Karankawa Indians were the earliest occupants of
the future county. Camping along a narrow strip of land along
Matagorda Bay, they subsisted on a combination of hunting, gathering, and fishing.
In 1528 Europeans made the first contact with Texas Indians when
remnants of Pánfilo de Narváez's calamitous expedition washed ashore on an island they named Malhado.
Local Indians held Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and a few other survivors in bondage for nearly six years. During
his period of Indian captivity, Cabeza de Vaca probably spent
some time in what is now Jackson County. In 1684 René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explored the area and established a settlement called Fort St.
Louis, which some claim, probably wrongly, was in the future Jackson
County. After San Fernando de Béxar and La Bahía became the focus of Spanish mission activity, the rich coastal
area around present Jackson County was largely abandoned. Indians
continued to inhabit the region and raid the Spanish ranches to
from the Handbook of Texas Online, Jackson County