St. Mary's of Aransas, Texas

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St. Mary's of Aransas is a ghost town near the present community of Bayside in Refugio County, Texas, United States. It served as a settlement and major port until the emergence of Rockport in the late 19th century.

History[edit]

St. Mary's of Aransas was founded around 1850, two miles north of the settlement of Black Point, nearby the port of Copano, by developer Joseph F. Smith. The town soon grew into a major port and became a leading lumber and construction-material center on the Texas coast.[1] Other goods shipped included hides, tallow, cattle, and cotton, which were exchanged via wagon to Refugio, Goliad, Beeville and San Antonio.[2]

During the American Civil War, the port was used by blockade runners, and as a result, federal troops attacked and burned down a warehouse and two wharves. A few leading citizens left the town during the war, including Joseph F. Smith.[1] After the war, the Morgan Lines were connected to the town and would make stops at the port. But after an 1875 Hurricane, and a buildup of wreckage in Copano Bay due to shallow reefs, the lines no longer stopped at the town.[2] St. Mary's was named as the county seat of Refugio County in the 1869 Texas Constitution, but lost the designation to the growing port of Rockport in 1871.[3] In the 1880s, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway was built to Rockport rather than St. Mary's, and an 1886 hurricane destroyed a schoolhouse and the wharves. The town declined further after another storm the next year, and by 1907, the general store and post office were closed.[2]

Between 1909 and 1910, the former site of St. Mary's was annexed by the town of Bayside, which had been founded in 1908, and eventually stretched three and a half miles along Copano Bay from Black Point.[4]

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Long, Christopher (November 11, 2009). "Aransas County". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Huson, Hobart (May 30, 2010). "St. Mary's of Aransas, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Leffler, John (May 30, 2010). "Aransas County". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Benowitz, June Melby (May 30, 2010). "Bayside, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  5. ^ DeMoss, Dorothy D. (May 30, 2010). "Clara Driscoll". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Huson, Hobart (May 30, 2010). "Alfred Marmaduke Hobby". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 18 August 2010.