SARGENT, TEXAS. Sargent, on Farm Road 457 five miles northwest of the Gulf of Mexico and twenty-four miles southeast of Bay City in the eastern corner of Matagorda County, was named for George Sargent, an Englishman who immigrated to Texas from Cornwall, England, in 1834. Sargent purchased some bottomland near Caney Creek in 1844 and built a house three or four miles inland from the Gulf between Caney Creek and Cedar Lake. In those days Caney Creek had deep water and was navigable. During the Civil War Sargent was able to ship his beef and cotton undetected from Caney Creek through the Union blockade. After the war the Sargents continued in the cattle business. In the summer of 1875 George Sargent's son John, with some neighbors, drove more than 3,000 cattle along the Salt Grass and the Chisholmqv trails to Abilene. On the return trip they received news of a Gulf hurricane. After riding night and day for three days, the party arrived home on September 17 to find George Sargent's home gone and Caney Creek at flood tide. Unable to find his father, John arrived at his own home just as it was breaking up. He was just in time to save his children from the flood, but his wife was not with them. The bodies of Sarah and George Sargent were found after the storm had passed, victims of the hurricane that destroyed Indianola. Other severe storms have made their impact on the area as well. One source reports that forty refugees from Sargent were billeted in the courthouse in Bay City in the aftermath of the 1934 hurricane. The most recent hurricane to strike Sargent was Hurricane Carla, which made landfall on September 10, 1961. According to B. J. Sanford, "The accompanying tidal wave swept inland for nearly ten miles, inundating everything the winds had not destroyed already." A post office was established at Sargent in 1912 with Mary G. Montgomery as postmistress. By 1925 Sargent had a population of twenty-three. Roads were built in the area by Abel B. Pierce in 1927, and in 1930 Pierce built a city block of houses and a cotton gin in Sargent for his workers. In 1938 Sargent had a school with three teachers and forty-one white pupils and a school with three teachers and 185 black pupils. By 1940 Sargent had four businesses and a population of eighty. Sometime around the end of World War II Sargent lost its post office, but by 1986 service was reinstated. In 1990 Sargent had a population of seventy-six, with "at least three places serving full meals, a gift shop, a laundromat, several garages, and a number of bait camps." The town also had two churches, the Sargent Baptist Church and the Caney Creek Non-Denominational Church. Area children attended Van Vleck schools. In 2000 the population was 300.
Historical Markers in Sargent
Sargent Family Cemetery
Year Marker Erected:
from Sargent take FM 457 east approximately 2.5 miles; take Caney Road south approximately 7/10 miles
George Thomas Sargent (1791-1875) and his family came to Texas from England in 1834. In 1838 they moved to Matagorda county, where Sargent became a major landowner. This family cemetery contains six graves. The first to be interred here was a Sargent grandson, Jacob Smith, Jr. (1843-1859). The second burial was that of a great-grandson, Frank J. Freeman, in August 1872. George T. Sargent and his daughter - in - law, Sarah Ann, drowned in the storm of 1875. Granddaughter Cornelia Smith Freeman (d. 1883) and her husband, Henry H. Freeman (d. 1908), were the last to be buried here. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986
(d. 1883) and her husband, Henry H. Freeman (d. 1908), were the last to be buried here. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986
Confederate Defenses at the Mouth of Caney Creek
At the end of FM 457
During the Civil War (1861-65), Federal forces tried several times to seize Texas ports. Galveston was taken on October 5, 1862, but recaptured by a Confederate army on January 1, 1863. Lt. Dick Dowling's troops stopped a Federal invasion at Sabine Pass on Sept. 8, 1863.
Another thrust began on November 7, 1863, when a Federal expedition under Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks seized Brownsville, then moved up the coast, capturing Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Pass Cavallo, and Port Lavaca (Dec. 26). Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder, Confederate commander of Texas, ordered fortification of the mouth of Caney Creek in an attempt to halt the invasion. In Jan. 1864, an earthen fortress, rifle pits, trench works, and four redoubts were erected near this site. Defended by 4000-6000 Confederates, the area was bombarded by Federal gunboats during January and February.
No ground combat occurred at Caney Creek, but the preparations deterred a further Federal advance. In March 1864, Gen. Banks moved most of his troops to Louisiana and launched an unsuccessful invasion along Texas' eastern border. Removal of Federal forces from key Texas ports allowed blockade runners to continue transporting needed materials to Civil War Texas.