Duval Commissioners post reward for capture of murder suspect

The Duval County Commissioners Court met in special session in July 1878 and posted a $250 reward for the capture of Lorenzo Garza, also known as Gonzales or De Leon. Authorities suspected the man, by whatever name, in the murder of L. B. Sleaness (spelling is unclear in court minutes) and his nephew.

The court also paid Tiburcio de los Santos $2 for digging the grave and Victoriano Gomez $4 for making the coffin. While not directly reported in the minutes, it appears this were for the murder victims.

The only other item the court acted upon at the special meeting was to authorize County Judge James Luby to sign any contracts with Heldenfells to build and complete the county jail for $1,600.

The Commissioners Court spent most of their remaining 1878 meetings discussing and reconciling tax rolls for the years before the county’s organization. Other items came before them from time to time.

In August, commissioners accepted the resignation of Constable Lino Cuellar.

In September, a group of 42 citizens petitioned the Commissioners Court to place a measure on the upcoming election ballot that would require the move of the county seat from San Diego to an area within five miles of the geographic center of the county. The court rejected the request saying that the matter did not comply with the law requiring that the majority of the electors sign the petition. Moreover, the Commissioners Court said the request failed to comply with the Texas Constitution of 1875 provision regarding the establishment of the geographic center of the county.

During its December meeting, the Commissioners Court approved bonds for the winners of county office in the November 1878 election and County Judge James O. Luby administered the oath of office to Charles K. Gravis, Commissioner Pct. 1; P. W. Toklas, Commissioner Pct. 2; E. R. Gray, Commissioner Pct. 3; and E. H. Caldwell, Commissioner Pct. 4. County Clerk A. R. Vales then administered the oath to Luby, reelected on the November 5, 1878 election.

The court also approved bonds and administered oaths to Vales as County Clerk, Tax Assessor Frank C. Gravis; new Sheriff and Tax Collector Eugene A. Glover; Treasurer Charles Hoffman; Inspector of Hides Theodore Lamberton; new County Surveyor A. W. French; and County Attorney H. S. Lang.

The newly seated Commissioners Court also approved bonds and swore in precinct officials. Among the new precinct officials were Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 P. A. Matteson; Constable Pct. 1 P. Skaro; Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 H. Maas; Constable Pct. 2 Alejos Perez; Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 P. Vinning; Constable Pct. 3 George Palacios; Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Charles Roach; and Constable Pct. 4 Francisco Sanches.