Portsmouth, TX

By: Rachel Jenkins

Type: General Entry

Published: September 1, 1995

Portsmouth, known earlier as Palacios Point, was a bayside settlement located on Matagorda Bay in the extreme southwestern part of mainland Matagorda County, eight miles across Tres Palacios Bay from what later became Palacios. In January 1838 John Duncan and Richard Royster Royall advertised in the Matagorda Bulletin that lots at Half Moon Point, where Tres Palacios and Matagorda bays came together, would go up for sale in March of that year. A local history cites this as the founding date of Palacios Point. Apparently the town never developed extensively, but later George Burkhart platted a townsite, sold some lots, and built a few houses, one of which he kept as a summer home. Prior to the Civil War Palacios Point, which at that time consisted of a number of wharves and warehouses as well as a few houses, handled cotton shipments brought in by wagon and riverboat. After the war and the rise of the cattle industry the port's wharves were enlarged, and a bridge (which was later washed away) was built across the mouth of Oyster Lake. Conflicts over the land title and damage suffered from a severe storm stopped further development of the area, and by the late 1880s the houses were torn down. Their lumber was used by Jonathan Edwards Pierce for a summer house. In 1902, with the arrival of the railroads and the attendant land promotion boom, Burton David Hurd platted Portsmouth at the site of Palacios Point. Though a hotel there hosted fishermen and hunters for a number of years, this town also never developed. No further information was available on Portsmouth.

Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., 1986–88).


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

Rachel Jenkins, “Portsmouth, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/portsmouth-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995