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SALURIA, TX

SALURIA, TEXAS. Saluria was on the eastern end of Matagorda Island in southern Calhoun County. The town was projected by James Power with associates Alexander Somervell and Milford P. Norton. On March 17, 1847, Power deeded the townsite to Somervell, J. W. Denison, and John W. Rose. Somervell served as agent to divide the site into lots and lay off the streets. In March 1847 the customs collection district of Saluria was established, with Saluria as the port of entry. In December 1850, however, the customhouse at Saluria was moved to La Salle, six miles south of Indianola. A post office was established at Saluria in 1848, and the federal government built a lighthouse nearby in 1852. During the 1850s Saluria became a thriving port and ranching center. Governors Henry Smith and Edmund J. Davis had residences at Saluria; other early residents included John Reagan Baker, James W. Byrne, and Albert C. Horton. With the outbreak of the Civil War, many federal troops in Texas made their way to the coast, hoping to find transport to the North. Some 500 had gathered at Saluria when they were compelled to surrender to Confederate colonel Earl Van Dorn on April 25, 1861. After being paroled, they were allowed to sail for New York. During the federal blockade of 1862 when invasion seemed imminent, Saluria inhabitants fled to the mainland. Confederate troops stationed at nearby Fort Esperanza later burned the town, dismantled the lighthouse, and drove most of the cattle off the island. Daniel D. Shea's artillery, under the command of Col. W. T. Bradfute, defended the fort until November 29, 1863, when Confederate forces retreated to the mainland. In June 1864 the federal troops at Fort Esperanza withdrew. After the departure of Union forces, citizens began moving back to Matagorda Island. In 1869 the island was sufficiently populated to be organized as a separate county precinct. The recovery of Saluria, however, was doomed by the same forces that destroyed the more famous nearby port of Indianola. In September 1875 a hurricane devastated upper and lower Saluria. Its post office was discontinued the next year but was briefly reestablished in 1886–87. Another hurricane in 1886, however, sealed the fate of Saluria. By 1904 a rural school with one teacher and seven white students was the only vestige of the community, and by 1936 even the school had been abandoned. The townsite was not marked on the 1936 county highway map.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Calhoun County Historical Commission, Shifting Sands of Calhoun County, Texas (Port Lavaca, Texas, ca. 1980). Lester N. Fitzhugh, "Saluria, Fort Esperanza, and Military Operations on the Texas Coast, 1861–1864," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 61 (July 1957). George H. French, comp., Indianola Scrap Book (Victoria: Victoria Advocate, 1936; rpt., Austin: San Felipe, 1974). S. Robert Hoekstra, A Historical Study of Texas Ports in the Civil War (M.A. thesis, Texas College of Arts and Industries, 1951). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). Brownson Malsch, Indianola-The Mother of Western Texas (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1977).

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"SALURIA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvs11), accessed November 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.