Old Velasco, (encompassed by present-day Surfside Beach) on the east side of the Brazos River sixteen miles south of Angleton and near the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Brazoria County, was founded in 1831. Ten years earlier the schooner Lively landed at the site with thirty-eight men, the first of Stephen F. Austin's colonists. Nothing but a single house stood at the site until Mexico set up a customs port there and dispatched troops in 1831 to help the customs collector. Subsequently, more than 25,000 settlers entered through the port. The community developed upstream from the coast by 1835; a customhouse, salt works, and trading posts were located at Velasco during the immigration period. The town was named for a Mexican general, as was Quintana, on the opposite side of the river. According to one writer, Old Velasco became the "Boston harbor of the Texas Revolution," as the site of the battle of Velasco in 1832. A cholera epidemic reduced the population to 100 in 1834, and a mail route from San Felipe to Velasco was established in 1835. After the battle of San Jacinto, President David G. Burnet made the town the temporary capital of the Republic of Texas. Government records were housed at Fort Velasco until the first capital of Texas was established at Columbia. Antonio López de Santa Anna signed the treaties of Velasco on May 14, 1836.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
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