Linnville

John Linn, for whom the town of Linnville is named, was an astute business man. He established Linnville around 1830 so he could have a port of entry for goods brought in by trading ships. Other traders also began using the facilities. By 1831 Linn had warehouses and a wharf in operation. The port was roughly 3 to 4 miles north of the present city of Port Lavaca. Although Linn  never made Linnville his home, he owned several lots there and had his goods coming in on his wharf. Throughout the Texas War for Independence Linn's bargaining power helped him gain political clout with the emerging Texas Republic as well as with Mexico's politicians.

When the fortunes of war turned against the Texians, General Jose Urrea began his sweep up the coast as Santa Anna came after General Houston and his Texas army. The Texas coast was evacuated and the Texas navy started to destroy any and all ports that the Mexicans might be able to utilize. The port at Cox's Point was demolished by the Texas navy. When Urrea's men arrived at Linnville, no move was made to plunder or destroy the town. This led to talk that Juan Linn, as he was known by the Mexicans, may had some bargaining clout with the Mexicans as well.

When Texas became a republic, Linnville began to grow rapidly. In 1837, when the Matagorda District was created, Linnville was one of the shipping points noted in the records. Because of the inconvenience of shipping goods to the town of Matagorda before shipping them to Linnville, a new customs district was established and Hugh O. Watts was named customs collector with the right to name a new port of entry. He chose Linnville and in a few months ships sailing there increased dramatically. Coincidentally, Hugh O. Watts and  William H. Watts also owned and operated a major warehouse near the town. Several stores also opened up. One was owned by W.G. Ewing whose sister was Mrs. Hugh O. Watts.

Although Linnville was noted as a prosperous community and port, it is mostly remembered today for being sacked and burned by a war party of Comanche Indians on August 8, 1840. Some say a thousand Comanches appeared at Linnville just after sunrise. The settlers ran to their small boats and many were able to make their escape. Some, however, did not. When Mr. and Mrs. Hugh O. Watts returned to their home to retrieve a valuable keepsake they were attacked by the Indians. Mr. Watts was killed and Mrs. Watts was taken prisoner. Days later, as the retreating Indians were caught by a posse of men at Plum Creek (historically known as the Battle of Plum Creek), Mrs. Watts was shot in the chest by an arrow but was saved by her corset. She later remarried and became a successful member of the community around Port Lavaca.

Linnville finally withered on the vine around the mid 1840s as Lavaca was growing and Indianola was booming. In the end it was competition from other ports that did the town in.

 

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