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Ever wondered how Rockport Texas got its name?

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Old Photograph of La Playa Hotel that was once located in Rockport Texas USA
La Playa Hotel in Rockport Texas

Rockport, Texas is a coastal city located on the southern tip of Aransas County. Rockport’s history has been one of the extremes with hurricanes almost destroying the town many times since it was first settled.

An old Map of Aransas County Texas from the 1800's
Map of Aransas County from 1800's

Being a coastal community with sand everywhere. Many people have wondered how Rockport got its name, being that there are no rocks around. This article will explain how the name “Rockport” was chosen as a name.

In the early days of Rockport Texas History

Looking back on its history many people don’t know that after the civil war, Aransas/Refugio counties actually became important cattle ranching and shipping centers around the mid-1800s.

Packing Plants during the Civil War along Fulton Beach Road in Fulton Texas Aransas County USA
Packing Plants during the Civil War along Fulton Beach Road

James M. Doughty, T.H. Mathis, and John M. Mathis constructed cattle pens and a long wharf that extended out into Aransas Bay from a place known in those days as “Rocky Point.” The Rocky Point was actually a limestone ledge that went out to the deep-water channel in Aransas Bay. The ledge also formed a natural harbor that could serve the shipping boats that would arrive for cattle being sent to market.

Painting depicting the early cattle loading pier at rocky point in Rockport Texas
The cattle days of Rockport Texas

Doughty got his brother and half-brothers (Jeremiah and Robert Driscoll) to join the partnership. Warehouses and cattle chutes were built right on the Rocky Point, and range cattle were driven straight from the pastures onto waiting steamships. Soon, the Morgan Steamship line was sending three ships weekly to pick up cattle from the Rocky Point wharf. The ships then went to markets in New Orleans.

There were only about 1,000 people in both Aransas and Refugio counties in 1866. The town needed a name, and the name chosen was “Rockport” – named for the limestone ridge, or Rocky Point. In 1871, Aransas County was created out of the coastal portion of Refugio County. Rockport was incorporated in 1870 and became the county seat in 1871.

Modern Photo of where the old Rocky Point would have been located in Rockport Texas
Old Rocky Point in Rockport Texas

In 1940, when Rockport put in its new harbor, the limestone ledge was dynamited out. The old wharf stood at the end of Wharf Street.

Hope you enjoyed this article. You can find more informative history articles about Aransas County at the website for the History Center for Aransas County

Also, you can read our article The History of Aransas County here:

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The website is a comprehensive guide to the towns of Rockport and Fulton, Texas. The website provides a wealth of information about the local area, including events, activities, and attractions.

Arial View of the Rockport Texas Waterfront
Rockport Texas USA

Visitors to the website can find information about local festivals, markets, and events, as well as details about local businesses, restaurants, and accommodations. The website also features a calendar of events, so visitors can easily plan their trip and make the most of their time in Rockport and Fulton.

In addition to providing information about the local area. is also a great resource for those who are interested in the history and culture of Rockport and Fulton. The website includes articles and photos that highlight the rich history of the towns and their unique character.

Overall, the website is an excellent resource for anyone planning a trip to Rockport and Fulton, or for those who simply want to learn more about these charming coastal towns.

The Town of Fulton Texas at sunset
The Town of Fulton Texas

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