Brownsville in Cameron County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Federal Court Site
Built 1850 by Wm. C. Douglas, who arrived with Gen. Zachary Taylor during Mexican War.
In 1852 by order of U. S. Congress, first Federal Court in Brownsville was held in back room here by Judge John Watrous.
Erected by Texas Historical Survey Committee.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Notable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #12 Zachary Taylor series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1850.
Location. 25° 54.066′ N, 97° 29.883′ W. Marker is in Brownsville, Texas, in Cameron County. Marker is at the intersection of East Elizabeth Street and East 12th Street (Business U.S. 77), on the left when traveling south on East Elizabeth Street. Marker and Texas Historical Medallion are mounted at eye-level, directly on the subject building, at the southeast corner of the intersection, facing East Elizabeth Street. Touch for map. Marker Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Celaya Building (a few steps from this marker); Bollack Department Store (within shouting distance of this marker); San Román Building (within shouting distance of this marker); San Roman Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Manautou Building (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Public Market and Town Hall (about 400 feet away); Brownsville Home of Charles Stillman (about 500 feet away); Stillman House / Residencia Stillman (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brownsville.
Regarding Federal Court Site. Recorded Texas Historical Landmark (1965). This former court house site is currently occupied by a retail jewelry store.
Also see . . .
1. History of the Southern District of Texas. On March 4, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed "a bill to divide the State of Texas into four judicial districts," creating the Southern District of Texas. The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, to hold court in Galveston, with jurisdiction over the whole state. Judge Watrous had been Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district. Judge Watrous and Judge Thomas H. DuVal, of the Western District of Texas, left the state on the secession of Texas from the Union, the only two United States Judges not to resign their posts in states that seceded. When Texas was restored to the Union, Watrous and DuVal resumed their duties and served until 1870. (Submitted on June 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. The History of the Southern District of Texas - The Brownsville Division. This excellent professional video, produced by the Brownsville Historical Association and the Cameron County Bar Association, presents the history of the Southern District. At about 1 minute into the video, Judge John Watrous' first federal court session held on this corner in Brownsville is discussed. Another interesting topic: at the time Watrous was appointed in 1846, there were no roads or safe trails between Galveston and Brownsville, so Watrous had to travel by ship to conduct court in these two cities. (Submitted on June 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 29, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.