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After Texas independence, the area became part of the newly formed Refugio County. Around 1832 James Power founded Aransas City on Live Oak Point near the site of the Aránzazu fort. A customhouse, a post office, and several stores were established at the settlement, which by April 1840 served as the de facto seat of government for Refugio County. Until the establishment of Corpus Christi, Aransas City was the westernmost port in Texas; its estimated population was several hundred. The town was raided by Comanche and Karankawa Indians on several occasions, and at least three times by Mexican bandits, in 1838, 1839, and 1841.
 

At about the same time three local figures, Capt. James W. Byrne, George R. Hull, and George Armstrong, were developing another townsite, Lamar, across the pass on Lookout Point. After Mirabeau B. Lamar became president of Texas, he ordered the customhouse moved to the new town.

 
During the Civil War the area that was to become Aransas County was the site of several engagements between Union and Confederate forces. In February 1862 marines from the USS Afton went ashore on St. Joseph's Island and destroyed Aransas. By the summer, civilians had deserted the islands. Vessels of the United States Navy under J. W. Kittredge blockaded the coast, using St. Joseph's Island as a depot to store captured cotton. On May 3, 1863, Capt. Edwin E. Hobby's Confederate company attacked the Union garrison there and killed twenty, but in November 1863 federal troops under T. C. G. Robinson succeeded in regaining control of the island. St. Mary's, which had been a prime focus for blockade runners, was attacked, and its wharves and warehouses were destroyed. Many of the town's leading citizens moved elsewhere, including Joseph F. Smith, who moved to Tuxpan, Vera Cruz, where he purchased a plantation and lived until his death.
   

Cities and towns

Aransas Pass
Fulton
Rockport


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Updates

August 2014:


County History

December 2013:

1880 Federal Census for Lamar

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Surrounding Counties


Calhoun County (northeast)
Gulf of Mexico (southeast)
Nueces County (south)
San Patricio County (west)
Refugio County (northwest)

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