The Story of Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel Page: 17
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Commodore Charles Morgan
Father of the Houston Ship Channel
Hon. Ingham Stephen Roberts
Fellow Texas Historical Society
OMMODORE CHARLES MORGAN, founder
of the Morgan Steamship Line, was a Texas
pioneer and the State's best friend in its
early industrial development through his untiring
efforts to give Texas her first regular
line of Steamships. As early as 1835, while Texas was
still a part of Mexico, he sent one of his ships, the
"Columbia" to Galveston. He also owned a controlling
interest in the "New York" and the "Neptune", which
operated between New Orleans and Galveston in 18411845.
In 1847 Morgan and his partner, Harris, obtained
control of the carrying trade between Texas and New
Orleans by the purchase of the Steamships "Palmetto",
Capt. Smith, and the "Galveston", Capt. Crain. In 1848
these steamers were sent to Matagorda Bay and a little
later to BraZos St. Jaco. In 1849 Captain Jerry Smith
took from Matagorda Bay the first cargo of cattle ever
shipped from ITexas.
In 1857 Commodore Vanderbilt opened a new steamship
route from Morgan City, Louisiana via Berwick Bay,
which was soon acquired by Morgan, and in 1867 Morgan
dredged a channel at Red Fish Reef in Galveston Bay
and across other bars to enable his ships to navigate
Buffalo Bayou as far as Clinton. In the winter of 18741875
the Canal across Morgan's Point was begun-(the
cost of Morgan's canal was $92,316.85, for which amount
Morgan's Estate was reimbursed May 4th, 1892 by the
United States Government) - and during the storm of
September, 1875, the water broke through the unfinished
canal so that small boats thereafter came through, and
on September 22nd, 1876, the canal having been com
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Farrar, R. M. The Story of Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, book, 1926; Houston, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46820/m1/19/: accessed August 14, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .