The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 349
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240. Preface, maps, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
During the nineteenth century more than a score of newly estab-
lished ports dotted the Texas mid-Gulf Coast. Of these, only four-
Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Rockport, and Portland-still survive.
Stories of the other, long-vanished ports linger in faded maps, manu-
scripts, family letters, and old gravestones. In his study of these "for-
gotten" ports Guthrie includes the Trading Post of Henry L. Kinney,
which eventually became the important port of Corpus Christi. In con-
trast, even the most historically enlightened Texan may not recognize
as former Gulf ports many of those included in this study: El Copano,
St. Mary's, Black Point, Sharpsburg, Cox's Point, Mesquite Landing,
Linnville, Dimmitt's Landing. Of the numerous "forgotten" ports, one
is perhaps best known because thousands of German immigrants ar-
rived there during the 184os. Indianola, by the mid-185os, was a pros-
pering major Texas port.
The proliferation of newly established Texas ports was not sur-
prising considering rapid settlement and economic growth during the
mid and late 18oos. As homesteaders arrived, so too did politicians,
merchants, businessmen, and opportunists. Money could be made in
the export of beef hides, tallow, cotton, and pecans. Even the Colt
brothers, realizing the significance of the region, set up shop in Lamar
to manufacture their popular weapons. Competition intensified be-
tween the various port communities, as entrepreneurs such as Kinney
and George A. Fulton recognized the urgent need for a deep-water
port. None of the bays were then capable of accommodating large ves-
sels. Other circumstances-devastating hurricanes, the Civil War, yel-
low fever epidemics, droughts, and, for some ports, failure to attract
railroads-eventually took their toll. Of the four that survived, only
Corpus Christi finally became a deep-water port in 1926.
Keith Guthrie, a native of South Texas, covers his subject with the
enthusiasm of a former journalist thoroughly familiar with his territory.
His book supplies valuable background in related material: early French
and Spanish exploration of the Texas coast; the Karankawas already
settled there; Spanish and Mexican Texas; early Anglo colonization;
and the Texas War of Independence. Especially effective is Guthrie's
use of unpublished family histories to tell about the men and women
who settled and brought civilization to the "forgotten" port communi-
ties. Well-written and informative, Guthrie's work is an important con-
tribution to Texas history.
Del Mar College
NORMAN C. DELANEY
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/393/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.