County Archives provide information about the county road system in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  They include:

Travis County Road Books: 1898-1902 (4 volumes)

Field notes and plats of county roads in Travis County Commissioner Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 4, showing starting point, directions and lengths of road, and landmarks. Arranged chronologically by date filed. 

Follow the links below to view on the Portal to Texas History.  Index will be available soon.

Road Index: c. 1850-1958

Partial index to Travis County road matters recorded in the Commissioners Court minutes from c. 1850-1958, showing name, location, precinct, class, width, and length of road; plat; file number; and book and page number where recorded in the minutes. Recorded alphabetically by name of road.

Click here to view on the Portal to Texas History

Road Minutes Vol. 1: 1895-1926

Minutes of Travis County Commissioners Court pertaining to road matters from 1895-1926, including orders of jury to view road; reports of jury; recommendation whether to establish road; location and course of road to be established; order of court approving road; and plat of proposed road. Arranged chronologically by date recorded. Arranged chronologically by date recorded.

Click here to view on the Portal to Texas History

Treasurer’s Report and Road Minutes 2, 1897-1913

Minutes of Travis County Commissioners Court pertaining to the county funds and road matters from November 1897-1913. Includes Treasurer’s report to the Commissioners Court on the various county funds; orders of jury to view road; reports of jury; recommendation whether to establish road; location and course of road to be established; order of court approving road; and plat of proposed road. Arranged chronologically by date recorded.

Click here to view on the Portal to Texas History

Road Overseer Records

  • Orders of the Commissioners Court, 1888
  • Reports of the Road Overseer to the Commissioners Court, 1888-1890
  • Road Overseer Record: 1905-1910 (4 volumes) – Record of Commissioners Court establishing road precincts and appointing road overseers in Travis County Commissioners Precincts 1, 2, 3 and 4. Shows name of portion of road to be made into a road precinct, number of road precinct, description of boundaries, names of men designated and required to work in road precinct, name of overseer, and year for which overseer appointed. Arranged numerically by road precinct number.

Please contact the Archives to view.

Road Book Precinct 3, 1898-1902


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