Colorado House place to stay in Matagorda

Matagorda County History Website


Young Virginia bride lost in Matagorda Bay shipwreck

Eliza ‘Pink’ Dunn

   EDITOR’S NOTE: In our March 28 History Page on Matagorda Peninsula Bar Pilot George Morgan, the story told how Morgan was among the rescuers of the steamship Independence that broke apart attempting to enter Matagorda Bay at Pass Cavallo March 20, 1852. 
   In preparing that article, we came across the story of a young Virginia bride and her husband, a U.S. Army officer bound for West Texas, who were aboard the Independence when it founded in the waves at Pass Cavallo.
   She perished in the shipwreck, but he lived and never remarried.
   The following comes from:
Pioneer Families of Washington County, Virginia
   Eliza Margaret "Pink" Dunn was born on 3 May 1834 in Washington County, Virginia.


Cafe owner Gillette a popular Bay City citizen

Matagorda County TXGenWeb


"A&M gets an Orsak family classic" by: Mike Reddell

Contributed photo
County Agent Emeritus James Engbrock, left, and Thomas Orsak stand in front of a 1958 single row cotton harvester that the George W. Orsak Estate is donating to Texas A&M AgriLife for use in cotton research.

  The George W. Orsak Estate of Matagorda County has given Texas A&M what could be considered almost an heirloom gift of a 60-year-plus cotton harvester that the university will put to immediate use on fields throughout Texas. 
   The 1958 single-row cotton harvester has to be considered an agriculture classic. 
   That’s because the machine represented a giant leap from hand picking cotton to the automation of plucking the boll from the plant and sending it to the basket or sack atop the harvester, said former County Agent Emeritus James Engbrock. 
   The single-row harvester has been in the the George Orsak family all of these years, including longtime Matagorda County cotton farmer Thomas Orsak, his son Carey, and Thomas’ four sisters, Mrs. Heresa Hluza of West Columbia, and Mrs. Marilyn Hollas, Mrs. Barbara Manna and Ms. Jane LaCroix, all of Bay City. 


Multiple investigations made on Caney Creek ship wreck

This is a model of the Black Cloud, which was investigated in 1980 by students from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A & M University. It illustrates construction techniques used later in western steamboat design. Several of the Black Cloud’s dimensions can be compared to the Caney Creek wreck. The Black Cloud was built in Orange, Texas, in 1864.

   Caney Creek, in Southeast Texas, was an important thoroughfare for steam navigation in the 19th century. 
   This creek provided communication between the wealthy upstream plantations, and the ports of Matagorda, Indianola, and abroad. In the 1800’s, Caney Creek, also known as “Cane Brake Creek,” or “Old Caney” emptied into the Gulf of Mexico just east of Matagorda Bay. 
   During the period of rising sea levels, a wide estuary occupied the present Caney Creek area. This estuary gradually filled with fluvial deposits of the Holocene Brazos-Colorado Delta. 
   The main eroding stream, presently the main channel of the Colorado River, split away from the older (Caney Creek) channel and diverted flow to the west. The massive log jam trapped sediments in the Colorado and prevented the river from creating a delta into Matagorda Bay until it was removed in 1929. 


"George Morgan: Matagorda Peninsula Bar Pilot" By Russell Huebner Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   Life on Matagorda Peninsula has never been easy. Historically, it was a place of dreams that never came true by dreamers enticed to the island by its own subtle beauty among other reasons.
   In the late 1600s, a French explorer, Rene Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle arrived near there. Twelve of his party of settlers ended upon the peninsula for a while and only six of them left a few weeks later.
   Karankawa Indians were responsible for the deaths of some of the six, leaving rattlesnakes, disease, and hunger to take care of the rest.
   This is borne out by documents from the resurrection of La Salle's ship La Belle in Matagorda Bay. Discoveries from La Belle enabled historians and archeologists to sort out LaSalle's almost every movement.
   But La Salle's men were just a part of the peninsula's history.


Carrington obituary in 1931

   Capt. J.C. Carrington, one of this section’s most highly respected and best loved of men, died at his home in this city this morning at 9:45 o’clock after many months of illness.
   The funeral, under the direction of Taylor Brothers, will be held Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock from the Baptist Church with Captain Carrington’s pastor, Rev. Odis Rainer, Baptist minister in charge of the ceremonies.
   In the death of this good man the city and county lose one of our foremost citizens, his family a loving husband and father, his associates a splendid friend and his community, a matchless neighbor. His life amongst us was one of example, rectitude and dependability. His character was frank and sincere and his loyalty unquestioned. His jovial smile and genuine handclasp will be missed by all of those with whom he was wont to mingle.


"The Lost Santa Rosa treasure ship in West Matagorda Bay" Ray Theiss Lone Star Ghost Towns

A modern-day reproduction of a 18th century Spanish treasure ship.

Matagorda Bay is a large body of water located in-between Galveston and Victoria. 
   The bay itself is divided into two separate entities, East and West Matagorda, and both empty directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
   Since the mid-1500s, Matagorda Bay has been mapped and explored by sailors from Spain and France. 
   Over the course of its lengthy history, there are numerous accounts of shipwrecks and lost treasures scattered in the vicinity of the bay and upon the narrow strip of land named today as Matagorda island. 
   Of all the stories and legends though concerning Matagorda Bay and Matagorda Island, there is one that has caused serious speculations and research for over 30 years and that has yet to be fully discovered. 


Jane McManus: Texas’ only female colonizer

   Jane Cazneau [pseuds.: Montgomery, Cora Montgomery, Corrine Montgomery], journalist, author, promoter, and unofficial diplomat, daughter of William Telemachus and Catharina (Coons) McManus, was born in or near Troy, New York, on April 6, 1807. 
   Her father served in the United States Congress from 1825 to 1827. 
   She had three brothers, including Robert O.W.  
   She was apparently raised Lutheran, but seems to have become Catholic as a young woman. 
   She married William F. (or Allen B.) Storms in 1825 and had a son but was divorced in 1831. 
   Three years later she was named as Aaron Burr’s mistress in a divorce suit brought against the former United States vice president. 


"Duncan Plantation influence continues through present" By Thelma Smith Submitted by Willie Wiley Jr. and Jerrilyn Capers

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
This cemetery is located on property once owned by John Duncan. There is a Texas Centennial marker located at the site. There are also slaves buried on the property, but the names are unknown.

   Stephen F. Austin’s famed “Old Three Hundred” settlers in the 1820s and 1830s included several pioneers who created Caney Creek plantations.
   One of the historic plantations along Caney Creek was the John Duncan Plantation of the 1840s – 60s.
   John Duncan was born in Pennsylvania in 1788. He left the state and moved to Alabama, where he met and married Julia Coan. The couple’s five children were: Thomas, Sarah, John Jr., Mary and Samuel.
   In Alabama, Duncan had a successful steamship business that included a line on the Alabama River between Catawaba, Moblie and Selma. It’s unknown why, but Duncan abandoned his business, his plantation and his family and moved to Texas.
   Whatever the reason, Duncan arrived in Matagorda County in 1835. He enlisted in the Matagorda and Bay Prairie Company of Texian volunteers. He participated in the Oct. 9, 1835, capture of Goliad under Captain George M. Collinsworth, also of Matagorda County.


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