Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Hobart Huson

ARANSAS CITY, TEXAS. Aransas City, now a ghost town, was founded about 1837 by James Power on Live Oak Point in what was Refugio County but is now Aransas County. Before the Texas Revolution Power built his home at the point; after the war he constructed a commissary and planned the townsite in an area once occupied by a Spanish-Mexican fort called Aránzazu, which guarded the entrance to Copano Bay. He entered into a partnership with friend and politician Henry Smith to help lay out and promote the town. Aransas City, with several stores and an estimated population of 500, was the actual seat of government of Refugio County until April 1840, and it was often used as a refugee county seat between 1840 and 1846. The town, incorporated on January 28, 1839, was the location of a Republic of Texas customhouse. Until Corpus Christi was founded, Aransas City was the westernmost port in Texas. It reached its commercial zenith when the Mexican Federalist army had its rendezvous at Fort Lipantitlán in 1838 and much contraband traffic in munitions centered in the port. Aransas City was raided on several occasions by Comanche and Karankawa Indians and was sacked by Mexican irregulars in 1838, 1839, and 1841. The choice of Refugio as county seat, the rivalry of Corpus Christi and Lamar as ports, and the loss of the customhouse after annexation contributed to the decline of the town. It had ceased to exist by 1847.


William Allen and Sue Hastings Taylor, Aransas: The Life of a Texas Coastal County (Austin: Eakin Press, 1997). Aransas County-Rockport Centennial, A Glimpse at Our Past...on the Occasion of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Incorporation of Rockport, 1870, and the Establishment of Aransas County, 1871 (Corpus Christi: Coastal Printing, 1971).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Hobart Huson, "ARANSAS CITY, TX," accessed August 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on October 5, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox