Partly printed document signed by President Sam Houston and Secretary of State Robert A. Irion

    [Broadside] Executive order signed by President Sam Houston and Secretary Of State Robert A. Irion commissioning J. Walker to the office of Justice of the Peace in Washington County. [Colombia or Houston] [Telegraph Press] June 12, 1837. [With heading:] In The Name And By The Authority Of The Republic Of Texas. One page, approximately 7.5" x 10". Signed and dated at end: Sam Houston, R A Irion, City of Houston, Twelfth day of June A.D. 1837. Both signatures are bold and vibrant, Houston's being particularly large and decorative.

    This partly printed form, used to commission an elected Justice of the Peace, is one of the first municipal actions made by Sam Houston during the early days as President of the newly born Republic of Texas. It names "J. [James] Walker as Justice of the Peace... in the county of Washington..."

    In December 1836, an Act Organizing Justices' Courts was passed providing ". . . there shall be elected, by the qualified electors of each militia captain's district, two justices of the peace for their respective districts, who shall be commissioned by the president, and shall hold their offices for a period of two years" (Laws Of The Republic Of Texas, Volume 1, p. 141, Section 1). At about the same time (December 10, 1836), the Republic of Texas adopted its official seal, composed of a star with the words "Republic of Texas" written in a circle around the star. This document brings those elements together in one rare decree.

    Signed by Houston and Irion just a few days after the city of Washington [on-the-Brazos] was officially incorporated (June 5, 1837) and became the first county seat. The first county elections were held in February 1837, and James Walker became one of the first two Justices Of The Peace in Washington County under the first laws of the Republic. (Republic of Texas Election Returns, Texas State Archives). The document bears a faint impression of the first seal of the Republic, making it all the more desirable.

    This is Walker's copy of his commission, showing light age toning overall. Small section of paper loss at right edge with some separation at folds (all professionally silked). In very good condition and exceedingly rare. From the collection of Darrel Brown.

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