Campbell's Bayou was across Galveston Bay from Galveston on an inlet now in southern Texas City, Galveston County. The site was chosen by the Karankawa Indians as a homesite for their friends, James and Mary (Chirino) Campbell. Campbell (1791–1856), who had served in the United States Navy during the War of 1812, had subsequently been an officer with privateer Jean Laffite until 1821, when the United States government demanded that Campeche, the privateer's settlement on Galveston Island, be evacuated. Though some sources say that the Campbells settled at Campbell's Bayou in 1821, it is more likely that they did not finally move there until 1837–39.
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