Houston County to host open house

Photo courtesy of Houston County Web site
Photo courtesy of Houston County Web site

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - CROCKETT, TX (Press release) - In celebration of County Government Month, officials of Houston County invite the public to attend an open house on Tuesday, April 13.  The event will be held in the Commissioners Courtroom on the South Side of the Square in Crockett from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

The event will feature the unveiling of an 1868 map of Houston County.  The map is a gift to the citizens of Houston County from Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.  It is a duplicate of a historic map which is part of the collection in the General Land Office in Austin.

"Citizens who are interested in our local history will really enjoy seeing this beautiful map," commented County Judge Lonnie Hunt.  "It has been framed for us by Mary Sue Mullins of Picture Perfect in Crockett, and we are looking forward to displaying it to the public.  We will also have on display a photocopy from the State Archives of the original order creating Houston County, signed by Sam Houston."

"County Government Month is a good time to encourage our citizens to take an active interest in their county government, and to focus on the important role the county plays in their lives," he added.  "We invite everyone to join us at the open house Tuesday afternoon, visit with their elected officials, and ask questions.  Refreshments will be served."

In Texas, county government is an extension of the state government.  The structure of county government is spelled out in the Texas Constitution, which makes counties functional agents of the state.

The origin of Texas county government can be traced back to "municipalities," the local unit of government under Spanish and Mexican rule. The municipalities were large areas embracing one or more settlements and the surrounding rural territory.  In 1835, as part of Mexico, Texas was divided into three departments and 23 municipalities.

When Texas won its independence in 1836, the 23 municipalities became counties.  Houston County was the first new county created by the Congress of the Republic of Texas, established on June 12, 1837, and named for President Sam Houston.  Originally, Houston County was much larger than it is today, encompassing all of present-day Anderson and Trinity Counties, most of present-day Henderson County, and portion of present-day Polk County. When Texas became a state in 1845, there were 36 counties.  By the time Texas entered the Confederacy in 1861, there were 122 counties.  Following the Civil War, a new Constitution was adopted and the number of counties increased steadily until there were 254 counties in 1931.