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Matagorda in 1850

 

Historic Accounts of Life in South Texas

 
From "Texas in 1850" by Melinda Rankin Published 1852
 
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Matagorda, an interesting town of one thousand inhabitants, is situated on a bay of the same name, at the mouth of the Colorado river. Vessels drawing seven feet of water approach within six miles of town. It is considered a very healthy location enjoying a constant sea breeze, in all its freshness and purity. Hence it is sought as a summer's residence for the wealthy planters of the vicinity.

Matagorda was settled quite early, and was formerly a place of much business, being the only place of depot on the Colorado river, and of an extensive fertile country, which found its natural market at this point. Other towns springing up have lessened its consequence somewhat ; it retains, however, a good degree of importance, and has recently received a fresh impulse by which its business is rapidly increasing.

The religious character of Matagorda is very respectable. The Episcopal and Baptist churches have good buildings, and the regular administration of the gospel. The former consists of nearly 150 members. The church was organized at a very early period, and was sustained mainly through the efforts of the Rev. Mr. Ives, who came to Matagorda in 1837, and manifested an untiring zeal in the promotion of the spiritual interests of the people, until his arduous labors wore out his constitution and ended his life in 1849. Mr. Ives may well be regarded as an important benefactor to the moral interests of Matagorda. "The memory of the just is blessed. ''

No good school buildings have been erected, as yet, though such are in contemplation; and if the union and co-operation of the people could be effected, this place would afford an excellent location for an institution of the first order.

Conflicts in school matters have retarded the progress of education in Matagorda, as has been the case in numerous other instances in Texas.

This town, for several years, has enjoyed the advantage of a teacher of music, by which means the youth have acquired a good degree of proficiency in this accomplishment, an advantage which is not usually enjoyed in Texas.

Instrumental and vocal music have not received a great degree of attention, as yet; but, as the country advances in improvements, this subject will, probably, acquire a paramount importance. Competent music teachers would not fail of, meeting with a good degree of encouragement, at the present, and they might with much reason be hailed as important agents of usefulness, in moulding the moral sentiments of youth, by turning their attention from trivial amusements to the cultivation of those powers which might be rendered to them sources of pleasure and usefulness.


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