In December of 1821 the schooner Lively, which was supposed to bring about twenty or so men to meet up with Stephen F. Austin at the mouth of the Colorado River, missed its target and landed instead at the mouth of the Brazos River in what today is known as Surfside Beach, Texas.
The Lively was part of Austin’s effort to settle his “Old 300” (actually 297) grantees on three hundred-seven land parcels approved by the newly-independent Mexican government for American settlers between the Colorado and Brazos Rivers in then sparsely populated Texas.
Also at the mouth of the Brazos as it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, was Fort Velasco, constructed in May of 1832 in order to help enforce customs and immigration laws as Mexico began to fear the annexation of Texas by the United States. It was about a month before the fort fell to Texas settlers in the Battle of Velasco, which marks the beginning of the Texas Revolution that led to Texas independence and yes, eventually US annexation of Texas.
Traces of the first Fort Velasco (because there have been at least a couple of others) have largely disappeared through the years and hurricanes, but there is an ongoing effort to build a replica on the location of the original in the village of Surfside Beach. It isn’t much yet, but I got to see it and the plans for it on a quick girls’ beach getaway last week and I can see why the settlers aboard the Lively might not have been too disappointed to land there even if it did mean they missed their meetup.
With my aunt, cousin, sister, and of course Sock Monkey Steve who got to be an honorary girl for the trip, I drove down to spend several days in a beach house within a quick walk of the mouth of the Brazos River and the Fort Velasco site. Surfside Beach is about forty miles southwest of Galveston and, much to my delight, not quite twenty miles southwest of the best named little Texas town I have ever come across.
Alas, Angleton, Texas was not named for me, an Angleton by marriage rather than by birth. According to the town’s historians, it was named in honor of the wife of the general manager of the Velasco Terminal Railroad, who rumor has it was an “Angle” and not an Angleton at all. Personally, I prefer the family legend that suggests the town was named for the fearsome band of Angleton horse thieves that hid out there. Which only goes to show that, unlike most things, tall tales are not necessarily bigger in Texas.
I admit, I spent more time on the trip soaking up the sun and taking pictures of Steve than I did learning the history of either the fort or the curiously named town, but I’m glad to have since read up on it. And it was really nice to get away for a little while, especially since while I was gone, a certain husband I know started on a project. Allegedly this had been planned for some time and had nothing to do with anything I may or may not have posted on the internet with his full knowledge and permission.
But either way, Steve and I are glad to be home.