Saluria

Also known as Port Saluria, this settlement was started on Matagorda Island about 1845 when the Texas government lost interest in establishing Port Calhoun as a major port of entry.

James Power was one of the original empresarios (the other was James Hewetson) that received Mexican land grants to bring colonists to Texas. He, along with three other men, set up a townsite located on the northeastern bulge of Matagorda Island on the south side of Pass Cavallo. Over 300 lots were laid out for the townsite. Judge Hugh W. Hawes became the driving force in the growth of Saluria and built a warehouse and wharf. Almost all of the Morgan Ship line and others called at Saluria.

Because Hawes' wharf extended into deep water, a lot of goods destined for other places were unloaded at the wharf and reshipped by lighters. Lighters were ships with shallower drafts and allowed them to enter the shallow areas of the bay with less fear of grounding. The lighters made regular trips between Matagorda Bay ports and ports to the south. Most of the oceangoing ships used Saluria as one of their principal bases.

Although Saluria was an adequate deepwater port,  one of the drawbacks at Saluria was the close proximity to the powerful Pass Cavallo currents which made docking difficult for ships. After one of the Morgan Line ships went aground on January 9, 1851 due to crosscurrents at the pass, the company decided against their ships landing at Saluria. In June of that year, a severe storm caused severe wind and water damage at Saluria. It also lost its customshouse to the town of La Salle during the 1850s.

During the Civil War a great deal of damage was done to Saluria by Confederate forces. In December  of 1862, orders were given to disperse the cattle, torch the buildings, blow up the Matagorda Lighthouse, and destroy the wharf so that the facilities at Saluria would not fall into the hands of the Union forces. After Union soldiers overran Fort Esperanza, they used Saluria as a campsite. When the Union forces left there was little left of the town.

After the war,  capital to rebuild the town of Saluria and the seaport facilities was not available. A few people stayed on but the storm of 1875 destroyed what little rebuilding had taken place but it still did not die. A few homes were built and the community barely existed until the mighty storm of 1886. In that storm three lives were lost and all houses were destroyed and it brought Saluria, the port, to an end.

 

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