The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 408
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The Southwester Historical Quarterly
rolls items that would be of interest. But, they were not accessible,
having been stored in the old jail at the time the new court house
was under construction. I then applied to the comptroller's office
at Austin, and was told that the records sought for, were there,
but upon investigation I learned that they were in a bad condi-
tion, being not only yellow from age, but that insects had ravaged
among their figures, and they could only be studied and satis-
factorily deciphered by the aid of a magnifying glass. Under
these adverse conditions, I have been unable to do more than
approximate the financial status of the county, during the nine
years of its corporate existence as a part of the Republic of Texas,
and have culled from the mutilated data a few items which are
In the treasury department, office of the commissioner of reve-
nue, is the sworn statement of John W. Moore, first Sheriff of
Harris County, to the effect that "the amount of nine thousand
six hundred and forty two 44/100 dollars is all the taxes collected
by me for the year 1837." This was sworn to and subscribed be-
fore E. L. Stickney, acting commissioner of revenue at Austin, on
August 13, 1840-a fair showing for a new county in a country
just emerging from revolution. A steady rise in values continued
until the crest of prosperity was reached in 1841, when official
returns showed the total amount of $12,218.45 assessed. But the
next year the curve of decline was so sharp as to indicate a panic,
and such there really was. The two Mexican invasions of that
year necessitated a call "to arms," and the able-bodied men of the
county again went into the field in defense of Texas. It is not
surprising to find that the list of taxable property handed in for
assessment amounted to but little in excess of one-fourth of that
of the previous year, to be exact, the small sum of $3,116.40.9
In this assessment were included 1,039,239 acres of land valued
at $789,515, 1068 town lots at $279,818. Among the assessed
property were 287 negroes over ten years old, and 151 under that
age; 1 stud horse, 373 work horses, $300.00 at interest, 5779 head
of cattle, 9 pleasure carriages, 19 wooden clocks, 3 metal clocks,
17 silver watches and 21 gold watches.
The generally disturbed condition of the whole country on ac-
9The report was made by W. R. Baker, Chief Clerk, Harris County, and
Assessor, before A. P. Thompson, Chief Justice, on November 30, 1842.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/414/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.