Port Lavaca, originally known as Lavaca, the county seat of Calhoun County, is in the north central part of the county (at 28°37' N, 96°38' W) on the west coast of Lavaca Bay. The town is served by U.S. Highway 87, State highways 35 and 238, Farm roads 1090 and 3084, and the Southern Pacific line. Lynn Bayou drains the northern part of the town and flows into the municipal harbor. Little Chocolate Bayou flows about a mile west of town and empties into Chocolate Bay, about a mile south of Port Lavaca. The town was founded in the aftermath of the Linnville raid of 1840, a Comanche attack that swept through Victoria, about twenty-five miles to the northwest, and Linnville, 3½ miles to the northeast. The burning of Linnville prompted many of its citizens to move to the site of what is now Port Lavaca. Thomas McConnell, who lost his Victoria home during the raid, purchased land for the town from Isidro Benavides of De Leon's colony. The town was named La Vaca ("the cow") in 1841 and was laid out by 1842. It was situated on a bluff some fifteen to twenty feet above the bay. Commission men from the East reportedly played a significant role in establishing Lavaca, which they envisioned as an important shipping point for exporting raw materials and importing manufactured goods. Lavaca fulfilled this expectation, succeeding Linnville as the busiest port on the adjoining Matagorda and Lavaca bays during the period of the Republic of Texas.
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