Historic Burning of Court House

The loss of many records of the early years of Wood County, Texas resulted from the burning twice of the County Courthouse in Quitman. The following act of the Wood County Commissioner’s Court is an official reference to the first of these fires in 1878.

“Whereas in the burning of the Court House on the 11th day of December A. D. 1878, all the books and records of the County Treasurer’s office, and all other books showing the financial condition of the County, having been destroyed; it is therefore, for the purpose of enabling this Court to make out a statement of the financial condition of the County as required by law, ordered by the Court that all claims or warrants issued upon the County Treasurer of Wood County, by competent authority, prior to said 11th day of December 1878, be presented to the clerk of the County Court of Wood County, on or before the 1st day of November next, and that said claims be registered by said clerk as presented to him, in the Minutes of this Court, showing the date of each claim, the amount of the claim, upon what fund drawn to whom issued and the registered number of them Treasurer where such claims have been registered. It is further ordered that notice hereof be given as required by
Sec. 9 of “An Act to organize Commissioners’ Court, and to define their jurisdiction and duties, and provide for vacancies therein”, approved July 22, 1876.”

– Copied from the May 2011 “Window to the Past”
Newsletter of the Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records (OPHGR) of Canton, Van Zandt County, Texas, Patsy Vinson & Betty Miller, editors.

Regarding the Wood County Courthouse Fire December 11, 1878:
From Volume 1, Page 1, of the Civil Minutes of the District Court of Wood County, Texas: January 27, 1879
“This is the first Minute Books used after the fire which occurred in the morning of the 11th of December, A. D. 1878, at about 2 o’clock in the night, and which resulted in Destruction of the Courthouse and all the papers and records contained therein, said house is supposed to have been set on fire by some incendiary, but no one has been able to trace it to the purpertrator (sic) up to this date. Great was the loss in said fire to both private individuals and the officers of this county. District Court was in session at the time.” (This was from a newsletter entry labeled “Miscellaneous Tidbits from the Late Ona Wood’s Notes”, 1994 Volume, July Issue, Newsletter No. 35, page 50.)

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One Response

  1. I have recently compiled a pictorial history of Rains County, Images of America : Rains County, published by Arcadia Publishing Co. and released in June 2011. The book is for sale at amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. I used a photograph of a family on one of the chapter pages since I wasn’t sure who they are and can’t find my notes. I keep thinking that it was a Tarbutton family.

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