History of The Captain

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Galveston - A Quick History Lesson

Few spots have played a more exciting role in the life of Texas than Galveston Island. Cabeza de Vaca, the Spanish explorer, wrote of the cannibalistic Karankawa Indians when he was shipwrecked here in 1528. The island became headquarters for Jean Lafitte and other adventurers between 1815 and 1821. Importance of the harbor was recognized as early as 1825 when Stephen F. Austin petitioned the Mexican Government to establish a port.

Galveston became temporary capital of the Republic in April, 1836, when President David G. Burnet fled here at the approach of Mexican Gen. Santa Anna. After the revolution Galveston's place as first city of the Republic became fixed. Immigrants poured through the port. The Texas Navy was berthed here. With statehood in 1845 came continued growth; Texas first telegraph (1854), first national bank (1865), first electric lights (1888).

Capture and recapture of Galveston were principal Texas engagements of the Civil War. The port fell to blockading Union troops Oct. 4, 1862. It was retaken Jan. 1, 1863, by Gen. John B. Magruder and remained in Confederate hands.

Galveston was again on the nation's lips Sept. 8, 1900, when a hurricane packing winds of 120 mph swept a vast tidal wave across the island, killing over 6,000. No other American disaster has taken a greater toll. The storm had two immediate results -- construction of a protective seawall 17 feet high and 7-1/2 miles long and creation of a commission form of city government, an innovation that spread to other American municipalities.

The port remains one of the state's most important, handling more sulphur than any in the world. Important to sightseers and motorists are the toll-free ferries operated by the Texas Highway Department across the 2-1/2-mile strait between the island and Port Bolivar.

The Captain - HISTORY - over 133 years old - How it Got It's Name!

The Captain was originally Frank's Corner Grocery - The land was purchased by a Boddeker as part of the records of the Stephen F Austin Colony (Spanish Land Grant). The house was built sometime before 1870's. Frank's Corner Grocer is listed in the Galveston City Directory in 1870. Frank Boddeker (Parents: Johann Boedeker and Anna Merlach of Katholisch, Salzkotten, Westfalen, Preussen) and his wife Mary were married in 1870 - he was 28 and she was 16. They both were from Prussia and both immigrated in 1854. In 1870 the property was a double lot - the original house as it stands today plus a large back barn and cistern - back to the alley - were shown in the oldest tax records available - as belonging to Frank Boddeker. Frank is listed in the 1880 Galveston City Directory- living at this address with his family and it is named Frank's Corner Grocery. Also in 1880 census - Frank is listed as a STEAMBOAT PILOT (Captain). It is believed that Frank steamboated his own produce and meat from Kansas City - down the Mississippi - through New Orleans to Galveston.

Jump forward 129 years - 2002 - Owners Ernest & Linda Hunt. Ernie was a retired Captain with the Beach Patrol. This was his family home for over 18 years. SO when Shelia Lee purchased the property from Ernie in 2002 - as a salute to Ernie and Frank - the resort rental was named THE CAPTAIN.

The Boddeker family lived at 10th & Sealy until the census in 1900 - which was taken just months before the Great Storm of 1900 (Isaac's Storm). Frank and Mary are not listed living at this address after the storm - but are found 10 years later in the 1910 Census as living in Houston. Frank died in 1916 and in the 1920 Census - Mary Boddeker (age 66) was living at 1711 Leeland, Houston, TX with her daughter Carrie age 46 (listed as a spinster).

Great Storm of 1900 - everything east and south of the Captain was demolished. The insurance records show The Captain sustained "substantial damage, but rebuilt from used materials". A large group of people sought refuse at Frank's Corner Grocer during the storm. There are photos taken of the neighborhood - from the the roof of The Captain - we are still looking for photos of The Captain after the storm.

1903 - After the raising of the surrounding area (average - 15 ft.) - the property tax rolls show that Samuel Tramonte was now paying the taxes. He probably also is the person responsible for raising the house. His family - a large Italian immigrant family - are still on the island and in the real estate business today. They continued to run a corner store with Samuel's family living above.

1910 census - Sam Tramonte's large family is listed residing at 1002 Sealy - Samuel is a Driver for the Ice Factory and his 22 yr old son Jasper is listed as a Butcher in a Butchershop. (The scales in the garage are believed to be from when The Captain was a butcher shop.)

1920 census - Sam Tramonte is now listed as a Wholesale Grocer with his own supply ships and son Frank (Tramonte) is listed as Head Clerk and Dominic is the butcher now. After 1920 - there were "renters" living above the store. I am in contact with the Tramonte Family and have requested any records or photos from the period that they might have. It is unknown if any records or photos from prior to 1900 survivied the storm.

1967 - Connelly Family - purchased the property, split the house into a duplex, unknown if they lived on the property.

1984 - Ernie Hunt Family - opened the house back up into a full single dwelling - added the rooftop patio and indoor hot tub.

2002 - Shelia Lee (5th owner of record since 1873) - purchased the house as her family retirement home - until she found another home on Market St. just about as old - but with Victorian Features and painted Lavendar with puple shuttlers!

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