Constituting documents of Texas State University Collection Description

As a state agency, the University does not have a constitution or by-laws. The institution was founded in 1899 by the 26th Legislature with SB260. The original 11 acres of land upon which the school was built was formerly known as Chautauqua Hill. The University Archives requested copies of these materials from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Materials also include one complete and one incomplete draft of House Bill 696 of the 26th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1899), “An Act to provide for establishing, governing and maintaining a State normal school at San Marcos, and to be known as the Southwest Texas Normal School.” Also included is the wrapper used to store and identify the bill drafts. Although the records are undated, the wrapper was pre-printed for the 26th Regular Session with the date 1899.
Historical note

Texas State University was established by the 26th Legislature in 1899 as the Southwest Texas State Normal School; 303 pupils were enrolled in 1903-04, the first year classes were held.

The school name changed to Southwest Texas State Normal College in 1918, to Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1923, to Southwest Texas State College in 1959, to Southwest Texas State University in 1969, to Texas State University-San Marcos in 2003, and to Texas State University in 2013.

Biographical note

Frederick Bird Smith "Fred" Cocke, Jr. was born on November 17, 1839 in Grainger County, Tennessee to Frederick Bird Smith Cocke, Sr. and Eliza M. (Rogers) Cocke. The Cocke family moved to Texas in September of 1854. During the Civil War, Fred Cocke served in the Texas State Troops under Captains Charles A. Russell and Thomas Rabb. He was eventually promoted to Captain and commanded his own company. Cocke was admitted to the bar in San Antonio in July of 1868 and was a leading attorney in Bexar County, practicing law in San Antonio until 1892. He also served three terms as Bexar County District Attorney. He married Mary E. K. “Kate” Carpenter on June 7, 1870 in Hays County.

Cocke was elected to the House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature and served during the 26th Regular Session (1899) and the 26th 1st Called Session (1900). As the Representative of District 98, he served constituents in Hays, Blanco, Comal, and Gillespie Counties. Cocke introduced House Bill 696, “An Act to provide for establishing, governing and maintaining a State normal school at San Marcos, and to be known as the Southwest Texas Normal School,” on March 3, 1899. Although a report by the Committee on Education was presented to the House recommending the bill pass, no further action was taken by the Speaker of the House on the bill.

It should be noted, the companion bill, Senate Bill 260 of the 26th Regular Session (1899), authored by Senator Joseph Burton Dibrell, Jr., was enrolled and approved on May 10, 1899.

Upon his retirement, Cocke split his time between his residence in Austin and his farm in Kouns, a community once located in southern Travis County. He died on September 7, 1912 and was buried in the Cocke family cemetery in Hays County, Texas.

Sources: Texas Legal Directory for 1876-77; Hays County marriage records vol. A-D, 1848-1886; Confederate muster roll collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission; San Antonio Express, Vol. 47, No. 253, September 9, 1912; Texas Legislators: Past & Present, Legislative
Reference Library; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas (1899)