The office of County Clerk has been in existence in Texas since 1836, superseding the “escribano” of Spanish-Mexican rule. The Texas Constitution, Section 20, Article 5 provides:
“There shall be elected for each county, by qualified voters, a County Clerk, who shall hold his office for four years, who shall be clerk of the County and Commissioners Courts and recorder of the county, whose duties, perquisites and fees of office shall be prescribed by the Legislature and a vacancy in whose office shall be filled by the County Commissioners Court until the next general election; provided that in counties having a population of less than 8,000 there may be an election of a single Clerk who shall perform the duties of District and County Clerks.”
The county clerk is the record keeper and Registrar for the county, Commissioners Court, County Court and County Courts at Law.
Duties of the County Clerk include recording and filing instruments that prove ownership or interest in real property, instruments concerning the identity of persons and commercial activities; misdemeanor criminal cases; civil cases from $500 to $250,000 depending on jurisdictional limits set by statute; probate court; data collection for reporting to several state and local agencies including the County Auditor, County Treasurer, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Department of Public Safety, Attorney General, Supreme Court of Texas and Office of Court Administration.
Additional duties include: recording cattle brands, records management, filing retired Notary records, Clerk for Juvenile Board, and Clerk for the Commissioner’s Court.