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Fisher, Samuel Rhoads and Elias Wightman. Survey of the Town of Matagorda, Texas and Environs. 1838.

Fisher, Samuel Rhoads and Elias Wightman. Survey of the Town of Matagorda, Texas and Environs. 1838.

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Fisher, Samuel Rhoads and Elias Wightman

Survey of the Town of Matagorda, Texas and Environs


24 x 38 inches


Early Plat Map of Matagorda, the third oldest town in Texas.

Remarkable early plat map of Matagorda, Texas, almost certainly drawn by Elias Wightman, with certification in the hand of S. Rhodes Fisher.

The map provides significant detail, including streets, town lots, and public buildings and spaces. Lots are numbered, and color coded, with larger tracts identified by owner.

The map includes a lengthy certification in the hand of S. Rhoads Fisher This example was almost certainly drawn by Elias Wightman, a Surveyor whom Steven F. Austin had brought to Texas in 1827 and who had originally laid out the Town of Matagorda in 1828.

Fisher's certification of the map provides:

We the undersigned Proprietors of the Town of Matagorda hereby Certify, that this is the true and original Map - Plat - Survey or Chart of the Town and Town league of Matagorda according to which and the various Subdivisions herein represented. We have mutually partitioned the Property among the Proprietors, or as a Board of Proprietors, Sold donated or otherwise disposed of, and that the same was before us when this general schedule of sales - donations - partitions or other appropriations were made out, adopted and signed. And as such we sign this each in the Presence of the other and deposit it in the office of the Clerk of the Court of the County of Matagorda, in virtue of a Resolution passed by the board of Proprietors this Twenty Sixth day of April Eighteen Hundred and thirty Eight.
Signed by S. Rhoads Fisher, Seth Ingram (President of the Board of Proprietors), D. C. Cady, Secretary) I.R. Lewis and Elias Wightman (there may be other signatures, but these are not legible).


Matagorda was established after Stephen F. Austin secured permission in 1827 from the Mexican government to build a town to protect incoming settlers. Elias R. Wightman, Hosea H. League, James E. B. Austin, and partners Thomas M. Duke and William Selkirk each took a one-quarter interest in the townsite.

Elias Wightman laid out the town in 1827 and then recruited approximately 55 colonists. On August 1, 1829, the proprietors met and elected town officers and donated lots to some individuals in return for their special services.

Matagorda was incorporated in 1830, and by 1832 it had some 1,400 residents, along with an additional 250 people living outside the town but within its jurisdiction. A Mexican customhouse was established in 1831, and a chamber of commerce was in operation by 1840. James H. Selkirk constructed one of the first dock-and-warehouse businesses in the town, and freight moved along the Colorado River.

Representatives from Matagorda attended meetings and conventions leading up to the Texas Revolution. Men from Matagorda signed a pledge to protect Goliad, and were among those who signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence in 1835. Residents left the town deserted in the Runaway Scrape, but returned to form Matagorda County (1836) with Matagorda as county seat (1837). By 1838, Matagorda had its own newspaper and hotels.

Elias Wightman

Elias R. Wightman (1792-1841) was a Stephen F. Austin Old Three Hundred colonist and one of the founders of the Town of Matagorda. Wightman was in Texas as early as 1824.

In August 1826, Wightman was part of a group which petitioned Austin to create the town of Matagorda. He would later assist Austin in helping bring additional colonists, including his parents.

Samuel Rhoads Fisher

Samuel Rhoads Fisher (1794-1839) was best known as the secretary of the Navy of the Republic of Texas. Fisher came to Texas in 1830 with his wife and four children as a member of Austin's Third Colony. He represented Matagorda Municipality in the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. President Sam Houston nominated Fisher as Secretary of the Texas Navy and the appointment was confirmed by the Senate on October 28, 1836.

Seth Ingram

Seth Ingram (1790-1857) was a surveyor, merchant, and public official. On April 26, 1822, he and his brother Ira Ingram, a Nashville, Tennessee, bookstore proprietor, became co-owners of a single share of stock in the newly organized Texas Association. That same year Seth arrived in Texas with letters of introduction and recommendation as a surveyor from Joseph H. Hawkins of New Orleans.

Ingram was engaged by Stephen F. Austin as a surveyor for his colony in August 1823 and platted the town of San Felipe de Austin in late 1823 and early 1824. Ingram took part in colony elections in August and December of 1823 and April of 1824. In the summer of 1824 he served as first lieutenant in the colonial militia. As one of Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, on July 29, 1824, he received title to two leagues and one labor of land that later became part of Wharton and Austin counties.

In 1830, Ingram obtained an additional league near Matagorda Bay in what became southwestern Matagorda County. By 1827 Seth and Ira had formed a partnership with Hosea H. League to operate a general store in San Felipe.

By 1834 the Ingram brothers had moved to Matagorda, where both were members of the Committee of Safety and Vigilance in September 1835. Seth served as one of the executors of his brother's estate in October 1837. He was one of the trustees of Matagorda University upon its incorporation in February 1845.

Ira Randolph Lewis

Ira Randolph Lewis (1800-1867) was a government official, who moved to Texas in 1831. He went first to San Felipe de Austin, then to Cole's Settlement, then to Anahuac, and finally to Matagorda County.

Lewis was a prominent lawyer and a member of the Consultation and the General Council of the provisional government. While he was serving on the council in February 1836, he was commissioned a colonel and appointed to raise funds and men from the United States, where he spent the greater part of that year.

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