ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Taylor County has been preserving and restoring official records and documents, with some dating back to when the county was first established in the late 1800s.
The county recently started digitizing records of actual pages, keeping more than a century of history all within arm’s reach.
Record books fill the Taylor County Clerk’s office, some so old they even predate the county itself.
“We have some records back to 1858,” County Clerk Larry Bevill says.
The archives chronicle Abilene’s founding families and the very first county meetings.
“That shows our lineage. That shows our genealogy, the history, what happened in Taylor County in any given day in time,” Bevill says.
It’s why county clerk Larry Bevill made it his mission to preserve both past and present.
“I was elected to serve the people of Taylor County and saving their historical records makes me very proud. I kind of think of it as my legacy,” Bevill says.
The records are sent to Dallas to be repaired, cleaned and put through an acid-removal process before being sealed in a polystyrene envelope.
“It is completely sealed in an aluminum shell. There are desk impacts here that suck the moisture out,” Bevill says.
It’s all done to keep these documents in the best condition for those who like to flip back in time.
“So how did the old commissioners court deal with these kinds of things. What did they do? How did they resolve this and that’s the beauty for me too. How I apply that to my job today,” Judge Downing Bolls says.
For Taylor County Judge Downing Bolls, combing through pages of old Commissioner’s Court meetings really brings the past to life.
“There’s something special about opening an old book of records and being able to run your hand across the page of the very first meeting of a County Commissioner’s Court,” Judge Bolls says.
It’s an experience that will continue as each restored book is placed back on the shelf.
So far, the county has completed projects like commissioners meeting minutes, civil court minutes, property records and more.
Each book costs about $2,500 to prepare and store, and is paid for through an archive fee.