ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- After he announced he would not seek re-election last year, Taylor County Clerk Larry Bevill is just days away from retirement. He is stepping down to spend time with his family. Bevill joined the office at the age of 22 in 1987 and became the County Clerk in 2005.

When asked if his job was ever dull, Bevill said, “no…no. At its basic core, we at the County Clerk’s offices are public servants.”

Bevill said he always gravitated towards history – a passion he was able to capitalize on at the clerk’s office. He and his staff oversee the issuing and preservation of countless numbers of county documents such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, as well as court and commissioners documents.

“About six to seven hundred documents a week come in here,” said Bevill.

During his employment, the office made the conversion from paper records to digital – a massive undertaking, according to Bevill.

“We digitized all the real property records and back then there were just about 6 million of them. All we lack are the court records,” he said.

First Plat map of Abilene Texas (Courtesy Taylor County Clerks Office) (1881)

Although his office also oversees the preservation and the retrieval of historical documents, Bevill has located and restored many documents important to Taylor County History, such as the first and second ever plat maps used to sell land back in 1881. Though if you ask him, his crowning achievement was locating a gubernatorial proclamation from 1879.

“When I first became Clerk, I was advised to do an inventory of all records. There was a large storage area on the second floor of the Law Enforcement Center, and I found a box that was labeled ‘Old Records’. I found the Governor’s Proclamation, [and] we saw the ballot results from the 1930 stock law election,” Bevill recalled. “Partial election results for the vote to move the county seat from Buffalo Gap to Abilene, and that box was sitting under a fire suppression sprinkler, so if anything had ever happened and the sprinklers came on, it would have destroyed that record,” said Bevill.

Signature of Texas Gov. Richard B Hubbard on Proclamation (1879)

The proclamation signed by Richard B. Hubbard, former Texas Governor, declared Buffalo Gap the County Seat of Taylor County in 1879 before it was moved to Abilene in 1883.

But beyond preservation, Bevill said it’s the pivotal life moments he shared with the public that make his job worth while. From the celebrations of a young couple–

“They get the release of lean because they’ve paid off their house and they’re excited,” said Bevill.

To the uncertainty of a widow on their own.

“The love of their life has just died and they’re lost,” said Bevill.

The Clerk’s office gets to help them through, always ready to serve.

“And service to humanity is the best work of life. So it’s never dull here,” said Bevill.

Many of these documents are on display for the public at the Clerk’s office located in the Taylor County Courthouse. Much of the archives are searchable on the County Clerk’s website and some copies are even available for purchase.