Aransas County was formed from Refugio County
in 1871. Its county seat is Rockport. The area
is commonly referred to as Rockport-Fulton since there are two
separate communities in the same area.
Aransas County is the one of the smallest counties in Texas.
It is located on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico, yet is
separated from the Gulf by barrier islands which form the intracoastal
canal. While the County covers more than 326 square miles,
much of the county is under water. The County is composed
of peninsulas, islands and bays, including:
- Live Oak Peninsula - Rockport-Fulton area
- Lamar Peninsula - home of the Big Tree, believed to
date back to 1000 A.D., and Goose Island, refuge for the endangered
- Blackjack Peninsula - home of the Aransas County Wild Life
- Saint Joseph (San Jose) Island - privately owned
- Frandolig Island - now Key Allegro, a canal community
- Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, Mesquite Bay, St. Charles Bay, and
Aransas and Copano Bays were first documented in 1519 by Captain
Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, the first European to sail the Gulf
of Mexico. The earliest known inhabitants were the Karankawa
Indians, documented by Cabeza de Vaca in 1528. In the 1700s,
missions were established in the area by Spain. After the
war between Spain and Mexico, the area was claimed by Mexico.
In 1826 James Hewetson and James Power applied for an empresario
grant centered on Aransas Bay. Colonists were recruited
from Ireland to settle in the area. Aransas City was established
at the tip of Live Oak Peninsula. The colonists signed the declaration
of independence from Mexico in 1835 marking the beginning
of the war with Mexico. In 1837 Captain James Byrne founded
a town on the Lamar Peninsula, and established a port of entry
to compete with Aransas City.
The Town of Rockport was founded in 1867. George Fulton
completed his mansion in 1877 (now a Historical landmark) in the
community known as Fulton, next to Rockport. Other communities
in Aransas County include: Holiday Beach (Lamar Peninsula);
Spanish Village (Blackjack Peninsula); Estes and a portion of
Aransas Pass (Live Oak Peninsula).
Aransas is surrounded by Calhoun, Nueces,
Refugio and San Patricio Counties.
More information is provided in the Handbook
of Texas Online - Aransas County.