Mayors of Corsicana
Navarro County, Texas


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Researched by W. P. Murchison, Mayor of Corsicana
April 1969 - April 1971
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", Vol. XIX, 1974
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

 

The mayor of a city is a highly regarded and honorable individual whom people generally admire.  His title comes from the Latin word "maior," meaning "greater," and it designates him as the head of his city's government.  In England he is the Lord Mayor, or Mayor, in France he is the "Maire," in Spain the "Alcalde," in Germany the "Burgermeister," in Italy the "Sindaco," and in some Latin-American rural areas "El Presidente."  But with varying degrees of authority, the job is the same, the world.  He is the number one man, or Boss, of the city government.  He presides over council or commission meetings, he appoints subordinate city officers, he can preside as judge over the corporation court, and he represents the city in public business or social affairs.  Today, in most cities he appoints a city manager who attends to most of the administrative details of the city.  In a few instances where the mayor puts in full time on the job, he draws a substantial salary, but generally the position is more honorary than remunerative, as in Corsicana where the charter provides $7.50 per meeting twice a month.  Sometimes mayor are accused of surreptitious or dishonest dealings.  So far as I know, this is not so.  In the first place, the city has a very careful and detailed audit each year.  Secondly, all the mayors of Corsicana have been honorable and high minded persons who have rendered their time and efforts as a public service to the city.  The actions and history of the mayors is inseparable from the history of the city, so let's go back to the beginning when Corsicana was first organized.

By an act of the 2nd Legislature of Texas, January 12, 1848, a five man committee, composed of Thomas I Smith, William F. Henderson, Ethan Melton, James Johnson, and James M. Riggs, was appointed to select the location of a county seat for Navarro County.  This they did on February 25, 1848, choosing the present site, just east of the old Richardson settlement.  The original townsite was a 100 acre tract, donated by David R. Mitchell and his partners, Thomas I. Smith and J. C. Neill.  Starting from scratch in 1848 there was not much town, just a few straggling settlers.  The nearest thing to a city government was the group of four men who sent under the title, "Commissioners of the Town of Corsicana."  Their duty was to map the town and sell town lots.  Any other local services were performed by the County Commissioners.  The town commission operated for 23 years, each member of equal rank, with no mayor.  For six years numerous transactions appeared on courthouse records, but during the remaining seventeen years nothing appeared on record to indicate the commission even existed.  Annie Carpenter Love stated to have a mayor and six aldermen.  Evidently the town did not take advantage of this authority, as nothing shows of record and, later in her book, Mrs. Love wrote that the first mayor was appointed in 1871.  Some references state the town had 1200 population in 1860, but the Federal census does not show anything, and in my opinion the town was much smaller, with many of the 1200 living outside the city limits, hence it was too small to need a city government.

But Corsicana did have growing pains.  On November, 17, 1859, R. A. Van Horn, editor of the Navarro County Express, wrote:

[ Note Page 3 Missing, I will post it if I can find a copy ...elw]

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Also the paper complained of high city salaries and excessive fines.  On Oct. 14, 1871 the "Observer" published the Charter of the City of Corsicana, passed by the legislature the previous May 31.  City limits were set at one square mile; the governor was authorized to appoint a mayor at a salary of not over $100.00 per month, a marshal, a treasurer, and 5 aldermen, to hold terms for one year, with annual elections held each first Tuesday in November when the general elections were held.  Tax rate was set at 1/2 of 1 percent of assessed value.  So in an order dated 1871 Gov. Davis appointed Ira. P. Taylor as the first mayor of Corsicana.

 

THE MAYORS OF CORSICANA

Ira P. Taylor, 1871

G. W. Smith, 1871

Thomas J. Haynes, Nov 1872 - Nov. 1875

James L. Harle, Nov 1875 - Nov 1877

John L. Miller, Nov. 1877 - 1880

L. R. Irons, Nov 1880 - Nov 1883

John R. Smith, Nov. 1883 - Nov 1885

Robert Scott Neblett, Nov. 1885 - April 1888

Charles Henry Allyn, April 1888 - April 1890

Jesse Franklin Stout, April 1890 - April 1892

Jink Evans, April 1892 - April 1894

James Emerson Whiteselle, April 1894 - April 1898

James Hollins Woods, April 1898 - April 1900

Samuel Wister Johnson, April 1900 - April 1902

Edwin O. Call, April 1902 - April 1905

Edward Albert Johnson, April 1905 - April 1909

Baldwin H. Woods, Jr., April 1909 - April 1913

Joshua Lucius Halbert, April 1913 - April 1923

Jesse Shain Eubanks, April 1923 - April 1925

John Smith Murchison, April 1925 - April 1929 & April 1935 - October 1940

Robert Lloyd Wheelock, April 1929 - April 1931

J. Wesley Edens, April 1931 - April 1935

John C. Calhoun, October 1940 - April 1947

Hubert Thomas Braselton, April 1947 - April 1951

Ben Franklin Blackmon, April 1951 - April - 1953

Charles C. Sapp, April 1953 - April 1955

Thomas Walter Erwin, April 1955 - April 1957

J. Thomas Eady, April 1957 - April 1959

Robert S. Reading, April 1959 - April 1965

Dr. Calvin David Campbell, April 1965 - April 1967

Hermon Lorenzo Roberts, April 1967 - 1969

William Polk Murchison, April 1969 - April 1971

Sue Youngblood, April 1971 - 1974

Wilson Griffin [?]  (1999)

April Sikes (2001 - 2003)

J. Waterman (2004 - 2004)

Buster Brown (2004 - current)

The foregoing 34 citizens have been the mayors of Corsicana, but this report does not begin to include all of their official acts, simply because records and information are lacking.  While all due credit should be given to the mayors for their services, let it be remembered that there are also 4 city commissioners, each of whom has one vote equal to that of the mayor.  Also there is a city manager, who is the full time administrator for the City.  Nevertheless, the mayor is the head of the City government, he presides at all meetings, and he sets the administrative policy for the City.  There have been 10 lawyers, 5 industrialists, 3 oil operators, 3 landowners, 2 doctors, 2 office managers, 2 insurance agents, 1 banker, 1 car dealer, 1 druggist, 1 grocer, 1 retailer, and 1 labor leader.  All have been good American citizens, and it give me a feeling of awe to be included with them on the roster of mayors.  As long as we have our elective form of city government, headed by a mayor, Corsicana will be a good city in which to live, because under our system, the mayor is a servant of all the people.

 

APPOINTMENT OF FIRST MAYOR, CITY OF CORSICANA, TEXAS

Know Ye, that I, Edmond J. Davis, Governor of the State of Texas, in full confidence in loyalty, integrity of Ira P. Taylor, do by virtue of the authority vested in me by the constitution and laws of said state, constitute and appoint the said Ira P. Taylor Mayor of Corsicana for Navarro County in state of Texas, giving and hereby granting to him, said Ira P. Taylor, All the rights, privileges, and appertaining and testaments whereat I have hereunto signed by name and cause the great seal of the state to be affixed in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred seventy-one. (Signed) Edmond J. Davis, Governor of Texas

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Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox