Duval County Sheriff authorized to use convicts to clear crossing at creek

Judge James O. Luby
Concerned about the crossing at the San Diego Creek, the Duval County Commissioners in 1877 ordered that the sheriff to use convict labor to improve the crossing across from the courthouse. Sheriff R. P. Fly was to seek the advice and consent of County Judge James Luby when using the convicts.

The court directed the sheriff to keep the convicts at “hard labor” fixing the crossing and approaches. In addition, convicts were to remove stakes and corrals obstructing the crossing. The sheriff could credit the convicts for one day’s work for every nine hours of labor. He could also purchase all the necessary equipment to get the job done.

If convict labor was not sufficient to complete the job, the court authorized the sheriff to use road crews to help with the project. Under no circumstances, however, were road crews compelled to work with the convicts.

Commissioners also appointed County Surveyor John J. Dix as sole commissioner to represent the county in working with Starr, Zapata and Encinal Counties in establishing the southern and western boundaries of Duval County. The court authorized Dix to enter into the agreements necessary to effectuate this matter.

The commissioners also directed Surveyor Dix to locate and obtain patents to all lands that the county was entitled to for school purposes. The court agreed to pay Dix fees allowed by law for this purpose.

Finally, the court ordered Dix to cut and establish all approved roads in the county. The court also directed the surveyor to place mileposts on the roads and to use road crews as necessary to get the job done.

In other business at its August 1877 meeting, Commissioners Court agreed to give County Judge Luby a pay raise of $300 annually, from $200 to $500. The court also accepted the resignation of Justice of the Peace for Pct. 2 Saul Tinney and tabled action on the appointment of a county physician.

At the court’s subsequent meeting, commissioners named Eugene A. Glover to replace Tinney as Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace.

The court also approved the payment of a $250 for the “apprehension and delivery to the proper officers at the courthouse door in San Diego of each and every party implicated in the murders of Girtman and Poppell.” Unknown parties had murdered the two sheep buyers in the county.