Search billions of records on

Portsmouth Information

Picture courtesy of Matagorda County Museum.

Beach at Portsmouth

Picture courtesy of Palacios Area Historical Assoc. Museum
& volunteers Shirlee and Richard.


Hotel at Portsmouth owned by Mr. and Mrs. James O'Neal
( O'Neill, O'Neil, O'Neille)

Photos above & below courtesy of Matagorda County Museum.


By Mary L. Griffin

About 1902 Burton D. Hurd laid out another town on the Palacios Point site.  He named this town Portsmouth, and the area is still called by that name.  A family named O’Neal operated a hotel for several years and were hosts to hunters and fishermen, but the town never grew.  The point of land on which the hotel was built is still called Palacios Point.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume 1

Typed by Faye Cunningham

Memories of Old Hotel at Portsmouth

by Abel B. Pierce


In the opinion of Lee M. (Tick) Pierce and Abel B. (John Henry) Pierce, Jr. of Blessing, the subject photo (above and upper right) depicts the old hotel at Portsmouth or Palacios Point, south of Collegeport. It was operated by Mr. and Mrs. O'Neal (or O'Neille per Ruth Harrison Pierce). (In I.E. Robertson Survey, Ab. 85).


The Pierce family spend many happy weekends having traveled there by boat from Palacios or by auto from Blessing by Collegeport over dirt roads and deep sand (when Oyster Lake was dry enough to allow crossing. This was before the Intracoastal Canal came to be.)


We swam in Matagorda Bay, dodged "cabbageheads" and consumed quantities of shrimp, "lassoed" by our dad (Abel B. Pierce, Sr.) with a castnet.


Special memories:

1)  Sleeping on "corn-shuck" mattresses in upstairs bedrooms; every move waking you up with the "rustling,"

2) An old foot pump organ in the "lobby" down-stairs that the "kiddies" tried to play until one pedal "broke-down." To conceal the disaster, we propped it up with one of Mrs. O'Neal's baking powder biscuits which were, however, very good eating.)

Tick Pierce even identified the room on the right hand side of the balcony as where he slept.


Crossroad Chronicles

Palacios Point, situated across the bay from present-day Palacios 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 later 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 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 popular 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."


Articles courtesy of Mike Reddell and the Bay City Tribune


Copyright 2006 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs 
All rights reserved

Aug. 23, 2006
Jul. 7, 2007