Mathis House

John M. Mathis (1831-1922) had this home built for his family in 1868-69. Instrumental in platting the town of Rockport, he served as its first mayor in 1870. In 1880 he deeded the house to his cousin, Thomas H. Mathis (1834-1899), a leading rancher, shipper, and banker. Exhibiting Italianate, Classical, and Greek Revival details, the raised cottage features a center passage plan, arcaded basement, and entry portico with paired fluted columns. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1989. State Historical Marker Number: 3256  

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Rockport

The town of Rockport was founded by cattlemen J. M. and T. H. Mathis in 1867. Originally a part of Refugio County, it became county seat of newly formed Aransas County in 1871. Shipping and fishing provided the primary economic base of the town in its early years. The railroad arrived in 1888 and with it came a decline in the shipping industry, although shipyards were in operation during World War I and World War II. Rockport has been a popular recreation center over the years, and tourism continues to be important to the local economy. (1988). State Historical Marker

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Rockport Cemetery

This cemetery has served the citizens of Rockport and Fulton for over a century. The oldest marked grave is that of Emma Fulton (d. 1876), granddaughter of George Ware Fulton, who was instrumental in the development of the area and was interred in the cemetery in 1893. A large number of burials took place here in 1918, the year of a devastating influenza epidemic. The cemetery contains the graves of veterans of the Texas Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The Rockport Cemetery Association maintains the historic graveyard. (1988). State Historical Marker Number: 4326

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Site of Heldenfels Shipyard

Shipping industries flourished on the Rockport waterfront by the 1880s. Heldenfels Shipyard was established here on 12.9 acres in October 1917. Four 281-foot wooden cargo vessels were to be built for military use in World War I; the “Baychester” was launched on July 31, 1919, and the “Zuniga” on September 9, 1919. At the height of construction, over 900 men were employed at the shipyard. The need for ships fell as the war ended. Despite hurricane damage to the shipyard on September 14, 1919, the “Jasper” and the “Manchester” were completed as barges in 1920, ending this vital war contract.

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Aransas County Airport

This aviation facility developed out of a need during World War II for additional air training sites for U.S. Navy pilots. In 1942 the Aransas County commissioners court offered the Civil Aeronautics Administration the use of land in the county for an auxiliary military landing field. Voters approved a bond issue and accompanying tax to build the airport, and the county subsequently purchased 700 acres of land for that purpose. For the duration of the war, the site was leased to the Navy, which practiced landing operations out of its regional air stations at Beeville, Kingsville and Corpus Christi. The

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The Lamar Cemetery

This burial ground originally served pioneer settlers of the Lamar community. Founded by James W. Byrne (d. 1865), a native of Ireland and a veteran of the Texas Revolution, it was named for his friend Mirabeau B. Lamar, former president of the Republic of Texas. The earliest grave is that of Patrick O’Connor (1822-54), a bookkeeper for Byrne’s business operations in New Orleans. The town of Lamar ceased to exist by 1915 and the cemetery was neglected until the 1940s when it was restored through efforts by the family of John Henry Kroeger, Jr. (d. 1944). (1981) Incise in base:

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