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Tidehaven & Tres Palacios Information

Road to Tidehaven


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Tidehaven, El Maton, Ashby, Simpsonville & Tintop

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1944 Blessing Yearbook - The Cardinal

1945 Blessing Yearbook - The Cardinal

1946 Blessing Yearbook - The Cardinal

By Mary B. Ingram

Tidehaven, as shown on John Arrowsmith's Map of Texas - 1841, was situated just above where Wilson Creek empties into the Tres Palacios River. According to Thomas Gyle, an old sailor born on Cash's Creek in 1859, Pumphrey Burnett was the founder of the port of Tidehaven who dreamed of a great shipping point at this location.' Burnett was one of Austin's "Old Three Hundred," and after receiving one-half league of land in Matagorda County in 1824, he was granted another one-half league described as "Tres Palacios, East side" on October 14, 1830. The land grant map shows this league to be near the Tidehaven site on the Tres Palacios River."

The site of Tidehaven was approximately one mile south of Hawley Cemetery on FM 459. State Highway 35 runs between the two just before crossing the Tres Palacios River from the east. At this same site there was a ferry which was supplemented by an old iron drawbridge in the late 1800's.

Tidehaven received its name from being just above the tidewaters which came up the Tres Palacios River Hurd's Landing Farmer's Picnic - ca. 1915 from Palacios Bay. In the 1830's and 1840's, steamers could come up the river to this site and load and unload products for the farmers and settlers of this area."

D. E. E. Braman in his 1858 book, Information About Texas, wrote about Matagorda County, and in regard to this area he wrote:

West of the Colorado, and all that portion of Matagorda County watered by the "Trespalacios", is exclusively occupied by stock raisers and small farmers, to both of which lucrative callings the Trespalacios lands, are well adapted; $300 to $400 invested here in cattle, breed-horses, and land, render an industrious man independent in a few years.

In 1858 John E. Pierce and Abel Head Pierce came to Texas from Rhode Island and began working for the W. B. Grimes ranch as cowhands. They joined the Confederate Army, and after the war they began to buy all the available land in the Tidehaven and Tres Palacios area. The Pierces were successful ranchers, and they had a ten-year contract with Spain to furnish cattle for their soldiers during the War with Cuba. More docks and landings were built along the Tres Palacios River to ship their products. Cattle was not the only product to be shipped from this inland port. Hides, tallow, cotton, sugar cane, and peaches were shipped down the river into Palacios Point and Matagorda Bay and through Pass Cavallo to other ports. With all the activity around the docks and landings, Tidehaven began to grow. At one time there were two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, and a small grocery store in the vicinity of the docks."

In 1856 the government established the Tres Palacios post office on the same site as Tidehaven," and from that date on the town and area became known as Tres Palacios. Edwin N. Deming served as postmaster of Tres Palacios from March 27, 1856, to July 10, 1856, when the post office was discontinued. On October 8, 1888, the post office was reinstated with Thomas J. Poole as postmaster, followed by James W. Keller,

William S. Lewis, and David Baxter. On July 31, 1903, the post office was discontinued again, and the mail for this area was sent to the Hawley post office. D. Arthur Wheeler was appointed postmaster when the Tres Palacios post office was reinstated on  October 16, 1903, and he served until the post office was discontinued for the final time on August 13, 1904, and the mail moved to Blessing."

Families by the name of Wheeler, Ward, Duffy, Partain, Grimes, and Pierce lived along the river. Just beyond the Tidehaven townsite was the old Ward home. In the area where the Grimes' ranch stood one can see the remains of an old tannery.

Other evidence to show the area was well populated are the numerous historic  cemeteries in the vicinity of the old Tidehaven site." In a pasture belonging to Walter Skutca are the graves of a family who once lived in the John Partain League. The grave of Sarah Bright Lacy, who came to Texas as a young girl with Austin's "Old Three Hundred" is enclosed in a small fenced area. A granite marker reads:



Their Daughter SARAH BRIGHT

Nov. 8, 1808 - June 4, 1880


Sept. 14, 1802 - Oct. 14, 1848

A signer of the Declaration of

Independence of Texas




Another cemetery is the family burial place of Fritz Cornelius, a Methodist donor to the last Hawley church and father of a large family, who came to Matagorda County from Germany about 1870. The cemetery is situated on Juanita Creek, a tributary of the Tres Palacios River, east of Midfield.

On the west bank of the Tres Palacios, east of the railroad overpass across the old highway are three graves on the old Duffy land, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Davant. The three graves, situated under trees behind the old homeplace, are of August Duffy, a Mr. Murry (the first husband of a Miss Green who later married Duffy), and a baby daughter of the Duffy's.

The Grimes and Poole Family Cemetery is on the west bank of the Tres Palacios River near FM 2853 and is well fenced with many headstones, including those of two faithful servants.

The Wheeler (Lacy) Cemetery is on the east bank of the Tres Palacios River not far from the old Wheeler homestead and in the vicinity of the Tidehaven site.

The Ashby Cemetery is situated to the south of Wilson Creek just above where it empties into the Tres Palacios. It is two to three miles below the site of Tidehaven.

In 1857 a Methodist circuit rider, Robert Paine Thompson, recorded in his journal while preaching at Tres Palacios. One of his last entries before being transferred from this conference reads: "November 22, 1857-Preached funeral sermon for John Parton [Partain]; also preached farewell sermon at Tres Palacios before leaving for conference in Waco."

In an article in the Daily Tribune dated April 20, 1959, Clara Isabell Baxter Anthony recalled that the Baxter family lived across the river from the Grimes' .place. She attended the little one-room school just across the road from the old Grimes' home. She remembered the Grimes' store and the Tres Palacios post office nearby. Not far from the banks of the river was the old meat-canning plant. The Baxters crossed the river by ferry until it was replaced by an iron drawbridge.

Homes, canning plant, store, post office, school and even the old drawbridge have succumbed to the slow but sure onslaughts of time and are no more. Tidehaven Independent School District stands as a living tribute to those early settlers along the Tres Palacios River.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pp. 404-407

Submitted by Gale French

About the Cotton Gin

J. E. Pierce called at the News office yesterday morning relative to the removal of the cotton gin from Tidehaven to Blessing, and said that the work of moving same would be commenced within a very short time.

The cotton acreage in this vicinity is conservatively estimated by those who have canvassed the territory to be 1300 acres, while many who claim to know, positively say there will be in the neighborhood of 2000 acres. It is expected that the acreage will be considerably increased on account of the cotton gin being moved to Blessing and placed in operation.

Plant as much cotton as you can take care of property. The facilities for ginning will be here as well as the best market. The prices are bound to be high.--Blessing News.

Matagorda County Tribune, April 14, 1911

Tidehaven Home Demonstration Club

The Tidehaven Home Demonstration Club met Friday, May 11, at the home of Mrs. Walter Skutca with 16 members answering roll call. Mrs. J. H. Powell of Blessing was a visitor and Mrs. L. R. Cessor of Midfield signed up as a new member.

Present at the meeting were the agent, Mrs. Dawn Duncan and the assistant agent, Miss LaJuan Fite. Mrs. Duncan gave a demonstration on Selection and Use of Pictures.

Mrs. F. J. Hurta, council delegate, gave a report of the county council meeting in Bay City on May 1 after the meeting had been called to order by singing Let's All sing Together and repeating the T. H. D. A. Creed.

Mrs. Walter Skutca and Mrs. Martin Nelson will attend a training school on Safety and Fire Prevention in the Living Room, to be held May 22 at the home of Mrs. Duncan in Bay City. Cake, cookies, sandwiches and punch were served by the hostess at the close of the meeting.

The next meeting will be at the home of Mrs. Joe Lucas in El Maton on May 25.--Mrs. A. V. Bosak reporter.

Palacios Beacon, May 17, 1956

Faculty of 29 Persons Slated For Tidehaven Schools For Year

Tidehaven Independent Schools have a total faculty of 29 persons, with two vacancies existing at the time George K. Nelson, school superintendent, made his list for publication.

Tidehaven High School, which anticipates an enrollment of 140 students, has 10 teachers listed, including one vacancy. Delvin L. Taska is principal. New coach is Ray Adkins, who will be assisted by Allan Labay. Teachers include Lillian G. Adams, Robert E. Black, O. F. Havlik, Earl B. Kahla, Aleta B. Nelson, E. Rudd, James A. Pennington, band in all schools. The vacancy is the girl's coaching and physical education post.

Markham Elementary school has an anticipated enrollment of 225 students. William G. King is principal, with instructors Bonnie L. Etie, Hula M. Henderson, Bernadene Heyn, Verna M. King, Corinne Lesikar, Gladys M. Rogers and Ray Sparks.

Earl R. Adams, Jr., is principal of Blessing Elementary School. An enrollment of 235 in anticipated at the school this year. Teachers include Helen G. Fromen, Vincent T. Fromen, Bettie A. Havlik, John J. Louderback, Florence E. Morris, Willie Mae Schoelman. There is one vacancy.

A. Jefferson (Negro School) has an anticipated enrollment of 90 students. Faculty includes Paul D. Hinson, principal, and James Green, Stella Mae Fisher, and Loraine Green.

Matagorda County Tribune, August 23, 1956


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Jan. 1, 2006
Dec. 27, 2010