For the first 60
years of it's life Port Neches was known as Grigsby's Bluff.
Settlers found that the area had previously been an Indian village
and started retrieving relics from the time they arrived.
In the 1830s a man named McKinney surveyed his land on which he was
planning a town he wanted to name Georgia. McKinney sold the property,
however and it was bought by Joseph Grigsby who had no intentions
of naming the place Georgia. Grigsby modestly named the place Grigsby's
Bluff and established a plantation and boat landing.
In 1862 The Confederate Army erected Fort Grigsby to block
a Union invasion of the area. Federal forces were repulsed in October
1862, and Fort Grigsby was abandoned in January 1863.
A post office was opened shortly before the war, closed for the war,
reopened and closed again (for good) in 1893 when the population of
Grigsby's Bluff was less than 100 persons.
On its way to Port Arthur, the
Kansas City railroad put a stop at Grigsby's Bluff and called it Port
Neches. Even though there was no post office to officially undergo
a name change, Port Neches sounded like growth to the citizens and
the Grigsby name was soon dropped.
The newly-formed Texas Oil Company from nearby Spindletop
opened a refinery at Port Neches in 1906.
In 1915 rice production and oranges groves were major crops, but interest
in citrus waned after hurricanes and frosts. With the demand for refinery
and oil well workers, Port Neches grew rapidly during World
600 block of Grigsby St., across from Port Neches Park at corner of
Grigsby and Park St.
Joseph Grigsby (1771-1841) and family migrated from Kentucky to the
Sabine area in 1827. He is said to have been the first grower of cotton
in East Texas. In 1834
he received a grant of 17 labors (3,009 acres) of land on the Neches.
Here he built a wharf for sidewheel steamers and founded town of Grigsby's
Bluff. He served in 2nd, 3rd and 5th congresses of the Republic
of Texas. His settlement became Port Neches, and his family has
given many leaders to Texas. A huge pecan tree (at Texaco Refinery,
6 blocks SE) marks site of Grigsby's Bluff.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact