Live Oak Point
Rockport, the county seat of Aransas County, is on State Highway 35 on Live Oak Peninsula between Copano and Aransas bays, thirty miles northeast of Corpus Christi in the southern part of the county. It was named for the rock ledge underlying its shore and was founded just after the Civil War as a cattle slaughtering, packing, and shipping port. William S. Hall built the first packeries in 1865, and in 1866 James M. Doughty and Richard Wood built cattle pens to keep the stock until slaughtering. In 1867 John M. and Thomas H. Mathis joined Doughty, and the partners platted the southern half of town. In 1868 Joseph F. Smith and John H. Wood built a shipping wharf and platted the north half of town. John Mathis was the first mayor of Rockport; he was appointed by the governor. In 1867 Col. George Ware Fulton, son-in-law of former governor Henry Smith, returned to the Rockport area from Baltimore, where he had lived with his family since 1846. Rockport was incorporated as a town in 1870 and as a city in 1871, the year Aransas County was demarked from Refugio County. In 1871 Youngs Coleman and his son, Thomas Matthew Coleman, joined the Fulton and Mathis families in cattle raising. The partnership owned 115,000 acres at this time and was a vital part of the boom that began in Rockport in 1873. In 1879 Mathis sold his interest in the company, which was thereafter known as the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company. This company brought in the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway in 1886, but at the same time the Morgan Lines withdrew service from the port so that the cattle raisers had no way to ship their beef products. In 1885 Charles P. Taft became director of Coleman-Fulton, and David Sinton of Cincinnati took control by buying a majority of the stock. In December 1886, after the shipping line pulled out, the company sold its wharf, cattle pens, and warehouses. George Fulton died in 1893, but the company continued to be a major force in development of the area and was in existence until 1930.
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