New Wood County Research Resources

Three books of abstracts of Wood County records have been at to the society’s Genealogy Research Room at the Quitman Public Library.

Wood County Unclaimed Marriages 1890 to 1960s is a listing of marriage certificates at the Wood County Courthouse in Quitman which have never been picked up. The data of names and dates duplicates some in our bound books of county marriages also in the research room, but these are actual certificates housed at the courthouse in the basement (at the time of the research for the book published in 2008). The certificates are “gradually fading away due to age and climate conditions” according to Patsy Vinson, president of the Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records (OPHGR) which published all three of these new books.Proof of relationship to the persons on the certificate is required to pickup a copy at the courthouse.

Mechanic’s Liens of Wood County, Texas Volume A names individuals and businesses involved in buying and selling of items such as building materials for houses and equipment and the terms of loans to secure the transactions. The book is indexed. The information was compiled by Laverne Howard Wyatt and pubished in 2009.

Misdemeanor Guilty Pleas of Wood County, Texas -1892-1946 Volumes 1 to 4 lists names of those who so plead, fines, jail times, and the nature of the criminal offense. Jail times ranged from none to minutes to multiple days. Some of the crimes included assaults, gaming, abusive language, killing quail out of season, and killing fish. The book is also indexed. The author is Patsy Vinson, and the book was published in 2008.

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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