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[WS4] Skip Navigation LinksHome > About Us > Historical Document Room Houston, TX | November 14, 2019
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Historical Document Room:

Civil Courthouse
201 Caroline, Room 200
Houston, TX 77002
Map of Downtown

Hours: Tues. & Thur., 12 - 4 p.m.
  Wed., 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Phone: 832-927-5729
Fax: 832-927-0145

Mailing Address:

Harris County District Clerk
P.O. Box 4651
Houston, Texas 77210

For additional information regarding Historical Documents, please see our Frequently Asked Questions, call 832-927-5860 or e-mail us.

Historical Documents

The Historical Document Room was opened to the public on October 24, 2006. The room is available for viewing historical documents from 1837—1925. These court records are not just paper, they are valuable sources of Texas' and Houston’s history. Some of the most badly deteriorated records have been restored and preserved by the Harris County District Clerk's Office. Those efforts have been honored with a 2004 Good Brick Award from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.

What Can I do to Help Save Harris County’s History?

The Harris County District Clerk’s Office has teamed with the Houston Bar Foundation to raise the funds needed to continue restoring and preserving Harris County’s past. The Houston Bar Foundation is accepting tax-deductible donations to preserve records. We do not suggest an amount for your donation as any amount is greatly helpful and appreciated.

Checks can be made payable to: Houston Bar Foundation Records Preservation and mailed to P.O. Box 4651, Houston, TX 77210. For a contribution form to include with your check, please click here.

In addition to preserving case files, bound volumes such as criminal case indexes, minute books, fee docket books and accounting books from as early as the Republic of Texas days are being saved. Costs for preserving these invaluable historical documents range from $10 for a file to as much as $2,500 for a civil index book. Donors who contribute an amount necessary to preserve one entire book may, if they wish, be recognized on the spine or outside cover of the book. Standard wording for such recognition will be, “In memory of _________,” “Graciously donated by ________,” etc. Other wording desired by the donor will be taken into consideration.

The process for preservation requires experts trained in handling historical documents, as the documents must be handled with extreme care. They are unfolded, pacified, then encapsulated in special Mylar plastic sheets to protect them from further damage caused by exposure to air and moisture. The process being used will preserve these records for up to 300 years and prevent further deterioration of our historical records.

Services Available in the Historical Document Room

  • Public viewing of original documents
  • Requested copies for $1.00 per page

Historical Documents Available Online

As a public service, the documents that are made available over the Web are provided at no charge. Please note, while the clarity of some of the documents is exceptional, the quality of others is poor. This is directly related to the quality of the original document as well as the penmanship of the scribe in some instances. Click below to begin viewing these priceless historical documents.

View Online

Historical Case Of The Month

The Honorable Judge Mark Davidson has been instrumental in the development of the Harris County District Court Historical Document Project. An avid legal history buff, Judge Davidson continues to write and serve as a special advisor to the ongoing Case Of the Month articles.

The Case of the Raucous Rolling Stones Concert

Many readers of this column may not remember, if they were alive, where they were and what they were doing on the night of October 21, 1981. The author does. He was at the Astrodome with a hitherto unused and never again used cigarette lighter watching Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. The Dome was packed. The acoustical system was, well, everything that concertgoers at the Dome remember it to be. What I and most people present that night did not know was that there was a killing amongst the attendees that would lead to a criminal prosecution and a civil case. When I did find out, I was “Shattered.”

The Stones came to the Dome in a “Black Limousine,” but deciding that “Time was on their Side,” opted to leave the crowd “Waiting for a Friend,” starting the concert a few minutes late. Since this concert took place in the era before security checks, it is possible that a few of the attendees had smuggled in alcohol or other products whose legality was suspect.

There were two recorded incidents from the evening. One of them was when a sixteen year old boy decided that another concert goer should be “Under My Thumb.”

Things quickly got out of hand. After a short and bloody fight, a twenty-two year old man, E. S. S., would lay dead on the hall of the Mezzanine of the Astrodome.

The sister, wife, and child of the deceased would bring a lawsuit against Astrodome lease holders, the Houston Sports Association; event promotor Pace Concerts, Inc; and Harry M. Stevens, Inc, who sold beer to thirsty concertgoers. The lawsuit went on to sue the Rolling Stones and each member of the group that played that night: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Ron Woods, and Charlie Watts. Proving that some things can be put into pleadings that are Just My Imagination, the allegations were that the group set the mood of the concert and brought its attendees to an uncontrollable frenzy. The file, which is cause Number 83-33425, contains no mention of any discovery battles. If there were, it is certain that Judge Hugo A. Touchy, the Judge of the 129th District Court, would have ruled that “You Can’t Always Get What you Want,” but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

Mr. Jagger’s deposition was taken. A participant in the deposition has said that he showed up dressed in an exquisitely tailored three piece suit, and testified about his education at the London School of Economics. The identity of the court reporter that took Mr. Jagger’s deposition is today unknown, but it could well have been a “Honky Tonk Woman.”

In 1982, the District Courts of Harris County were still operating a central docket system, which usually meant that it could take years to go to trial. Defendants usually thought that “Time is on my Side.” During these interminable delays, plaintiffs would often claim that “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

The result was often a compromise settlement. That is what happened here. On August 22, 1986, almost five years after the concert, the parties reached a settlement. An annuity was purchased for the deceased’s son.

Judge Touchy and Judge James Scanlan of Probate Court No. 3 both approved the settlement.

1. There were twenty-five songs played that night. I have inserted nine of them in this article.

2. I have declined to name either the name of the deceased or the perpetrator for privacy grounds.

Click here to view the historic case documents for The Case of the Raucous Rolling Stones Concert

Saving Texas History

Saving Texas History Image Read more about the preservation process of the Historical Documents.

Public Viewing Rules and Regulations

Public Viewing Rules and Regulations image View information regarding public access and the regulations that safe guard the Historical Documents.

Online Historical Documents

Online Historical Documents image These court records are valuable sources of Texas' and Houston's history. View these priceless historical documents.