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Confederate Naval Works of Goose Creek Historical Marker project
Captain Thomas Henry and brother John Chubb

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In early 2006 Trevia Wooster Beverly contacted OurBaytown.com about the possibility of placing a Historical Marker on Goose Creek/Lake at Bayland Island Park boat ramp area to raise awareness of the Confederate Naval Works of Goose Creek, built by the Chubb brothers in the 1850's.   As many as 6 ships were built and many used in the Civil war.  OurBaytown.com contacted the HR department at Bayer Material Sciences and they quickly agreed to fund the marker.

Originally from Charleston, Massachusetts, Captain Thomas Henry Chubb and his brother John Chubb were pioneer residents of Galveston and early mariners of the Texas Gulf Coast.

In the 1854, the brothers  purchased approximately 56 acres on the east bank at the mouth of Goose Creek from Mary Jones, wife of President Anson Jones.  Captain Thomas Chubb became a close friend of Sam Houston, who later appointed Thomas as Admiral of the Texas Navy.  Thomas reciprocated by building a ship for the Confederacy and naming it the Sam Houston in honor of his friend. 

Originally from Charlestown, Massachusetts Thomas Henry and brother John originally settled in Galveston. Thomas came in 1830 at age 19 and John in 1839. Captain Charles Chubb, their father, ran a rope-making business, but both sons entered the shipping trade instead.  Sailing around most of the world, Thomas Chubb ran slaves from the African Gold Coast to the West Indies, New York and Boston, gaining great personal wealth.  At one time, he even owned a traveling circus.  He built the Federal Street Theater in Boston.  Thomas Chubb enlisted in the Confederate States Army, Texas Marine Division, and received appointment in September 1861 as Assistant Superintendent of Coastal Defenses of Texas.
 
The Royal Yacht and the Henrietta engaged in a Battle with superior Union forces November 8th, 1861 and Thomas was captured.  After the Civil War, Thomas returned to Galveston and served as the Harbor Master until shortly before his death.   Obtaining the rank of  Commodore, Thomas Chubb died in 1890.  The last ship built by the Chubb's was the Coquette in 1891 and was most likely built by John.  The Gaillard family eventually purchased the land where the shipyard was located and established Gaillard's Landing.  The Gaillard homestead was east of the landing.  The Gaillard holdings eventually gave way to the oil fields known as the Goose Creek Oil Field.  The Busch Landing later appeared on the east bank of Goose Creek about one mile north of Gaillard Landing.  Garnett Cleveland, Jr.

Ships built on Goose Creek:

CSS Royal Yacht b:1855 (refitted at Goose Creek Nov 1861 till Oct 1862) - no record of registration to date - Apr 15, 1863 captured as a blockade runner in Key West Florida with 97 bales of "her best cotton".

CSS Henrietta - sloop, registration in Galveston - involved in skirmish July 1, 1864 - Captured as a blockade runner off Tampa, Florida by the USS Merrimac with a load of cotton.

Marguereta - schooner, no record of registration to date

Bagdad - 1864 schooner, no record of registration to date

Altha Brooks - schooner, registered CSN Mar 28, 1863

Phoebe - schooner - built prior civil war, registered CSN Nov 28, 1864, named after Thomas' first wife,

Confederate Naval Works marker dedicated


- Published March 30, 2008

“My dad, granddad and uncle sometimes talked about a shipyard at Goose Creek, but they were good storytellers and I didn’t know if it really existed,” said Civil War historian Ralph Wooster, gesturing to the shipyard-less waters on the east bay of Goose Creek.

During his childhood in Baytown, these men had painted pictures in Wooster’s mind. They told him of an epic battle aided by a civilian-built and run shipyard that becomes a key player in the Confederate Army’s fight.  On Saturday, the Harris County Historical Society confirmed the tale.

Around 100 people gathered at Bayland Park to acknowledge the forgotten shipyard and witness the unveiling of a marker erected by the Historical Commission.  Amongst attendees were descendents of shipyards founders - the Chubb brothers.  Historical Commission members said the shipyard was both integral and unique to the war. After the Confederate government’s plea for civilian help, Thomas and John Chubb decided to build a shipyard and purchased the land that is now Bayland Park.

Situated on the east bank of Goose Creek at the mouth of Tabbs Bay, the land they purchased became Confederate Naval Works during the Civil War. Texans knew the Union had the industrial advantage during the war and private ventures such as that of the Chubb brothers is what kept the Confederate Army afloat. The design and structure of ships built at the Goose Creek shipyard were integral to running the Union blockade.

Thomas Chubb also served in the Texas Marine Department, an element of the Confederate States Army operating independently of the Confederate Navy. Even after the war, the Chubb brothers’ shipyard thrived. The brothers were commissioned to build ships for the new federal government in addition to working on private vessels at the Goose Creek shipyard.

Wooster said the shipyard site on Goose Creek is only a slice of the contributions that Texans have made to the rich history of the United States. “I’m of the opinion that Texans have fought in more wars in more states than anyone else,” said Wooster.  He said he has yet to meet anyone who can refute that fact. “The Naval Works here is a big part of that story,” he said.

As Mayor Stephen DonCarlos and the Harris County Historical Society unveiled the marker, 12-year-old Anna Novak stepped out from the crowd. A descendent of the Chubb brothers, Novak helped with the unveiling. The front and second rows of onlookers at the marker dedication ceremony were actually Chubb family descendants. Novak said the story of the shipyard is “pretty cool.” She said the tale had been forgotten even to those in her own family.

The Goose Creek shipyard later built ships for the federal government and private mariners until Thomas Chubb left the business in 1869. The following year, the Thomas B. Gaillard family purchased the former shipyard and established Gaillard’s Landing. Later, the site became part of the Goose Creek oil fields - starting point of the Exxon Mobil oil dynasty.  The Historical Commission hopes that the new marker will resurrect the story of the shipyard for young and old alike.

“This site has a considerable amount of history,” said DonCarlos. “We hope that from time to time, you all take a moment to reflect on the woven tapestry that is our history, our city, our county and our country.”  Attendees read along in their programs as Historical Commission chair Patrick Van Pelt read the marker inscription aloud:

“In 1854, brothers Thomas and John Chubb bought land in the William Scott League on the east bank of Goose Creek at the mouth of Tabbs Bay. On this site, they established the Chubb Shipyard prior to the Civil War. At the time, Texas shipbuilding was a developing industry. During the war, however, in an effort to compensate for the Union's industrial advantage, the Confederate government encouraged Texans to engage in manufacturing ventures that would aid its miltary effort. The Chubb brothers responded to this call with the Confederate Naval Works at Goose Creek, which built and repaired vessels during the war. Thomas Chubb also served in the Texas Marine Department, an element of the Confederate States Army operating indepently of the Confederate Navy. He obtained the rank of Captain and later became superintendent of the Confederate Naval Works. The design and structure of ships built at the Goose Creek shipyard were integral to the Department's effectiveness in running the Union blockade. The shallow draft of the centerboard schooners made them suitable for blockade running in shallow areas of the Gulf of Mexico, where deep draft vessels could not pass. These successful ships included the Royal Yacht, Bagdad, Phoebe, Henrietta, Marguereta and Altha Brooks. An important contributor to the Texas naval and industrial effort during the Civil War, the Goose Creek shipyard later built ships for the federal government and private mariners until Thomas Chubb left the business in 1869. The following year, the Thomas B. Gaillard family purchased the former shipyard and established Gaillard's Landing. Later, the site became part of the Goose Creek oil fields.”

Most published data researched and used by permission of: Garnett Cleveland, Jr. “Confederate Naval Works of Goose Creek,” Baytown Vignettes, One Hundred and Fifty Years in the History of a Texas Gulf Coast Community prepared by John Britt and Muriel Tyssen (Baytown TX: Lee College. 1992). Please purchase a copy at the Baytown Historical Museum 220 W. Defee

OurBaytown.com would like to acknowledge Trevia Wooster Beverly - Harris County Historical Commission ,
John Rocco and Cherie Laughlin - Bayer Material Science, Garnett Cleveland, Jr., Jean L. Epperson.

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