18 The Early History of Galveston.
by Monroe Edwards, a notorious character. The storm of September, 1835,
caused no loss of life like that of 1829, but destroyed nearly all the buildings
and stocks of merchandise. The Mexican custom house erected in
1830, a strong, small log building on piles, was not destroyed. A large
brig then in the harbor was wrecked and driven ashore on Strand between
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets. The inhabitants saved themselves by
fleeing on board of this vessel and two smaller ones which grounded on the
* * *
The latter part of 1835 was taken up by reconstructing winter quarters
for such of the inhabitants as chose to remain.
* * *
Wreckage on the beach from vessels that had stranded in past years
(when the commerce between Spain and her Mexican colony was very large)
lay on the east and south gulf shores in vast piles; and was easily transformed
into comfortable huts and shelters. Again Galveston commenced to
grow. In spite of the serious Mexican situation, many emigrants arrived,
mostly adventurous young men.
* * *
The settlements at the various bay points were growing rapidly. Hardly
a day passed that a schooner did not enter the bay with lumber or supplies
from New Orleans and Baltimore. Historians of Galveston Island have
stated that after Lafitte the island had returned to a primitive condition;
also that Galveston only became a settlement after its incorporation in 1839.
These statements were not correct, as this narrative proves. Historian
John Henry Brown states that early in 1836 Galveston had but one house.
Perhaps he should have stated, or meant to say, one decent house (a new
two-story boarding house). He failed to state that the recent storm was
the cause of this paucity of buildings. He also stated that President Burnet
removed the seat of government to Velasco on account of the poor housing
accommodations. Such was not the case. Burnet was well aware of the
fact that Velasco had likewise suffered from the storm and had but few
houses. He himself and his sick family occupied a miserable hut at Velasco,
and the government and prisoners were moved because the island was
subject to attack by both naval and land forces of the enemy, and retreat
could easily be cut off.
* * *
Drinking and gambling places, the forerunners of all new frontier towns
and mining camps, sprang up with a mushroom city of tents, shacks, sheds
and stores. A new two-story building was erected for a boarding house, the
lumber being brought from New Orelans.
* * *
Fugitives from justice brought their illicit spoils here and disposed of
them to needy colonists. Despite the arrival of many bad men, crime was
unknown on the island. "Judge Lynch" accomplished more in new settleinents
than the regular courts of law in older communities.
* * *
In February, 1836, refugees commenced to arrive from neighboring settlements.
The wives, children and household slaves of prominent colonists
Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed December 1, 2015.