The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 37
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The Municipality of Harrisburg, 1835-1836
The terminal dates of the Municipality of Harrisburg are even
more ambiguous than its boundaries. It is certain, however, that
during the Mexican period of Texas history, there was no such
municipality. What is now Harris County was then included
within the limits of the Jurisdiction or Municipality of Austin
and was divided into one or more precincts of that municipality.
The Precinct of San Jacinto was the oldest of these.4 As early as
July 3, 1835, however, there was a Precinct of Harrisburg."
Whether this was simply the Precinct of San Jacinto renamed or
a separate and distinct precinct the writer cannot say. Three
months later, the area was called the Jurisdiction of Harrisburg.,
At that time Christian Smith, who lived in the Cedar Bayou
neighborhood, was sindico procurador.7 The first reference that
the writer is able to find to the term Municipality of Harrisburg
is in the journal of the Consultation of October 16, 1835.8 There-
after, the area was usually but not invariably called by that name
until late summer of 1836. The word municipality as used here
was not a town; it was roughly equivalent to a present-day county.
In the past 116 years the face of the country within the Mu-
nicipality of Harrisburg has changed little except for the veneer
of houses, buildings, asphalt, concrete, and the other evidences
of what is now termed material progress. Within the historical
memory but long before the eighteenth century the last signifi-
cant geological change in the area had taken place. What is called
Buffalo Bayou had once been the mouth of the Brazos River,
but before the Anglo-American occupation of Texas the river
had cut its present course to the south.9 Indeed, the geography
of the area in 1835 was substantially that of the present day.
To be sure the once beautiful waterways have been turned into
4As early as 1828. See Eugene C. Barker (ed.), "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of
San Felipe de Austin, 1828-1832," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXI, 307.
5Darius Gregg, agent and attorney of James Lindley, to George M. Patrick, July
3, 1835, in Deed Records of Harris County (MSS. in County Clerk's Office, Hous-
ton), A, 76-77.
6Election certificates of Clement C. Dyer and Lorenzo de Zavala, October 8, 1835,
in Election Returns (MSS. in Archives, Texas State Library).
7R. B. Blake (ed.), Selected Letters and Papers of Judge Charles S. Taylor of
Nacogdoches, Texas (typescript in possession of L. W. Kemp, Houston), I, 47.
sGammel, Laws, I, 557-
9Houston Democratic Telegraph and Texas Register, February 9, 1849.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/55/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.