Pause in Blog


Come on over to my 2 updated blogs, ancestry details continue at Three Family Trees,

Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, the scenery and my potting life are combined.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Galveston History - part 1

I want to share a bit of background on this city, where my paternal roots were planted for many years.

The Swaseys, the Grangers, the Phillips, the Gainers, and the Rogers came to that city when it was a booming attraction on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Geographically, "the city of Galveston is on Galveston Island two miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, at 29°18' north latitude and 94°47' west longitude, in Galveston County. It is fifty miles from Houston . On its eastern end where the city stands, the currents of Galveston Bay maintain a natural harbor which historically provided the best port site between New Orleans and Veracruz. 

Texas History Online tells us: "Karankawa Indians used the island for hunting and fishing, and it was the probable location of the shipwreck landing of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1528. José de Evia, who charted the Texas coast in 1785, named Galveston Bay in honor of Bernardo de Gálvez, the viceroy of Mexico. Later mapmakers applied the name Galveston to the island.

Wikipedia continues the history thus:
The first permanent European settlements on the island were constructed around 1816 by the pirate Louis-Michel Aury as a base of operations to support Mexico's rebellion against Spain. In 1817, Aury returned from an unsuccessful raid against Spain [for Mexican independence] to find the island occupied by the pirate Jean Lafitte, who took up residence there after having been driven from his stronghold in Barataria Bay off the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana. Lafitte organized the island's settlement into a pirate "kingdom" he called "Campeche", anointing himself the "head of government." Lafitte remained at Campeche until 1821 when he and his raiders were given an ultimatum by the United States Navy: leave or be destroyed. Lafitte burned his settlement to the ground and sailed under cover of night for parts unknown.

[Remember Texas belonged to Mexico until 1836.]


Following its successful revolution from Spain, the Congress of Mexico issued a proclamation on October 17, 1825, establishing the Port of Galveston, and in 1830 erected a customs house. During the Texas Revolution, Galveston served as the main port for the Texas Navy. Galveston also served as the capital of the Republic of Texas when in 1836 interim president David G. Burnet relocated his government there. In 1836, Michel Branamour Menard, a native of Canada, along with several associates purchased 4,605 acres (18.64 km2) of land for $50,000 from the Austin Colony to found the town that would become the modern city of Galveston. Menard and his associates began selling plots on April 20, 1838. In 1839, the City of Galveston adopted a charter and was incorporated by the Congress of the Republic of Texas.
During the mid-19th century, Galveston emerged as an international city with immigration and trade from around the U.S. and the world. The city became one of the nation's busiest ports and the world's leading port for cotton exports. Galveston became Texas' largest city and, during that era, was its prime commercial center.
 Wikipedia lists:
  During this golden era of Galveston's history, the city was home to a number of state firsts that include the first post office (1836), the first naval base (1836), the first Texas chapter of a Masonic order (1840); the first cotton compress (1842), the first parochial school (Ursuline Academy) (1847), the first insurance company (1854), the first gas lights (1856), first Roman Catholic hospital (St. Mary's Hospital) (1866), first Jewish Reform Congregation (Congregation B'nai Israel) (1868), the first opera house (1870), the first orphanage (1876), the first telephone (1878), the first electric lights (1883), the first medical college (now the University of Texas Medical Branch) (1891), and the first school for nurses (1890).

Honoring my ancestor Lucy Pulsifer Granger for the next two days...then I'll return to more Galveston information.

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