A Bird's Eye View of Your County
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
June 26, 2003

The origin of the Texas County is found in the "municipality", the unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule.  These municipalities were rather large districts embracing one or more settlements and the surrounding rural territory.  The government of the municipality was vested in an ayuntamiento  (council) composed of at least one alcalde (judge), varying number of regadores (alderman) a sindico procurador (attorney), and alguacil (sheriff), and an escribano (secretary).

Under the Republic of Texas (1836) the municipalities became counties, but the Spanish-Mexican influence on their Government was negligible.  The new local Governments were based on the county as found in the southern part of the United States.  The chief governing body of the county during the Republic was a county board, composed of the Chief Justice (appointed by the President of the Republic and approved by Congress) and elective Justices of the Peace. In 1845 four elective commissioners were substituted for the Justices of the Peace.
(From the Handbook of Texas, The Texas State Historical Association)

In 1836 the population of San Antonio was 2000.   One can imagine that the population of Bexar was not much larger, although it did extend into Southern Wyoming during its earliest configuration.  Today Bexar County's population comes to 1.4 million. Hence the difference between the earlier simple structure and today's more complex organization. 

I hope the following diagram will assist you in understanding the dynamics as well the different agencies of our County Government. 

County Organizational Chart (PDF Document)

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