During the early days of Anglo-American colonization in Texas, the Matagorda Bay Prairie area was an important route for people traveling between settlements. A convenient river crossing was a necessity, and a ferry was established on the Thomas Cayce league of land near this site. Known as Cayce's Ferry, the site was garrisoned by a small army post.
In January 1839 George Elliott (1806-1862) purchased land on the west bank of the Colorado River from Thomas Cayce, and from that time the ferry crossing was known as Elliott's Ferry. George Elliott was assisted in his endeavors by two nephews, William Elliott and John Elliott, who continued the ferry business after George Elliott's death.
By 1863 a small settlement had grown up around Elliott's Ferry. A small mercantile business and a post office known as Elliott's Ferry, Texas, were in operation in 1872. In 1893 the post office name was changed to Elliott, Texas, and a year later was moved to Bay City. In 1902 a bridge was built over the Colorado River two miles northwest of Bay City. Known as the "Old River Bridge", its completion resulted in the demise of Elliott's Ferry.