The History of the Swarthout Family
Swartwout, Swartout and Swartwood
Coming soon, information on Samuel Swartwout and his relationship with Swartwout, Texas and the state.
The first Texas Navy lasted until the middle of 1837, by which time all of the ships had been lost. The Liberty took its first cruise from January to May 1836 and made several captures. In May The Liberty escorted the schooner Flora carrying the wounded Sam Houston to New Orleans. The Liberty remained for various repairs and then had to be sold in July because the state did not have the money to cover the bill. A similar fate was in store for the Brutus and the Invincible when they were in New York in the fall of 1836 for repairs. When the shipwrights descovered that Texas could not pay the bills, the ships were going to be sold for costs, but Samuel Swartwout saved them by paying their expenses from his own funds. This was part of the catalyst that brought Samuel into contact with Sam Houston.
Swartwout, Texas - Located approximately 30 east of Huntsville, Texas, is located on the Trinity River. Sam Houston was one of the shareholders in the community, but it was named for Samuel Swartwout, another shareholder in the company. By 1840, there was a Masonic Lodge and by 1854 there was a hotel, church, school, several stores and a warehouse. The post office was closed in 1875 due to reduced traffic through the community.
In 1865, General George Armstrong Custer entered Texas on his way to an assignment in Austin. On August 20, eight days after entering Texas, Custer and his men reached Swartwout Ferry on the Trinity River in Polk County. They forded the river and camped on the west bank.
From a Letter from James Morgan to Samuel Swartwout, dated 25 January 1841
Our town of Swartwout which has been slumbering for the last year is now beginning to attract notice & emigrants are swarming & settling around it like Bees - It has been made the County Seat of the new County - the public buildings going up - Masonic Hall - arrangements for a Saw mill &c. And in its immediate neighborhood not less than 5 or 600 working hands have gone within the last 3 or 4 months. And all preparing for the Cultivation of Cotton - It is generally supposed that not less than 1500 Bales of Cotton will go from that place alone of the Corp of 1841.
From a Letter from James Morgan to Samuel Swartwout, dated 21 April 1841
I mentioned to you that an attempt would be made to Change the name of our Trinity town - But it was a failure! Old Sam [Sam Houston} rear'd agst it! Not three votes in the House in favor of it - Huzza for Swartwout! This town is increasing rapidly - Two Steamers now plying between the Trinity & Galveston!
The State historical marker at the site reads:
Site of the Town of
86 Blocks and 2 Public Squares were laid out here in 1838 with James Morgan, Arthur Garner and Thomas Bradley as Proprietors. Named in honor of Samuel Swartwout (1793-1856), New York Speculator and Politician who advanced funds in 1836 to the Texas Government. Important steamboat landing before the Civil War. Ferry Crossing until 1930.
Erected by the State of Texas
Much of the information on Swartwout, Texas, was provided by Gerald Swarthout. Thanks, Jerry! The excerpts of letters are from Fragile Empires, The Texas Correspondence of Samuel Swartwout and James Morgan, by Feris A. Bass, Jr. and B. R. Brunson, 1978, Shoal Creek Publishers.
History of Texas OnLine - Swartwout, Texas
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