Harris County

Morgans Point, Texas

Morgan’s Point, also known as Rightor’s, Hunter’s, and Clopper’s Point and New Washington, now a resort and residential district, is twenty miles south of Houston at the junction of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River, at the northwestern extremity of Galveston Bay in southeastern Harris County.


Morgan’s Point was first settled around 1822 by Nicholas Rightor, who lived at the end of the point. He sold the property by 1824 to Johnson Calhoun Hunter, after which it was known as Hunter’s Point. About 1828 Joseph C. Clopper and his three sons bought the site, renamed it Clopper’s Point, and planted orange and lemon seeds. Nicholas Clopper sold James Morgan a 1,600-acre strip of land between the San Jacinto River and Galveston Bay on December 22, 1834. By 1835 Morgan had opened a store, built a warehouse, and, acting as agent for the New Washington Association, founded a colony called New Washington. The planned development failed but left orange groves and herds of cattle in the area. A few buildings had been erected by 1836, when Mexican troops under Juan N. Almonte camped at the site, secured supplies, and burned warehouses.

Early interest in channel improvement on Buffalo Bayou was delayed by the Civil War, but the establishment of a Confederate shipyard at the mouth of Goose Creek in 1864 proved the feasibility of dredging the harbors. Charles Morgan, the “father of the Houston Ship Channel,” was instrumental in completing the work to Morgan’s Point in 1876. The Tabbs Bay Causeway and Morgan Point ferry connected the north and south sides of the Houston Ship Channel by 1930, replacing the free ferry that had operated since 1917; the causeway was later destroyed by Hurricane Carla. Morgan’s Point was incorporated in 1949. The Baytown-La Porte tunnel under San Jacinto Bay was completed in 1954. In the 1970s encroachment on the community by a nearby containerized shipping center prompted residents to campaign for preservation of the town’s cemetery, city hall, and nineteenth-century homes. The population rose from fifty in 1946 to 650 in 1953, then fluctuated from a high of 716 in 1980 to a low of 428 in 1983. In 1990 it was 460. By 2000 the population was 336. The Morgan’s Point Cemetery, started by James Morgan on Orange Grove, the family estate, is marked by a state historical marker.

New Washington 1935. New Washington.—This is as yet a small place, laid out a short time since by Cob Morgan, a resi­dent and associated with a New York company. It is at the mouth of the San Jacinto river, at the head of Galveston bay, in Austin’s colony. Sev­eral well laden vessels have already gone there; and it promises to be a place of great commercial importance. A large warehouse and a hotel for accommodation of visitors are now being built there. It is generally known by the name of Clop­per’s point, and probably this will continue to be its common appellation, on account of there being another town of the same name—Washington, the capital of the State. – Texas by Holley, Mary Austin; Austin, Texas, 1935, pages 118-119

New Washington was at the point where Buffalo Bayou entered San Jacinto Bay, at the northwestern extremity of Galveston Bay in eastern Harris County. The land was owned by a Mr. Rightor in 1822; it was acquired by Johnson Calhoun Hunter in 1824 and by J. C. Clopper and his three sons in 1829. Clopper renamed the area Clopper’s Point. In the 1830s the town was laid out on a bluff by James Morgan, acting as an agent for the New Washington Association, a group of New York financiers. Morgan purchased 1,600 acres from Clopper in the area in 1835. The planned development failed but brought in a group of Scottish Highlanders and left the beginnings of orange groves and cattle herds. In April 1836, a few days before the battle of San Jacinto, Antonio López de Santa Anna almost captured David G. Burnet and the ad interim government at New Washington. The Mexicans burned the settlement as they moved back to Buffalo Bayou. Although Morgan rebuilt his home, the town could not compete with the growth of Houston, and no attempt was made to reestablish a settlement until the 1870s, when the Houston Ship Channel was completed to the point, and the new town of Morgan’s Point developed.


Morgans Point, TX 29° 40′ 33.8556″ N, 95° 0′ 18.8568″ W

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