Though Moses Austin died before fulfilling his plans for a community called Austina on the mouth of the Colorado River, Austin was the name given as early as 1836 to a site just south of Oliver Point (formerly known as Point Plesant or Pleasant), four miles across Tres Palacios Bay from what is now Palacios, in southwestern Matagorda County. The settlement, also known as Port Austin, was platted to be a town of at least 166 blocks, with blocks reserved for a college, a church, and public buildings, as well as an area labeled Hyde Park. The development was a project of Capt. Thomas Bridges, a Massachusetts shipmaster who had run supplies from New Orleans through the Mexican blockade during the Texas Revolution. He originally bought land near Oyster Lake but later moved the townsite north toward Oliver Point. In 1838 Bridges traveled to New York and sold several town lots. Around that time he took on two partners, Silas Dinsmore and William Boyd. Though Austin apparently never developed substantially, in 1840 several parishioners of Christ Episcopal Church in Matagorda recorded their residence as the city of Austin, and the county land-grant map shows a Port Austin at the site. Bridges, his wife, Hannah, and their daughter Alice apparently lived at the site, and Alice Bridges eventually learned the language of the local Karankawa Indians. Bridges died in 1848. The townsite land, the ownership of which had been open to question, eventually became the property of Jonathan Edwards Pierce and later the LeTulle family.
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