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Palacios Point

Palacios Point
By Mary L. Griffin

As in any new land, the Indians, explorers, and settlers who came to Matagorda Bay left evidence of their attempts to conquer this land.   Political, climatic or economic factors reduced and buried many of their efforts.  These sites on Matagorda Bay are now marked only by a historic medallion, scattered debris, or a story handed down from generation to generation.

One of these sites was Palacios Point which was founded in 1838.  John Duncan and R. R. Royall, proprietors, advertised this town of Palacios in the January 3, 1838, issue of the Matagorda Bulletin:

This town is situated upon “Half Moon Point”, formed by the junction of the Bays of Matagorda and Trespalacios—the latter of which forms a harbour of superior excellence, affording a sufficient depth of water contiguous to the shore for the largest vessels which can enter the Matagorda Bay to lay in security alongside of a wharf and discharge and receive cargoes at pleasure. 

The extraordinary advantages of this point, for a commercial city are so well known, not only in Texas, but in the cities of the United States, that it is deemed unnecessary to enumerate them.

The place has hitherto been kept out of the market, in order that the title might be perfected before being offered for sale—and this object having now been happily accomplished, purchasers can obtain unquestionable titles, and the lots will be sold at auction on the first Monday of March 1838 and the succeeding days, on a liberal credit, the purchasers giving bond with approved security and a mortgage till final payment.   The point is situated about 20 miles. N.N.E. of Paso Caballo and the same distance W.S.W. of the town of Matagorda, it is the form of a square, is nearly surrounded by the waters of the Bays, and is sufficiently extensive for a populous city.

The proprietors with a thorough knowledge of the whole sea coast, unhesitatingly state it as their firm conviction that this place will become the great commercial emporium of Texas

28th Decr. 1837          JOHN DUNCAN              R. R. ROYALL

Later George Burkhart laid out a townsite and sold a number of lots.  He built several houses, one of which he used as a summer home and named “Paradise.”

At that time only cattle were raised on the mainland, because the prairie was thought to be unsuited for growing crops.  Immediately following the Civil War and up until the late 1870’s, the shipping of cattle was thriving business; then it became more profitable to drive the cattle up the trail to Kansas and other markets.

In his books, A Texas Cowboy and Riata Spurs, Charles Siringo tells about shipping cattle through Palacios Point.  A steamship of the Morgan Line landed twice a week to load cattle bound for the New Orleans market.  There were three different groups of riders gathering cattle or horses for the market.  Sometimes it would be midnight before they would get the cattle loaded aboard the ship.

Traveling to Palacios was almost impossible unless one rode horseback around Oyster Lake.  A traveler usually took a Morgan Line ship to Palacios Point and a sailboat into the Tres Palacios area.

A conflict developed over the title to the land on which Palacios Point lay, so the port failed to develop further.  This, along with the 1875 storm, caused the townsite to be abandoned.  About 1889 the remaining houses were torn down and the lumber was moved to Pilkington’s Slough (now Collegeport), where J. E. Pierce used it to build his ranch house.

Typed for this page by Vera Petteway-Nyormoi




Believed to be the residents of Palacios Point rather than modern-day Palacios.

Every person is listed who lived in this area on July 1, 1870 regardless of the date census was taken.

HH = Household     F = Female     M = Male     W = White     B = Black
1-1 Selkirk, Lucy 44 F W Boarding House Keeper England
  Selkirk, Samuel 13 M W At Home Texas
  Selkirk, Lucy A. 10 F W At Home Texas
  Sneed, Mary 16 F W Cook Texas
  Adkins, John 35 M W Butcher England
2-2 Hill, John W. 62 M W Boatman Maryland
  Hill, Sarah A. 52 F W Housekeeper Virginia
  Hill, Stephen 21 M W Boatman Texas
  Hill, Susanah 19 F W Asst. Housekeeper Texas
  Hill, Louisa 19 F W Asst. Housekeeper Texas
  Hill, Joseph W. 18 M W Boatman Texas
  Hill, Phillip A. 16 M W At Home Texas
  Hill, Josephine 13 F W At Home Texas
  Hill, William 10 M W At Home Texas
3-3 Foster, Andrew J. 31 M W Carpenter Georgia
  Foster, Catherine 21 F W Housekeeper Texas
  Foster, Martha 1 F W   Texas
  Burton, James 30 M W Carpenter England
4-4 Braman, Erastus 24 M W Clerk in Store Texas
  Nolte, Charles 22 M W Boatman Texas
  Jones, James 42 M W Cook New York
  Young, Albert 18 M B Carriage Driver Louisiana
  Burkhart, Perry 11 M B Servant Texas
  Rutland, Charles 36 M W Farmer England
  Carrol, John J. 30 M W Seaman Pennsylvania
5-5 Cane, David P. 30 M W Capt. of Schooner Maine
  Cane, Phillipa 26 F W Housekeeper Prussia
  Barnes, James 21 M B Boatman Georgia
6-6 Vale, Peter 26 M W Cook Gibraltar
7-7 Sterling, William 32 M W Boatman Texas
  Sterling, Eliza J. 24 F W Housekeeper Maine
  Sterling, Nettie J. 2 F W   Texas
8-8 Hunt, William 48 M W Fisherman Canada
9-9 Crockett, Harry 28 M W Light House Keeper New York
  Jane Crockett 24 F W Housekeeper Hanover


Copyright 2007 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Jun. 6, 2007
Jun. 6, 2007