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ARANSAS, TEXAS. Aransas, on the southwestern end of St. Joseph Island in what became Aransas County, was established about 1845. It was originally called St. Josephs and later named for Aransas Bay. The town was laid out by Ebenezer Allen and William G. Hale.qqv A stage line and ferry connected it with the mainland. Most of the inhabitants were seafarers or stockmen; the early settlers included John Baker, William Bryan, William Little, and Peter Johnson. Aransas was a port of call for vessels of the Morgan Lines and had a post office before 1860. It prospered until the Civil War, when the federal blockade ruined the shipping industry. Early in the war a Confederate post, Camp Semmes, was located at Aransas and manned by artillery under Benjamin F. Neal and William H. Maltby. Federal marines who captured the town in February 1863 were driven out by Confederate mounted riflemen under Daniel D. Shea, but the federals recaptured the town in the summer of 1862 and destroyed every building. After the war the island failed to recover its prosperity, and Aransas failed to reappear. In 1871 the site was transferred from Refugio County to Aransas County.


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).

Claudia Hazlewood

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Claudia Hazlewood, "ARANSAS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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