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HAMILTON COUNTY COURTHOUSES

 

The town of Hamilton has always had a square, but the first court house  was not erected until 1878. Hamilton courthouses have included:

1. Livery station--1858 to 1863-- destroyed by fire, September, 1863. (Purchased from Levy Terry)

2. James Monroe Rice’s store--23 September, 1863--31 March, 1867

3. Jones Store House--1 April, 1867--4 April, 1869 - (Owned by G. W. Loyd)

4. Hamilton School House--5 April, 1869--1871

5. Second floor of F. M. Graves & Company stone building, 1871--17 March, 1877--destroyed by fire (The county paid  $300 per year to rent this space.)

6. South room of Crescent Saloon, owned by G. H. Goodson--5 April, 1877-1878

7. First Courthouse opened 11 March, 1878--destroyed by fire 2 February, 1886.  

Cost: $11,559. This courthouse was built with native stone in  eight months. This two- story courthouse had a foundation two  and one half feet deep, a fireproof vault, and four fireplaces on 

the first floor with flues for stoves on the second floor.

In the Spring of 1883 a 190 feet square white fence was erected  around the court house at a cost of $989.50. Before the end of the summer a chain was added around the fence to which  horses could be hitched.

Following the loss of this courthouse on 5 February, 1886, the residents of southwestern Hamilton County petitioned for an  election to consider moving the courthouse nearer them. The 

proposed town site of the new countyseat was eight miles south of Hamilton near Shive on the John Dillard Hunt ranch. 

This movement drew much support and an election to consider relocating the county seat was called for 4 May, 1886. In an effort to retain Hamilton as the countyseat, Hamilton County 

Commissioners, Simpson Loyd, A. J. Forester, R. Stinnett, J. P. Grundy, and County Judge C. W. Cotton negotiated an agreement with the voters of the southern part of the county to allow the future Mills County to have a strip of land along the southern  border of Hamilton County moving the county line from Sims Creek, seven miles south of Center City to McGirk. In the election  Hamilton received 878 votes, "Pegtown" (near Shive) received 689  votes, and Piggtown (Aleman) received 3 votes.

8. Space rented from F. M. Groves to hold court until courthouse  could be rebuilt. February, 1886--February 1887.  

This was probably an upstairs room on the NW corner of the square in a building occupied by J. M. Williams and Sons Hardware which collapsed in December, 1976. The county judge, sheriff, and a few other county officials moved their offices to the stone jail.

9. Second Courthouse, 22 February, 1887--

 

Hamilton County Courthouse, 
February, 1887

 

Original cost: $30,700. Courthouse was constructed with native limestone.

Cost of extensive remodeling 1932: $55,754. The limestone came from the area which became the city dump grounds for many years. Voters decided on 28 February, 1931, to approve bonds of add wings on the north and the south sides of the 1887 courthouse and to add a basement. Confident that the bond would pass, the Commissioners Court had already started digging the basement before the bonds were approved. Remodeling began in 1931and was completed and occupied by 13 June, 1932. During the remodeling Courthouse activities were conducted at:

 

a. A movie house

b. An office building

c. A former barber shop

d. Upstairs over a drugstore

 

HAMILTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 1934 HAMILTON COUNTY NEWS

 

 
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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress