Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harrison County Texas Courthouses: Then and Now

Now this is what I call a beautiful structure. It was built in 1900 and designed by Riely Gordon. It was built after the last Harrison County Courthouse burned. I have seen several courthouses in Texas and this is one of my favorites.

The last time I was in Marshall I did not get to tour the part that I wanted to tour. They were at that time remodeling and getting ready to house the Harrison County Historical Museum as a permanent fixture.

This photo below shows the Harrison County Courthouse burning on June 7, 1899. According to the information in the Marshall County Library, materials left by a repairman working on the roof caught fire. A Marshall-lite James Higgins did the construction. The building was designed in the Second Empire style, with a 275-foot tower, brick walls, sandstone trim, and Italianate detailing.

I wonder what records that may have possibly been destroyed in that fire. My ancestors Charles and Elizabeth Tolliver Dixon were located in the 1870 and 1880 census. My 3rd great-grands Joseph and Lucy Tolbert were also listed in the census. Both couples may have had marriage records housed in that building. I have not been able to locate those records so it is quite possible.

This is the newest Courthouse. This is more of a modern structure. It is located across the street in walking distance from the old Courthouse.

I visited this courthouse twice. Each time I was overwhelmed by the amount of people using the facilities. I was told that the majority of people on both of those times were people looking through the land records trying to find heirs for oil leases. All the spaces to work were taken up and they were not about leave. LOL

I had to show my drivers license,(the counter person took a picture)in order for her to look up marriage records behind the counter. I for the sake of me can't understand that theory on records were we were not allowed to look in the index ourselves. The index book was for records in the 1890 plus or minus a few years era.

I found a marriage record/affidavit of a Mariah Wells and Lawrence Taylor who I believe are my gr-grandmother and her husband. The marriage was performed by Minister Daniel Morse. I would have paid dearly for that copy even though I found that copies were extremely expensive if you had more than a few that you wanted.

Maybe the next trip to Marshall I will be able to take a Digital Camera, visit both places and come out with a multitude of records reflecting the lives of my ancestors.


Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Wow, you hear about burned courthouses all the time, but this is the first time I've actually seen a picture of one. Thanks for sharing.

Ms Vicky said...

You are so very welcome Amy, and thanks for stopping by.