Elder Selkirk helped lay out town of Matagorda

William Selkirk’s land was originally several islands formed by branches and channels of the Colorado River. Dredging of the river closed the channels and the land was no longer divided in islands. The islands can be seen north of Matagorda on a map drawn by William Selkirk’s son, James H. Selkirk. It shows the town of Matagorda and the planned towns of Austin and Palacios. The present town of Palacios was established across Trespalacios Bay to the north.

   William Selkirk, one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred colonists, one of at least two sons of James and Elizabeth (Henry) Selkirk, of Selkirk, New York, was born on July 24, 1792. 
   His father was a Scottish immigrant.  
   Before coming to Texas around the fall of 1823 William Selkirk served in the War of 1812, worked as a silversmith, and married Matilda Hallenbake, with whom he had two children before her death on August 25, 1820.  
   He left the children under the guardianship of his brother and went to Texas, where he became a surveyor for the Austin colony. 
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