Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of the Texas Tropical Trail Region

Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Site of the Town of Copano | Colonel A.M. Hobby; Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment, C.S.A. | Irish Immigrants in Refugio | Power, Empresario James | Refugio County | Refugio County Courthouse | Urrea Oaks | Yucatan Soliders' Burial Site
Uncommemorated Sites (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Mission Nuestra Senora del Refugio

Map of Refugio County


Site of the Town of Copano

Marker Title: Site of the Town of Copano
Address: Copano Bay Street
City: Bayside
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: At Bayside public park, Copano Bay Street, Bayside.
Marker Text: Named for the Indians who lived here; Important Texas port, 1722-1870; The landing place of many colonists; Winter quarters of the Texas Revolution Army in 1835; PROPOSED TEXT FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PLATE: This marker was moved from its original location on Copano Bay (5 miles northeast of this site) in 1978.

Col. A.M. Hobby; Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment, C.S.A.

Marker Title: Colonel A.M. Hobby; Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment, C.S.A.
Address: Commerce & Empresario
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: Courthouse lawn, corner of Commerce and Empresario, Refugio.
Marker Text: Home county of Texas Confederate Colonel A.M. Hobby 1831-1881: Georgian. Ardent supporter of states rights and secession. Served Texas Legislature 1859 until resignation in 1862 to organize battalion for war. Commanded Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment. In charge of area coastal defenses between Indianola and Corpus Christi, keeping the Federals on their ships, preventing invasion. In 1864-65 with Galveston coastal defenses. Noted author, poet of patriotic works. A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy; Erected by the State of Texas 1963; (BACK SIDE OF A.M. HOBBY) Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment C.S.A.: Refugio County was represented in all four companies of Hobby's Infantry Battalion organized in this county May 1862. Unit successfully withstood Union bombardment of Corpus Christi August 1862. Organized into 8th Texas Infantry February 1863. Regiment staved off another attack on Corpus Christi November 1863 while covering the Confederate withdrawal from Lower Rio Grande. Most of the 8th were in Red River Campaign 1864 to prevent invasion of Texas. Again defended Texas Coast 1865. Texas coastal defense is a brilliant chapter in South's history. Composed of: Maj. A.M. Hobby's 8th Bn Tex Inf, Maj. Daniel D. Shea's 4th Tex Arty Bn, Capt. B.F. Neal's Btry, Capt. John Ireland's Tex Inf Co, Capt. Jose M. Penazola's Tex Inf Co, Capt. Angel Navarro's Cav Co.

Irish Immigrants in Refugio

Marker Title: Irish Immigrants in Refugio
Address: Purisima & Osage Streets
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1995
Marker Location: Corner of Purisima and Osage Streets, King's Park, Refugio.
Marker Text: The history of settlement in Refugio is closely associated with Ballygarrett, County Wexford, Ireland. Irish natives James Power (c. 1788-1852) and James Hewetson (1796-1870), both of whom immigrated to the United States in the early 19th Century and later became citizens of Mexico, obtained permission from the Mexican government to oversee the immigration of more than 200 Irish families to Texas in the 1830s. The first group of Irish settlers arrived on the Texas Gulf Coast in 1834. A cholera epidemic and the loss of provisions and equipment in rough waters as the immigrants reached the shore delayed their arrival in Refugio, where they were to settle near the former Spanish mission of Nuestra Senora del Refugio. The colony soon was established, however, and almost immediately the new settlers were embroiled in the cause of Texas independence from Mexico. Many Irishmen fought in the Texas Army and later served in the Republic of Texas Congress. The Irish people established a lasting presence in the Refugio area. Many descendants of the early immigrants still reside in the area, some on land granted to their ancestors in the 1830s.

Empresario James Power

Marker Title: Empresario James Power
Address: Commerce & Empresario St.
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1976|
Marker Location: Courthouse grounds, Commerce & Empresario Sts. Refugio.
Marker Text: Born in Ireland, Colonial James Power came to New Orleans in 1809 and to Texas in 1823. With fellow Irish Empresario James Hewetson (1796-1870), he was awarded contracts to settle Irish Catholic and Mexican families between the Guadalupe and Lavaca Rivers. Their territory was extended in 1830 to the Nueces. Power went to Ireland to recruit colonists. On the return voyage sickness and shipwreck tragically reduced their numbers. In 1835 he urged his colonist to garrison Goliad, and battled staunchly against hostile Indians. He was a fine diplomat and helped secure Indian neutrality during the Texas Revolution. A close friend General Sam Houston, Power signed both the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In 1838 he was commissioned to conclude a treaty with the Lipan Indians. In 1842 he was briefly imprisoned by a Mexican invasion force. He represented Refugio in the Republic of Texas Senate and at the Annexation Convention of 1845. Power married twice, to Dolores (d. 1836) and later Tomasa Portilla, Spanish-born daughters of Empresario Felipe Portilla, and had seven children. He died at Live Oak Point, his principal home, in 1852, and was reintered at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Refugio, about 1872.

Refugio County

Marker Title: Refugio County
Address: Commerce & Empersario St.
City: Refugio|
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Courthouse grounds, Commerce and Empersario sts., Refugio.
Marker Text: Organized in 1835 into the Mexican municipality of Refugio. Created a county of the same name March 17, 1836, organized 1837. Named for the Mission "Our Lady of Refuge" established in 1791 to civilize and Christianize the Indians. Refugio, the county seat.

Refugio County Courthouse

Marker Title: Refugio County Courthouse
Address: 808 Commerce St.
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1995
Marker Location: 808 Commerce St., Refugio
Marker Text: The county and city of Refugio are named after the Spanish Mission De Nuestra Senora Del Refugio (the Mission of our Lady of Refuge) established here in 1795. The Spanish mission building served as Refugio County's courthouse at various times form 1837 to 1848. Construction of a permanent county courthouse began about 1850 here on the town's central plaza, dedicated for municipal buildings when refugio was a Mexican pueblo (1821-1836). The one-story courthouse, made from shell concrete and cypress lumber, was enlarged to a two-story structure in the late 1850s. A new courthouse, built in the mid-1870's, burned in 1879 and was replaced with a new structure in the late 1850s. A new courthouse, built in the mid-1870s, burned in 1879 and was replaced with a new structure in 1880. The fifth Refugio County courthouse, designed by San Antonio architect Atlee B. Ayres and built by local contractor W.H. Borglud, was completed at this site in December 1917. In the 1920s oil and natural gas were discovered in significant quantities throughout Refugio County. The burgeoning oil and gas industries led to an increase in population and business activity in the county, and in the 1950s the county courthouse was expanded with the addition of north and south wings. Refugio County courthouse continues its traditional role as the county's governmental and judicial center.

Urrea Oaks

Marker Title: Urrea Oaks
Address: US 77, S of Refugio
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: From Refugio, take US 77 south about 15 mi. to median park area.
Marker Text: By tradition, camping place in March 1836, during Texas War for Independence, of Gen.Jose Urrea of Mexico. Strategically located, this was Urrea's staging area. Capt. Amon B. King came form Goliad with his Texas volunteers to support the Refugio townsmen, who were taken into the safety of Mission Nuestra Senora Del Refugio. Then Lt. Col. William also arrived on March 13, and the "Battle of Refugio" began. Both King and Ward left protection on the Mission, and Urrea won final victories over them, capturing King's command on March 15 and Ward's on March 22.

Yucatan Soliders' Burial Site

Marker Title: Yucatan Soliders' Burial Site
Address: Roca St.
City: Refugio
County: Refugio
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: Rocia St, 0.1 mi east of SH 71, Refugio
Marker Text: General Jose Urrea, Governor of his native state of Durango, Mexico, was dispatched northeastward early in 1836 by Dictator Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, to fight against the Texas Colonists in their uprising for independence. Because of his superior numbers, he won easy victories at and near the town of San Patricio (about 40 miles southwest of here). When he reached mission Nuestra Senora Del Refugio, his troops (comprised mainly of non-Spanish-speaking Yucatanians who had been pressed into fighting by Santa Anna) met heavy resistance form the Refugio townsmen, and Urrea lost many men in action. Later, the Texas volunteers under Captain Amon B. King and Lieutenant Colonel William Ward left the Mission, and Urrea was Victorious. After his men looted the town of Refugio, Urrea had them drag their dead into a four-foot by four-foot ditch which a colonist named Poland had used as a fence around his town lot. Eyewitness Sabina Brown said that the dead made a stack as large as twenty cords of wood. When the ditch was filled, it became the common grave of these Yucatanians.

Mission Nuestra Senora del Refugio

This was the last mission the Spanish established in Texas. Founded February 4, 1793, it was part of a plan by Spanish priests to convert all the Indian tribes living along the Texas coast. Indians helped choose the mission site in an area known as El Paraje del Refugio "Place of Refuge." This new mission was named Nuestra Senora del Refugio. In January 1795, the mission moved to its final location at the site of present-day town of Refugio. Despite difficulties, the construction of the mission was nearly completed by 1799. Traces of the ruins of the mission are found under the structure of Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Refugio.

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