Texarkana, TX Bowie County Courthouse Fire, Jan 1889

Texarkana’s Burnt Courthouse.

Negligence of the Commissioners’ Court Is Charged-It Was Incendiary Work.

Texarkana, Tex., Jan. 23.-It is now charged, on unquestioned authority, that the commissioners’ court is innocently responsible for the loss of the Bowie county records in Monday morning’s fire. It is well known that the quarters in which the court did its business, and in which its various offices were situated, has long been deemed far from safe, for more reasons than one, and many, at least several, predictions of fire destroying them have been lately made. County Clerk W.H. Elliott informed The News correspondent today that he had often of recent date requested the commissioners to permit him to remove to safe quarters, quarters to be fitted up and used at his own expense, but to all his appeals the last of which was made only a few days ago, they turned a deaf ear. Acting on the advice of his attorney, however, he was arranging to “take the bull by the horns” and on Feb. 1 move anyhow, when Monday’s conflagration rendered further preparations unnecessary. Everyone is at sea concerning the question of duplicating the lost documents. The universal verdict is, of course, that it is impossible, further than the real estate department is concerned, the hope for its replacement resting upon the abstract office of a firm who had but comparatively recently made it complete. Rumor says that the owners of this “pearl of great price” will insist upon the county buying it complete from their hands, and continuing said rumor informs the public that the county will not get that property for any mere song, the various prices placed upon it being all the way from $25,000 to $100,000. Motives for burning down the courthouse are not wanting. The chief of these so far as expression has been made, would appear to lay the guilt upon some the [illegible] army of 150 parties, most of whom were out on bale and were booked for trial at the court, which was to have been convened yesterday. All papers referring to the cases were destroyed along with [rest of article illegible]

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 24 Jan 1889



Texarkana was the Bowie county seat from 1887 until 1889, when the county seat moved to Boston, Texas (now Old Boston, Texas). The county seat moved to New Boston, Texas in 1985.

From the Handbook of Texas Online: Bowie County --

Shortly before Texarkana ceased being the county seat, the courthouse burned and almost all the county records were destroyed.