“free white inhabitants,” etc. in mid-1850s city incorporation acts (Gammel’s Laws of Texas)

Galveston, August 1856.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That all free white inhabitants of the city of Galveston shall continue to be a body politic and corporate by the name of the Mayor, Aldermen and inhabitants of the city of Galveston, and by that name they and their successors shall have exercise and enjoy all the rights immunities, powers privileges and franchises and shall be subject to all the duties and obligations now appertaining and incumbent on said city as a corporate, or incumbent upon the inhabitants or officers thereof, and may ordain and establish such acts, laws, ordinances and regulations, not inconsistent with the constitution or laws of this State as shall be needful to the good order of said body politic, and under the shall be known in law …

“An Act to consolidate in one act and to amend the several acts incorporating the city of Galveston” (August 27, 1856), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 142/688 (link).

Sec. 33. That every free white male inhabitant of said city who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall have rented at least twelve months previous to the day of election, within the limits of the city of Galveston, and who shall have paid all taxes which shall have been assessed against him by or under the authority of the city council, shall have and possess the right to vote at the election of Mayor and Aldermen, and other elective officers of said city.

“An Act to consolidate in one act and to amend the several acts incorporating the city of Galveston” (August 27, 1856), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 154/700 (link).

San Antonio, July 1856.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the inhabitants of the city of San Antonio, as the same is hereby and hereafter laid out, and their successors, are hereby constituted a corporation and body politic in fact and in law, by the name and title of the city of San Antonio …

Sec. 3. The city of San Antonio shall be divided into four wards, the boundaries thereof shall be fixed by the City Council hereinafter created, and may be by said Council changed from time to time, as they shall see fit, having regard to the number of free white male inhabitants, so that each ward shall contain, as near as may be, the same number of qualified electors for city elections, and the Mayor and board of Aldermen may establish new wards when they may deem it necessary or expedient.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 1, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 4-5/550-551 (link).

Section 1. The Mayor and City Council shall have power by ordinance, and for municipal purposes:

1st. To levy and collect taxes upon all property made taxable by law for State purposes; … also a poll tax of one dollar each on all free white male inhabitants, over the age of twenty-one years, who do not pay a tax to at least that amount on property ….

27th. To regulate the conduct of slaves and free persons of color.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 3, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 9/556 (link). and ibid. 11/557.

Sec. 6. Every free male white person, over the age of 21 years, who shall have resided six months within the city limits, and one month within the ward where he offers to vote, shall be entitled to vote at all city elections.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 5, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 19/565 (link).

Sec. 7. The present Mayor and City Council shall exercise all the powers and functions vested in the Mayor and Council by this act, until superseded by the officers elected under the same, and they shall, also, as soon as practicable, after this act goes into effect, proceed to take an enumeration of the free, white, male inhabitants of the city, and to divide said city into wards as herein before prescribed, so that the next city election, to be holden, on the fourth Monday in December next, may be held according to the provisions of this charter.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 7, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 21/567 (link).

Indianola (September 1, 1856)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the following described limits, to wit: beginning at the mouth of Powder Horn Bayou in Matagorda Bay, … thence with said Bayou to the place of beginning, be and the same, with the inhabitants therein, is hereby created a body politic and corporate, under the name and style of the town of Indianola …

Sec. 3. … No person shall be eligible to any town office unless he be a free white male citizen, over twenty-one years of age, and who shall be a free holder or householder within the corporate limits, and resident therein for at least six months preceding the election. No person shall be allowed to vote for town officers unless he be a free white male resident, over twenty one years of age, and shall have resided at least three months within the corporate limits, and shall have paid a town tax on real estate, or a town poll tax of fifty cents; …

Sec. 4. The Mayor and Alderman shall constitute the Town Council … the council shall have the power to pass all ordinances necessary for the government and well-being of the town … they may also collect an annual poll tax on every white male resident of the town over twenty-one years of age, who shall have resided three months within the corporation, provided, that such person shall not have paid a tax on real estate, and provided further, that no such person shall be compelled to pay said poll tax, unless he desires to vote in the town election.

“An Act to incorporate the Town of Indianola” (September 1, 1856), in in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 303/849 (link).

Ibid. 304/850.

Ibid. 305/851.

Belleville (February 1856)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of (the State of) Texas, That the citizens of the town of Belleville, in Austin county, be and they are hereby declared a body politic and corporate under the name and style of the town of Belleville. … (396)

Sec. 6. All free white males of and over the age of twenty years, who have been resident citizens within the limits of the corporation one month next preceding any election, and who are otherwise legal voters of the State of Texas, shall be entitled to vote for officers of said corporation. … (397)

Sec. 9. The council shall have power to enact such rules, ordinances and regulations as they may deem sufficient for the proper government and improvement of the town and preservation of good order within the corporate limits … They may compel all free white male citizens between eighteen and forty-five years of age, and all male slaves and other persons of color over sixteen and under sixty years of age, residents of said corporation, to work on the squares, roads and streets, provided such persons shall not be compelled to work more than six days in one year. … (398)

“An Act to incorporate the Town of Belleville” (February 7, 1856) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 303/849 (link).

Austin (February 9, 1857)

Sec. 2. That the inhabitants of the City of Austin, as the same extends and is laid out above, be, and they and their successors are, hereby constituted a corporation and body politic, in fact, and in law, by the name and style of the City of Austin… (401)

Sec. 3. That the City of Austin shall be divided into eight wards, the boundaries thereof shall be fixed by the city council, and be by the council changed from time to time as they shall see fit, having regard  to the number of free white male inhabitants, so that each ward shall contain as near as may be, the same number of free white male inhabitants. (401)

Sec. 7. That the Mayor and City council shall have power within the City by ordinance. … 30th. To provide for the taking of an enumeration of the inhabitants of the City. … 37th. To lay and collect a poll tax not exceeding fifty cents upon every free white male person over 21 years of age, who shall have resided six months within the City. (403, 405)

… The present city Council shall exercise all of the powers and functions vested in the Council under this Act until superseded under the same, and they shall as soon as practicable after the passage of this Act, proceed to take an enumeration of the free white male inhabitants of the City, and to divide the City into wards as prescribed by the same, and provide for elections conformably to the same. (413)

“An Act to incorporate the City of Austin” (February 9, 1857), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 102/400 (link).

Woodville (August 18, 1856)

Sec. 6. All free white males of, and over the age of twenty years, who may have been resident citizens within the limits of said corporation for one month next preceding any election, and who may in other respects be legal voters of the State of Texas, shall be entitled to vote for all officers of said corporation. (635)

Sec. 9. The common Council shall have power to enact such rules, ordinances and regulations as they may deem sufficient for the proper government and improvement of the town and preservation of good order within the corporate limits thereof … they may compel all free white male citizens between the age of sixteen and forty-five years, and all male slaves and free negroes over fifteen and under sixty years of age, who are residents of said corporation, to work on the public streets, squares and alleys of the same; provided, such persons shall not be compelled to work on any road beyond the limits of said corporation. (635, 636)

“An Act to incorporate the town of Woodville” (August 18, 1856) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 88/634 (link).

LaGrange (February 13, 1854)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the people of the town of LaGrange, in the county of Fayette be, and they are hereby declared a body politic and corporate, under the name and style of the Town of LaGrange …. (146)

Sec. 7. Every free white male of twenty-one years of age, being a citizen of the United States, who may have resided for six months next preceding an election within the limits of said corporation, shall be deemed a qualified elector under this charter. (147, 148)

“An Act to Incorporate the Town of LaGrange in the County of Fayette” (February 13, 1854) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 146 (link).