The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000 Page: 66
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Historical List of Justices of the Peace, Dallas County, Texas 1846-2000
acted to administer county business, replacing the disbanded Commissioners Court. The Constitution of 1876 (still in
effect, with amendments, in 2000) reestablished the Commissioners Court and the original two-year terms for Justices.9
A partial list of historical events which influenced the position of Justice of the Peace is included as part of this document.
In this list, a question mark is utilized to indicate whenever the start or stop date for a term is uncertain, and each entry
includes source data to support conclusions about the office-holder and the dates served. There are a few instances when
there is simply no data available to determine who filled a JP office during a certain time period.
Beginning in the year 2000, this list will be maintained by the District Clerk's office; however, notice of any additional
information discovered to augment or correct this list will be appreciated by its original author.
HISTORICAL EVENTS AFFECTING THE JP POSITION
1845 Texas became a State in the Union Dec 29,1845, adopting the Constitution of 1845.
1846 Dallas County created from Nacogdoches and Robertson Counties.
Act passed for election of Dallas County officers, May 1846.
1861 Texas votes to secede from Union Feb 23, 1861, remaining part of the
Confederate States until 1865.
1864 County Commissioners named in 1864 and served until Provisional
Government of 1865 established.
1865 Reconstruction period - Texas back as part of the Union after May I, 1865.
1866 Constitutional Convention Jan 1866 produced the Constitution of 1866, which
restored a civil government "provisional" until state conforms to national guidelines.
Appointments to office under the Provisional Government from Aug 1865 to
July 1866. The Insurrection was over.
1867 Dallas County under "radical rule" (a.k.a. "Military Despotism") whereby all Democrats holding offices
in the State/County were removed by military order as impediments to Reconstruction and replaced by
1869 Reconstruction Constitution of 1869 lasted until Constitution of 1876
Provided that each County shall have five Justices,
one of whom shall reside after this election at the county seat,
not more than one of said should be a resident of the same
JP Precinct ... Office for four years...Justices of each County
shall constitute a court, like the previous County Commissioners
and Police Courts; the Justice who resides at the County seat
shall be the presiding judge.
[There would be no separate Commissioners Court positions
until the Constitution of 1876.]
Constitution made District and County Clerk one position
[restored to two separate positions again in 1876 under
Constitution of 1876.]
1876 Election held Feb 15, 1876 to approve a new Constitution which took effect
April 18, 1876. This Constitution, with amendments, remains in effect to date.
New Constitution of 1876 provided for elections for both Commissioners and JPs, and separated the
positions of District and County Clerks.
Under the Constitution of 187610:
Article V, Section 18, Terms of Justices of the Peace...
a) Each county in the State with a population of 18, 000 or
more, according to the most recent federal census,
from time to time, for the convenience of the people,
9 The term for JPs was changed from two to four years in 1954.
10 Texas Constitution details from the 1998-1999 Texas Almanac, (Dallas: Dallas Morning News, 1997), pp. 353-4.
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 46, 2000, periodical, June 2000; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186859/m1/72/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.