Guadalupe Victoria

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Promotion: Nearby Victoria County

Victoria, centrally located in Victoria County at the convergence of U.S. highways 59, 77, and 87, is the county seat, the largest city in the central coastal region, and the commercial focus of the surrounding counties. It is also one of the state's old, historic cities. The town was named Guadalupe Victoria for the first president of the republic of Mexico and established in 1824 by Martín De León on the Guadalupe River at a site known earlier as Cypress Grove (see DE LEÓN'S COLONY). Guadalupe Victoria was platted by José M. J. Carbajal and developed an early importance as a stop on the La Bahía Road, as a stock-raising center, and as a shipping point for the port of Linnville. By 1834 about 300 people were living in the municipality, which was governed by a Council of Ten Friends from 1824 to 1828 and by four alcaldes from 1828 to 1836; the four were Martín and Silvestre De León, Plácido Benavides (elected twice), and John J. Linn. Though primarily a Mexican settlement, Guadalupe Victoria contributed volunteers, supplies, and arms to the Texas cause against Antonio López de Santa Anna. Its superior defensive position on the banks of the Guadalupe induced Sam Houston to order James W. Fannin to retreat there from Goliad in 1836. After Fannin was defeated at the battle of Coleto, however, Guadalupe Victoria was occupied by the Mexican army under José de Urrea until the Texas victory at San Jacinto. Soon thereafter, the Mexican residents were ostracized; they fled, and their town, resettled by Anglos, became known as Victoria. Victoria was incorporated under the Republic of Texas in 1839. The first mayor was John J. Linn, who, together with five aldermen, set down various ordinances and concentrated on leasing ferry operations across the Guadalupe River and making the river navigable for trade. The mayor and board of aldermen, who exercised authority over both county and city, first assessed property taxes in 1843.

In August 1840 several citizens were killed in the great Comanche raid that destroyed Linnville (see LINNVILLE RAID OF 1840). In 1846, the year the Victoria post office was established, the town suffered a terrible cholera epidemic. Victims died so rapidly that proper burials were impossible, though valiant efforts were conducted by German immigrant Dillman Mantz and his son and by a legendary Black man called Black Peter. Nevertheless, Victoria continued to grow as a trade center, especially as Indianola became an important port of entry for both goods and the thousands of immigrants who settled in the area. By 1850 Victoria had three public houses, a variety of stores, a weekly newspaper, and a courthouse. The population was 806, including 649 Whites and 157 slaves, in a county inhabited by 2,019 people, of which 623 were slaves.

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Robert W. Shook | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Guadalupe Victoria is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists

No

Place type

Guadalupe Victoria is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Victoria)

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No