Bay City: A settlement that arose from the prairie

Matagorda CountyTXGenWeb
This Matagorda County courthouse was built in 1896 and is shown surrounded by flood waters - a big problem until a levee was constructed.

   EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 125th anniversary of Bay City’s founding in 1894.
   Since several events occurred in September that year, the Bay City Sentinel will feature the history of Bay City written the late Matagorda County historian Mary Belle Ingram throughout September.
   This is the second installment of Bay City’s history.
By Mary B. Ingram
From last week on History
   This stuffy little building first served as a county clerk’s office. At an early date Judge T.J. Hamilton erected a two-story building across from the northwest corner of the square, on lots now occupied by Badouh’s big store.
   This structure was used as a temporary court house and became the focus of the community’s religious life, as a union church and Sunday school held forth there.
   J.D. Moore immediately moved the post office and a small stock of groceries from Elliott into a squatty one story shack on the site now occupied by the post office building. D.P. Moore moved his ry goodsand clothing stock up from Matagorda. Old timers counting noses find D. P. Moore still in business (1931). 
   He has served that section for something over half a century, and has been in business longer than any other merchant in Matagorda County.
   Preceding J. D . Moore by a few days, W. E. Sayers, hauling his groceries, etc., in by wagon, was the first hopeful merchant to set up a crude mercantile establishment in the middle of the same block. 
   It wasn’t much of a store according to the standard of Bay City stores of today, but it was a start. Finally the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker were lured to the new town. 
   This was during the Southwest’s saloon days, when almost every town had one or more of them, hence very shortly one of these dispensaries of rosebud nose paint opened across the street from the townsite office, and this particular line continued to expand until Bay City had six booze joints for whites and one for negroes. 
   But the old order passeth- all of those saloons faded from the pictures, when they were forever outlawed by the vote of 1904. 

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