MATAGORDA COUNTY
TOWNS & COMMUNITIES

 

1910 - 1914 Matagorda County
Map courtesy of Janie Edwards

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ACE
was founded in 1906 and is located near the crossroads of present FM roads 457 and 521. The first postmaster, G. Ernest Ratliff wanted to name the community "Ratliff," but there was already an existing Ratliff, Texas, so Ratliff said, "Let's just call it Ace!"

ALFRED was designated as a post office on April 1, 1891, but the location is not known.

ALLENHURST, the first town site east of Bay City, was founded in 1905. As a railway town, it was named after Allentown, PA, the birthplace of Jeff N. Miller, vice-president and general manager of the Brownsville Railway.
 
ASHBY is located in the G. J. Williams League on FM 1095 about ten miles south of State Highway 35. Captain W. W. Moore established a store in the area in 1890 and named the town.

ASHWOOD, situated on FM 1728 and on a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad, was established in 1910. It received its name from the large quantities of ash logs shipped by the local mill. 

AT LAST (See Gainesmore)

AUSTIN was established on the east side of Tres Palacios Bay by 1836. Stephen F. Austin's father, Moses Austin, had planned a settlement at the mouth of the Colorado River. He died before his town, Austina, could be established.

BAY was the location of a post office that operated during the first few months of 1889.

BAY CITY, the present county seat of Matagorda County, was established 1894. It was named for the Bay Prairie on which it is situated even though it is twenty-five miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is located where State Highways 35 and 60 intersect.

BAY PARK never developed past its 1910 plans. It was to be on the east side of Tres Palacios Bay near Shell Island.

BAY SIDE was planned by Jonathan E. Pierce in 1894 on the east side of Tres Palacios Bay, but the town was never built.

BEADLE was named for Levi E. Beadle who was the engineer for Road District Number 7 as well as the postmaster from 1910 until 1918. It was situated near Buckeye.

BELL BOTTOM is situated approximately three miles east of Cedar Lane and was named for A. C. Bell who purchased property there in the late 1800's.

BETSADA had a post office from January 12, 1895 until September 30, 1896. It is believed to have been situated near the east bank of Tres Palacios Bay about 13 miles south of Ashby.

BIG HILL (HILL) (See Gulf)

BLESSING, located west of Bay City on State Highway 35, was founded by Jonathan Pierce in 1902. Pierce had to settle for the name, Blessing, for the post office after the postal service rejected his first choice. He had wanted to name it "Thank God" in gratitude for the coming of the railroad. 

BOGGY
, located near present-day Blessing in the area of Sexton School.

BOWIEVILLE was north of Caney Creek near Cedar Lane and was the site of the Bowie plantation, cotton gin and store.

BUCKEYE was named by founders, John W. Stoddard and Ambrose A. Plotner, after their home state of Ohio. It is situated on FM 1468, four miles south of State Highway 35 and was founded in 1902.

Buckner's Prairie was named for Aylett C. Buckner and was located on property in eastern Matagorda County granted to Buckner by Stephen F. Austin in 1824. The communities of Coulterville, Culver, and Vann Settlement are in the Buckner's Prairie area.  

BUCKS BAYOU COMMUNITY, founded in the late 1800's, was a German settlement located about three miles southeast of Bay City.

CAMP INDUSTRY
was situated near Hardeman in the vicinity of Van Vleck.

CANEY was called Caney Crossing during the days of the Republic of Texas. It is named for the Caney Creek and its first post office was established in 1838 at the present crossroads of FM 457 and FM 2540.

CASH'S CREEK - Cash's Creek is located east of present-day Highway 35 and empties into Trespalacios Bay near the mouth of the Trespalacios River. FM 521 crosses through the area near where several of the local families settled.

CEDAR ISLAND (See Cook's Island)

CEDAR LAKE was established in 1859 in the southeast part of Matagorda County on Cedar Lake Creek. 

CEDAR LANE is located where FM 521 crosses FM 457 and was founded in the early 1900's.

CHALMERS was founded as a railroad shipping point in the northern part of Matagorda County before 1910. It was also known as Hook's Switch and Harrows.

CHINQUAPIN is the Native American name for a nut, possibly the chestnut. A fishing village was established there in the 1940's due to its proximity to the Intracoastal Canal and East Matagorda Bay.

CITRUS GROVE (SATSUMA) was established in 1908 and was first called Satsuma because orange groves were planted to entice farmers from Kansas, Nebraska and other midwestern states to settle there. The post office was named Citrus Grove because a town named Satsuma was already in existence in Texas.

CLEMVILLE (HARDY) was first called Hardy in 1908 when the Hardy #1 oil well was drilled there. The name was later changed to Clemville in honor of the oil field developer, F. J. Clemenger. It is situated where the Tres Palacios River crosses FM 1468.

COLLEGEPORT is on Tres Palacios Bay in southwest Matagorda County and was surveyed in 1907. The Burton D. Hurd Land Company established the Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts there and the name became a combination of port and college town.

COOK'S ISLAND (CEDAR ISLAND) was on a mail route that was established April 1, 1836 between San Felipe and Matagorda. Originally called Cedar Island, it soon became Cook's Island as James Cook was the postmaster there.

CORTES was named for H. W. Cortes, president of the Moore-Cortes Canal Company. It was located on the Southern Pacific Railroad approximately four miles west of the Colorado River and had an operating post office for three years, 1901-1903.

COULTERVILLE, situated on Buckner's Prairie, was named for Lemuel P. Coulter who operated a store at that site. The post office was moved to his store in 1895 and he served as postmaster.

CULVER was established in central Matagorda County in the late 1880's and was named for W. D. Culver who owned the store where the post office was located.

DECROWS POINT (See Matagorda Peninsula)

DEMING'S BRIDGE (HAWLEY) was on Tres Palacios Creek and was known as such as early as 1850 being named after Edwin A. Deming who commissioned a bridge to span the Tres Palacios. Jonathan E. Pierce changed the name to Hawley in 1900 in honor of US Representative Robert Bradley Hawley.

DeMOSS, settled just before the turn of the century, was located about four miles south of Collegeport and named for the DeMoss Survey located southeast of Collegeport. 

DUNBAR was named for the Dunbar family who owned land in the Alexander Tims Survey. There was only a store on the west side of Tres Palacios Creek in the early 1900's.

EL FRIEDA was west of Blessing and was platted in 1909.

EL MATON dates back to 1905 and is situated twelve miles west of Bay City  on FM 1095. El Maton is a Spanish name meaning "the killer," and was bestowed on the community by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Company. There are several versions as to how the town was named, including a group fight where several were killed, a fatal railroad accident and the fact that a slaughter-house was located there.

ELECTRA was near Elliott's Ferry on the west side of the Colorado River. It appeared on Texas maps drawn in 1836.

ELLIOTT'S FERRY was on the Thomas Cayce League on the Colorado River. George Elliott purchased property from Cayce in 1839 and operated a ferry.

FITZMAURICE, situated north of Cedar Lane was a switch on the GH&SA.

FORGUSON, south of Pledger, was a switch on the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early 1900's.

FURBER was named for William Alard Furber, a banker from Illinois, who purchased the Markham Hotel in 1905. Furber Switch was a railroad siding west of Markham on the Southern Pacific Railroad and had loading pens for cattle.

GAINESMORE (AT LAST) was originally known as At Last because travelers over the difficult Hawkinsville branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad were always glad to "At Last" reach the end of the line. The Caney Valley Development Company held a contest to give the town a more suitable name and E. E. Fry suggested Gainesmore, a combination of the names of J. W. Gaines and Colonel Moore, two officers of the company.

GERMAN SETTLEMENT - Matagorda Peninsula

GROVEDALE also know as Groverdale was a switch on the GH&SA near the John Rugeley Plantation on Caney Creek. The switch was in existence as late as 1917.

GROVE HILL - Pledger area

GULF (OLD GULF) was also called Big Hill because of the dome-like land surface approximately sixty feet high situated east of Matagorda along the Intracoastal Canal. Testing for oil in the area resulted in the discovery of sulphur. Gulf Sulphur Company was formed there in 1909. Sulphur was mined at Gulf from March 19, 1919, through September 19, 1932. When Newgulf was founded in Wharton County, Gulf became known as "Old Gulf."

HARDEMAN
was named for the Hardeman families who moved to the area from Tennessee in 1835 and is located near Van Vleck. Bailey Hardeman was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. 

HARDY was the original name for Clemville.

HARROWS was an early name for Chalmers.

HASIMA is located approximately five miles east of Allenhurst. The contractor, who laid off the town site in 1905,  had three sons, Harry, Simon and Marion and took the first two letters of each name to form the name of the town. 

HAWKINSVILLE, located three miles north of Sargent on FM 457 is a ghost town named for Colonel James B. Hawkins who settled in the area in 1845. His sugar cane plantation produced a straw colored, large grained sugar that was sold in New Orleans.

HAWLEY is in the Blessing area and was originally known as Deming's Bridge.

HOOK'S SWITCH was an early name for Chalmers.

HUDGINS, eight miles east of Bay City and one mile off FM 457. The name from a freedman, Jno Hudgins, who purchased the property in 1874. 

HURD'S LANDING, near the communities of Dunbar and Tres Palacios, was a popular area for outings and picnics. A grove of oak trees shaded picnickers who were carried up the river in shallow-bottomed boats.

ILLINOIS COLONY, IOWA COLONY AND OHIO COLONY were "neighborhood" settlements northwest of Palacios. Settlers from Illinois, Iowa and Ohio moved to the area during a twenty-year period between 1900 and 1920.

IOWA COLONY an early community of settlers from Iowa.

JUANITA, on Juanita Creek east of Midfield, was a railroad switch on the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early 1900's.

KENNER PRAIRIE was four miles southeast of Sargent and had a post office as early as 1859.

LEHAN was a switch on the Santa Fe Railroad north of Bay City in the early 1900's.

LeTULLE, situated north of Bay City on the Santa Fe Railroad, was a rail switch in the early 1900's.

LIVEOAK COMMUNITY is situated on FM 2540 on Live Oak Bayou near the area where the bayou crosses FM 521. It was in existence before the Civil War.

LUKEFAHR SCHOOL COMMUNITY
was situated south of FM 457. The school was located on an acre of property deeded by Casper and Minnie Lukefahr. The school building is still standing and is located on the corner of Bucks Bayou Road and Hall Road. In 1917 the school was in District 1 Sexton District and had four grades. In 1921 it was in Common School District #6 and eventually had eight grades. The school was consolidated with Van Vleck ISD in 1949.

MANHATTAN
was in existence before 1838 and was located on the Benjamin Wightman and Margaret Wightman Leagues near the mouth of Caney Creek.

MARKHAM, located six miles west of Bay City, was named for Charles H. Markham who was the general manager of the Southern Pacific Lines. It was first called "Tent City" at its inception in 1903.

MATAGORDA became a town in 1827 when founders, James B. Austin, H. H. League, Duke and William Selkirk and Elias R. Wightman signed a constitution for regulation and transactions. It served as the county seat until 1894, when Matagorda County citizens voted to move the county seat to the yet-to-be-founded town of Bay City. There has been much speculation as to the meaning of the word Matagorda. The Biblioteca National in Madrid, Spain has verified that the meaning in Spanish is "big bush." There is a town named Matagorda in Spain and the name appears in Spanish documents as early as the 1500's. In Matagorda County the name is believed to be associated with the dense canebrakes that were prevalent in the early days of settlement. 

MATAGORDA PENINSULA is a fifty-one mile stretch of land not more than two miles wide that extends from the mouth of Caney Creek in eastern Matagorda County to Decros Point (Pass Cavallo) on the west. Settlers lived on the peninsula as early as 1822. 

McCROSKY was named for J. N. McCrosky, a cowboy for the Pierce Ranch. It was a switch on the Cane Belt Railway between Bay City and Wharton.

MAYS, north of Bay City, was a railroad switch on the Santa Fe Railroad in the early 1900's.

MIDFIELD is in the midst of open fields between Ganado, El Campo, Bay City and Palacios. The town site was laid out in 1903.

MOUNT PILGRIM - Cedar Lane area

NANCE was a railroad switch on the Santa Fe Railroad north of Bay City in the early 1900's.

NORTHERN HEADQUARTERS, situated to the east of Markham, was in operation from June 24, 1902 until 1947. The Northern Irrigation Company was incorporated to operate a water irrigation system in the area. Olaf A. Ulland, an engineer for the company, moved to Matagorda County in 1903. He developed Northern Headquarters and lived there with his family until 1947. The community was comprised of families from Norwegian and Swedish extraction from Minnesota and North Dakota.

OHIO COLONY a community named for the Ohio settlers who lived there.

OLD GULF, originally known as Big Hill and Gulf, was s company town of the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company.

ORANGEDALE

ORCHARD CITY was situated southeast of Collegeport near Mad Island Lake.

PALACIOS, CITY-BY-THE-SEA is on Tres Palacios Bay in the southwest portion of Matagorda County.  The Bay was named for Jose Felix Trespalacios, a Spanish governor between 1822 and 1823 and means "three palaces" in Spanish. The town was surveyed into lots in 1902. The Texas Baptist Encampment, located in Palacios, has been in operation since 1904. Camp Hulen, named for General John A. Hulen in 1930, was first called Camp Palacios and was located two miles west of Palacios. It served as a training camp for both Texas National Guardsmen and World War II soldiers. It also served as a prisoner of war camp during World War II. 

PALACIOS POINT was founded in 1838 and was situated on "Half Moon Point" formed by the junction of the Bays of Matagorda and Trespalacios.

PALOMA
was located near the Tres Palacios River and had a post office for seven months in 1898.

PASS CAVALLO separates Matagorda Island from Matagorda Peninsula. In Spanish, the name means "Pass of the Horse." It was used by early explorers and was the site of many shipwrecks in the 1800's. Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle sailed his ship, La Belle, through Pass Cavallo when he entered Matagorda Bay in 1685. Pass Cavallo has always been a strategically important area throughout Texas history, for control of the Pass meant control of Matagorda Bay and its coastline.

PEACH CREEK is a farming community that was in Matagorda County in 1846, but now is a part of Wharton County. The early settlers named it for Little Peach Creek, a tributary of the San Bernard River.

PECAN CITY, (Jungle Town) situated east of Citrus Grove, was the site of a pumping plant on the Colorado River. It had a school in 1936 which was consolidated with Palacios in 1947.

PECAN GROVE was the site of a cotton gin and was located in the Colorado River Bottoms.

PEYTON CREEK COMMUNITY

PHEASANT (PHEASANT SWITCH) was a "neighborhood" settlement about six miles north of Palacios. The name "Pheasant" probably came from the northern settlers who thought the prairie chickens were pheasants. The railroad would leave a boxcar at the Pheasant siding so farmers could fill it with sacked or barreled rice and would pick up the boxcar at a later date. The train would only come to a full stop at Pheasant to pick up freight. For passengers, it only slowed down while the engineer and conductor grabbed the passengers' hands and pulled them aboard.

PLEDGER is in the northeast corner of Matagorda County and is seventeen miles south of Wharton, seventeen miles north of Bay City and seventeen miles west of West Columbia. The town site was platted in 1902 and it is named for the Pledger family who lived there. 

PODO was a shipping pen switch on the Southern Pacific Railroad which ran through the John Duncan Plantation in the northern part of Matagorda County. It was named for a Kaffir slave, Podo, who was "slave boss" for John Duncan prior to the Civil War.

POLLY, situated west of Markham, was a switch on the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early 1900's.

PORTLAND was proposed by Nicholas Clopper, Sr., in March of 1841 at the head of the raft on the Colorado River about twelve miles north of Matagorda. Clopper was a promoter who planned for Portland to have a cotton press and an extensive depot for cotton and other produce. The land was sold by Clopper's family after his death on December 2, 1841.

PORTSMOUTH was laid out by Burton D. Hurd on the Palacios Point site in 1902.

PRAIRIE CENTER was founded in 1914 when the schoolhouse for Common School District No. 12 was moved from Dunbar to the "center" of the district. In 1945 the existing school building became a community center after the closing of the school.

PRESTON was on the road from Matagorda to Columbus and San Felipe and was established in the northeastern part of Matagorda County in 1838. By 1859 the area was known as Waterville because of nearby Water Hole Creek.
 
PUMPKIN CENTER was situated near Prairie Center between Tres Palacios and Cash's Creeks. According to one old-timer, large crops of pumpkin were raised in the area.

RED BLUFF was north of Elliott's Ferry and was the site of a small log church and cemetery.

RICEVILLE was a small settlement near Lake Austin which existed for some ten to fifteen years. Most of the settlers, who had come from Kansas and Oklahoma because of a land promotion deal, had left by 1927. The canal system that was in place in that area had allowed them to grow rice, cotton and corn.

ROSSGE, situated east of Markham, was a railroad switch for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early 1900's.

RUGELEY was a switch on the Hawkinsville Tap railroad about eight miles from Bay City. It was named for Dr. Henry L. Rugeley who lived and reared his family in the area prior to 1895. The community earned the name, "Billy Goat Crossing," because the train engineer would often have to stop to chase a herd of goats off the track.

RUNNELLS, situated north of Bay City on the Southern Pacific Railroad, was a railroad switch in the early 1900's.

RYMER'S SWITCH was an early name for Wadsworth.

SALURIA was built on Matagorda Island within sight of Pass Cavallo. Before the Civil War, it boasted the largest lumber yard west of Pensacola.

SARGENT is situated on FM 457 three miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It was named for George Sargent a farmer and rancher who settled in the area in 1844. 

SATSUMA was an early name for Citrus Grove.

SELKIRK ISLAND is named for William Selkirk who settled in the area in 1822 as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred. It is located on the Colorado River between Bay City and Matagorda. 

SEXTON SCHOOL COMMUNITY #19 developed in the early 1800's in an area about seven miles south-southwest of Bay City. After a hurricane destroyed the community school in 1896, Manley Sexton, Jr. deeded an acre of land to the school trustees for a new school. The school was the bond that held the community together. 

SHARKSVILLE is believed to be in the Sexton School area.

SIMPSONVILLE was a railroad station at the site of the intersection of the Buckeye-to-Collegeport railroad and the old Palacios-to-Matagorda county road. It is named for John N. Simpson who, in 1907,  along with Royal A. Ferris, purchased more that 9,000 acres of land in the area. 

SIMS
was a station on the GC&SF seven miles south of Bay City. A cotton gin was located there.

ST. FRANCISVILLE is located southwest of Bay City on FM 521. It was known as "Polish Village" because of the Polish families who moved there in 1859. Mass is still held on All Souls Day each year in the St. Francis Catholic Church. 

STEWART, situated between Wadsworth and Matagorda, was a switch on the Santa Fe Railroad in the early 1900's.

SUGAR LAND COMMUNITY was an extensive area from the Rugeley Plantation on Caney Creek to the Hawkins Plantation on Lower Caney. A post office was located there as early as 1847.

SUGAR VALLEY, situated in eastern Matagorda County on State Highway 35 and along Caney Creek, was so named because of a sugar mill located there. The sugar mill was in operation between 1904 and 1922 and produced primarily cane syrup.

SULPHUR MOUND, located about eighteen miles south of Bay City was platted in 1919. No records have been found on the development of the town.

SWEDISH SETTLEMENT was a turn-of-the-century settlement located about four miles south of Collegeport and just east of Oyster Lake Road. It was near the settlement known as DeMoss.

TIDEHAVEN (TRES PALACIOS) is said to have been founded by Pumphrey Burnett who dreamed of a great shipping point at that location. The site was approximately one mile south of Hawley Cemetery on FM 459. It received its name for being just above the tidewaters which came up the Tres Palacios River from Palacios Bay. Steamers traveled up the river to the site in the 1830's and 1840's. 

TILTONA was a settlement on Matagorda Peninsula.

TINTOP is a community at the present intersection of FM 1095 and FM 521. It has a country store, a former cotton gin, along with several houses and other buildings. The store and gin both have tin roofs, hence the name "Tintop."

TRES PALACIOS

TURNERVILLE was built across from the Collegeport cattle shipping pens.

TURTLE BAY COMMUNITY is situated in the southwestern part of Matagorda County. It is adjacent to Turtle Bay which derived its name from the many turtles in its water. The area was surveyed during Stephen F. Austin's colonization and has been used primarily for the grazing of cattle.

VAN VLECK was originally known as Hardeman's Post Office after the Hardeman family who moved to the area from Tennessee prior to 1836. In 1900 the tiny settlement had grown and was named after W. G. Van Vleck, the Southern Pacific Railroad superintendent. The original town site was northwest of the present site which is six miles east of Bay City. 

VANN SETTLEMENT, also known as King Vann African Settlement, was situated on Buckner's Prairie in William Rabb League #46. Activities in the area centered around the school and church.

WADSWORTH is situated on State Highway 60 between Bay City and Matagorda. The community was named for the Wadsworth family who descended from Albert Wadsworth, a twenty-five-year-old sailor who came to Matagorda County from North Carolina in 1838. Land speculators from the northern states platted the town in 1909.

WILSON CREEK COMMUNITY is situated in west central Matagorda County just off FM 1095.

WELL POINT, situated in southwest Matagorda County on Turtle Bay, received its name from the fresh water spring situated in the area. Due to the erosion of the coastline, the spring is now in the bay. The spring supplied the Karankawa Indians with fresh water and made the area a favorite camping ground. In the 1840's two prominent citizens of the county, Captain John Duncan and Judge Silas Dinsmore, planned to build a town and call it "Canmore." The plan for a town died with Dinsmore.

ZIPPRIAN'S CORNER was the site of a general merchandise store at the crossroads of State Highway 60 and the road leading from Gulf to Selkirk Island. Charles Wellington Zipprian operated his store from 1927 until the 1950's.
 

 

Copyright 2004 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Dec. 2, 2004
Updated
Nov. 16, 2008
   

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