Children’s letters to Santa show wishes in 1916

   EDITOR’S NOTE: The following children’s letters to Santa are taken from the Palacios Beacon in its Dec. 22, 1916 edition.
   Santa Claus Letters
Palacios Beacon, December 22, 1916
   Some of the fourth grade pupils of the public schools have written letters to Santa Claus, telling him what they want for Christmas, and they have been furnished the Beacon by the teacher, Miss Skinner, which we are pleased to publish and which we are sure will be read with interest.
   Palacios, Tex., Dec. 15, 1916
   Dear Santa Claus: I am going to write you a letter today. You live way up north where it is so cold, and I am going to tell you about my home. We are going to have a good time Xmas.
   We can go bathing sometimes in the winter and all the time in summer. We have a large bay down here. The trees are still green down here and so is the grass and flowers.


"Settlers on Matagorda Peninsula endured hardships" By: Mary Belle Ingram From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page

   Matagorda Peninsula, a fifty-one mile stretch of land not more than two miles in width, extends from the mouth of Caney Creek in eastern Matagorda County to Decros Point (Pass Cavallo) on the west.             
   The Colorado River channel cuts through the Peninsula some twenty-four miles from the pass.              
   From the time of Stephen F Austin in 1822, immigrants have settled on the Peninsula for various reasons: health, livelihood, recreation, and the like. 
  In the 1800's several settlements existed on this land, flourished, then disappeared as hurricanes took their toll.         
   In his book, Information About Texas, written in 1858, D. E. E. Braman writes about Matagorda Peninsula:
   The Bay of Matagorda, a large body of water almost wholly within the county, is separated from the Gulf of Mexico, and formed by the "Matagorda Peninsula," a strip of land sixty-five miles long, and averaging one mile wide.     


Immigrants from Hanover began German Settlement

Cowboy, Pinkerton Agent and popular western writer Charles Siringo was raised at German Settlement.

   German Settlement was established by a colony of immigrants who left Hanover in 1846 and immigrated first to Indianola, in nearby Calhoun County. 
   After disease took many of their number, the survivors moved to the Matagorda Peninsula, of which Matagorda resident Don E. E. Braman wrote in his Braman's Information About Texas (1857) that "there is no healthier region in the world." 
   The villagers, who had access to fresh water on the Gulf side of the peninsula, were primarily farmers and stock raisers. 
   On the peninsula they built a village of some dozen houses, at one of which Charles A. Siringo was born in 1855. 
   Siringo's autobiographical A Texas Cow Boy (1885) describes his boyhood there and includes his first-hand accounts of Union and Confederate action nearby.         


Portsmouth once a promising shipping point

Matagorda County Museum
Above, a photo of the beach at Portsmouth, while the Portsmouth or Palacios Point, hotel is shown below.

   Portsmouth, known earlier as Palacios Point, was a bayside settlement located on Matagorda Bay in the extreme southwestern part of mainland Matagorda County, eight miles across Tres Palacios Bay from what later became Palacios. 
   In January 1838, John Duncan and Richard Royster Royall advertised in the Matagorda Bulletin that lots at Half Moon Point, where Tres Palacios and Matagorda bays came together, would go up for sale in March of that year. 
   A local history cites this as the founding date of Palacios Point. Apparently the town never developed extensively, but later George Burkhart platted a townsite, sold some lots, and built a few houses, one of which he kept as a summer home. 
   Prior to the Civil War Palacios Point, which at that time consisted of a number of wharves and warehouses as well as a few houses, handled cotton shipments brought in by wagon and riverboat. 


"Preston early county trading center" by: Mary B. Ingram

Electra was on the same site or quite close to Elliott’s Ferry on the west side of the Colorado River, just west of present-day Bay City. It is shown on maps of Texas drawn in 1836 and in 1845. The maps show Electra on the early trails from Victoria to Brazoria. This map is dated 1839.

   Preston was established in 1838 in the northeastern part of Matagorda County at the head of Bay Prairie. 
   It was on the road from Matagorda to Columbus and San Felipe and was within four-and-a-half miles of the Colorado River and two-and-a-half miles of Caney Creek.’ 
   Serving the plantation owners in that vicinity, the small community existed for some twenty years and then slowly became a ghost town to be replaced by Waterville and later by Wharton. 
   It was some 10 miles south of present Wharton in the vicinity of Iago. 
   In the Matagorda Bulletin dated February 5, 1838, the proprietors, D. Davis D. Baker, John Huff, and Charles DeMorse, had an advertisement telling of the new town and that lots were available. 

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"Portland: A town proposed to bypass the log jam" By: Mary B. Ingram

   The proposed city of Portland (at the head of the raft on the Colorado River approximately 12 miles above the town of Matagorda) is an interesting account of one of the early promoters who came to Texas during Stephen F. Austin‘s era.  
   Born in Philadelphia in 1766, Nicholas Clopper, Sr., came to Texas in 1822, and was involved in many promotion schemes until his death in 1841. 
   His son, Nicholas Clopper, Jr., was one of the young men killed by Indians at the mouth of the Colorado River in the fall of 1822.  
   League No. 7 situated at the head of the raft was a sitio of land granted to Clopper by Stephen F. Austin Dec. 18, 1830, in exchange for the land he possessed at San Felipe. 
   Edward Nicholas Clopper, a great-grandson of Nicholas Clopper, Sr., tells the story of the proposed city of Portland in Matagorda County in his book, An American Family Through Eight Generations. 

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Levy: Surgeon in Chief of Texas Army, Navy

From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page & Handbook of Texas Online 


Albert Moses (Moses A.) Levy, physician, was born to Abraham and Rachel Cornelia (Bernard) Levy in 1800, probably in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Levy family moved to Richmond, Virginia, in 1818.

His brothers and sisters were: Isaac, Jacob, Lewis, Esther, Mary, Julia and Rebecca. Albert, who was Jewish, married Maria A. Bishop, an Episcopalian, about 1830; they had one child, Rachel Cornelia, born in 1832, the year Levy completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.


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Bay City VFD battling blazes for 110 years

Matagorda County Museum
Just two years after the Bay City Volunteer Fire Department was formed, the entire west side of the square, including the post office, burned March 8, 1908. Fire was discovered at 5 a.m. in the row of frame buildings that filled the west side of the square and spread rapidly until the entire row was gone.

   The Bay City Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1906 - 110 years of service to Bay City and the surrounding areas.
   William Walker Sr. was the first fire chief when the only equipment in the city was a two-wheeled, hand-drawn chemical cart.
   Later two hand-drawn hose carts were added, but these were meager beginnings for an organization that was to become of the best all-all volunteer fire departments in the instate.
   It was not until 1915 that the group purchased its first equipment that did not rely on a “strong back” for power. 
   A Crawford truck was purchased and converted into a hose truck.
   Originally, the fire station was located where the municipal court building now stands on Sixth Street. 
   That iron-cclad, two-story firehouse also served as business place for city affairs. 


"Sargent-Rugeley House now has 2 markers" by: David Holubec

Photo: Anthony Doubek
Herreth family members take part in the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker for the Sargent-Rugeley House - from left, A.C. and Georgia Herreth are joined by their sons, Brett Herreth and Albert “Abby” Herreth.

   The Sargent – Rugeley – Herreth home retains the integrity of its original design materials and is a perfect example of the Prairie, Greek revival style of design in our city. 
   The house is situated near the designated Southside Historic District of Bay City. 
   The home has stood for over one hundred years as a significant architectural landmark and a place where the families welcomed fellow members of the community to share their hospitality as well as their appreciation of the arts, community activism and Bay City’s history. 
   It is one of the remaining prominent homes with historical integrity in Bay City. 
   Our city’s historic homes have been destroyed over the decades in the name of progress. 
   It is not just the carefully rendered Prairie architectural style architecture of the house itself that has contributed to Bay City’s cultural and historical legacy. 


Matagorda Lodge hosts open house

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Matagorda Lodge No. 7 AF&AM held an open last Saturday. From left, are Worshipful Master Tom Black and Lodge Secretary George Deshotels, with Louanna and Shawn Blackburn.


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