In December 1835, near the beginning of the Texas Revolution, the new Provisional Government of Texas defined the boundary of the Municipality of Harrisburg, similar to the extent of Harris County today. Its largest town and seat of government was then Harrisburg, founded by John Richardson Harris in 1826. The municipalities became counties in the 1836 Texas Constitution.
Texas won its independence from Mexico after the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. The First Texas Congress established the structure of county government and designated the county seat at at the new town of Houston on Buffalo Bayou in December 1836. Local residents David G. Burnet and Lorenzo de Zavala served as the first President and Vice President of the Republic of Texas until October 1836. While Houston was the capital of Texas from 1837 to 1839, City Council designated Houston as a port of call and Buffalo Bayou as a National Highway of the Republic.
Much like today's Commissioners Court, the 1837 Harrisburg County Board of Commissioners was entrusted with control and supervision of roads, ferries, and bridges, in addition to providing for support of indigent, blind, and lame citizens. The first chief justice (county executive), Andrew Briscoe, organized
an initial board meeting in March 1837 with DeWitt Clinton Harris serving as
county clerk. The first sheriff, John W. Moore, also handled tax collection along with his usual duties. Harrisburg County became Harris County by action of the Third Congress in December 1839.
Today, the county is administered by a County Judge and four Precinct Commissioners, elected by the public. Home to over four million people, Harris County is Texas' most populous county, boasting a thriving port, world renowned medical center, NASA, and headquarters for oil, chemical, and export/import companies.