History of the Court
Galveston Island was discovered in 1519 by Juan Grijalva. A Spanish navigator, Jose Antonioi de Evia, surveyed Galveston Bay in 1783 and named it in honor of Count Jose Bernado de Galvez Gallardo.
Settlement was sporadic until Stephen F. Austin convinced the Mexican government in 1825 to establish a provisional port at Galveston, erect a customs house, and maintain a garrison to supply and defend future colonization efforts. David Burnet and Lorenzo de Zaval eventually received colonization contracts and established the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company on October 16th 1830. In 1834, Michel B. Menard bought the first claim in the island and is considered today to be the founder of the City of Galveston.
The County System of Government
The beginnings of county government can be traced to the municipality system established under Spanish and Mexican rule of Texas prior to 1836. A municipality was a large area of land incorporating several established settlements and the surrounding rural lands. After Texas achieved independence in 1836, municipalities became counties based on the system used predominately in the southern United States.
Galveston Formally Becomes a County
In 1838, the population of Galveston met the Republic's constitutional requirements and Congress passed an act on May 15th, 1838, establishing Galveston County. Fenton M. Gibson (later a County Judge) was immediately appointed chief justice, Jacob K. Beaumont, associate justice and John N. Reed served as justice of the peace until an election could be held. The election took place on the first Tuesday of September 1838, to select the President of the Republic, Vice President, Congressional representatives, and the county's new justice of the peace. Cephas B. Adams became the county's first elected official as justice of the peace. Oscar Farrish was appointed County Clerk, with William F. Wilson as sheriff. Since its birth Galveston County has had a colorful history, largely indomitable spirit and perseverance of its inhabits. It has survived natural disasters, wars, and epidemics. Numerous communities contribute to the unique cultural heritage and economic and economic diversity of Galveston County.
Galveston County Courthouse
722 Moody Avenue (21st Street)
Galveston, TX 77550