Morgan's Point, Texas

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Morgan's Point is a city in Harris County, Texas, United States located on the shores of the Galveston Bay at the inlet to the Houston Ship Channel, near La Porte and Pasadena. It earned fame in Texas' early history for being the home of the legendary Emily West (Morgan), known as the Yellow Rose of Texas. It later became an early Houston-area resort community for the wealthy in the early 20th century. Today, thanks to the construction of the Barbours Cut shipping terminal, it is at the center of one the area's most important shipping hubs.

Contents

History

The area was first settled in 1822 by Nicholas Rightor, a surveyor commissioned by Stephen F. Austin to explore and survey the areas between the Brazos and Lavaca rivers.[3] He soon sold the property it changed hands to Johnson Calhoun Hunter and then Joseph C. Clopper who used the property to grow orange and lemon trees. The property was finally sold to James Morgan in 1834 who established the short-lived colony of New Washington. Morgan had helped supply the Texian army during the Texas Revolution and was given the rank of colonel. The settlement was destroyed by the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. A legend surfaced much later surrounding a mulatto woman named Emily West.[4] She became an indentured servant (but not a slave) of Morgan and, according to legend, used her beauty to occupy Mexican General Santa Anna thereby facilitating his capture by the Texan army, thus ending the revolutionary war. Historians differ on the degree of truth of this legend.

The area began to redevelop as the Houston Ship Channel was dredged near the area in the later 19th century. The community grew around traffic crossing the ship channel to and from Goose Creek (now Baytown). Ferry service would eventually become established. The Morgan Point Ferry operated until the mid 20th century.

Following the start of the Texas oil boom in 1901 Galveston Bay became an attractive summer destination for the wealthy from Houston and nearby areas.[5] Plots along Bayridge Road were sold for the construction of summer homes including the famed Sterling Mansion, a former governor's residence that is now a landmark (not to be confused with the mansion in Houston).[6] During the 20s and 30s the shoreline between Morgan's Point and Sylvan Beach came to be known as the Texas Gold Coast, a playground for the rich.[7]

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