Indians & Explorers      


In 1519 Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, exploring the Gulf Coast for the governor of Jamaica, drafted a map that included Espíritu Santo Bay and named the mainland "Amichal," but it is not clear whether he set foot in the future Calhoun County. René Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, is believed to have landed in 1685 near Powderhorn Lake after one of his four ships was wrecked while crossing the bar at Cavallo Pass. A monument placed by the Texas Centennial Commission in 1936 marks his landing site. The future county was explored by Spaniards, including Alonso De León, who found the ruins of the French fort in 1689, but no permanent settlement was made until Anglo-American colonization. As early as 1825, empresario Martín De León of Mexico brought forty-one families to the area and established a ranch near the former site of La Salle's fort. The first Anglo settlement site now in the county was at Linnville, where in 1831 John J. Linn established a warehouse and wharf three miles north of the future site of Lavaca (later Port Lavaca). Comanche Indians collecting horses sacked and burned the settlement during the Linnville Raid of 1840 before being pursued and defeated. The inhabitants escaped by boat to a bluff about three miles away, where a few men who operated a warehouse welcomed them; this was the beginning of the present town of Port Lavaca. Caught between settlers and the Comanches, the Tonkawas, who numbered 800 in 1836, became loyal to the Texans. Read more about Calhoun County from the Handbook of Texas Online


Alonso Álvarez de Pineda from the Handbook of Texas Online
Alonso De León from the Handbook of Texas Online
René Robert Cavalier LeSieur de La Salle, from the Handbook of Texas Online click to enlarge photo
Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle  from the Texas State Library

LaSalle Monument,

click to enlarge

LaSalle Odyssey exhibit at the Texana Museum

Fort St. Louis from the Handbook of Texas Online