Seadrift, Calhoun County, Texas



Seadrift was founded in 1848, it was originally known as Lower Mott. It was formed by some of the German people who originally came and settled Indianola, as they moved inland to farm. Some of the Surnames of the early settlers in the area were:

Bindewald; Coward; Jordan; Cook; Leibold; Dierlam; Cloudt; Steinberg; Buffington; Madden; Straight; Willmers; Roemer; Brown and Leake.

Members of the community petitioned for a Post Office and, out of the names submitted by townspeople, Seadrift was selected. The first Postmaster was Jessie Dierlam, who was appointed September 4, 1891.

Of course the first inhabitants of the area were the Karankawa. These native Americans lived all along the coast and on the Islands between between what is today the cities of Corpus Christi and Galveston. They used dugout canoes to help supplement their diet with fish, porpoise, oysters and plants from the bay. They also caught Alligator in the bayous in the area. The alligator provided a grease these native Americans used as insect and mosquito repellant.

The Karankawa were driven from the area by the Spanish and French and became extinct by about 1858. The first person of Spanish heritage to explore the coast of Texas was Alonso Alvarez de Pineda. He was followed soon after by another Spanish explorer known as Cabeza de Vaca. De Vaca was a member of an expedition that shipwrecked on the Texas coast. The crew, upon reaching land, were greeted by a tribe of Karankawa Indians. The Indians were at first kind and helpful to the Spanish sailors. Soon, however, many of the Spaniards died from exposure and disease. The disease spread to the Indians and soon the native tribes associated Europeans with disease. From then on trouble was known between the groups.

The Calhoun County Cattle Company bought a large amount of land from Thomas M. O'Connor in 1908. The Seadrift Townsite Company bought the land in 1909 and sold it to the American Townsite Company in 1911. By 1909 a railroad came into Seadrift and was soon followed by other railroad companies. A channel was dug to the Intercoastal Waterway to facilitate shipping of seafood and vegetables. At a time when transportation was poor in Texas, this put Seadrift at an advantage.

The census of 1916 showed that the City of Seadrift had a population of two thousand and many expected it to grow more. The storms of 1919 and 1929 took a toll on the city. Many residents decided the rebuilding necessary after a hurricane and the dangers involved, were not worthwhile, and they moved away from the bay. Seadrift today has a smaller population, it is presently around 1400 persons.

Instead of the businesses of the early 1900's we today have chemical plants, farms, ranches and fishing boats. Our seafood product has been served at such diverse places as the Academy Awards in Hollywood, and the products manufactured at the Union Carbide and International Specialties plants are shipped all over the world.

With thanks to the Seadrift History Book Committee who put together a wonderful history of Seadrift called "Seadrift Memories". This history contains information on may of the families of the area as well as Organizations, Businesses, Churches and Legends.


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Copyright 2004 Teri A. Brown, Walter Brown and Assoc. All rights reserved.