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Biographies

Peter Duffy

Peter Duffy was born 10 Sep 1815 in Nievern, Nassau, Germany, and died 13 Oct 1883 in Matagorda, Texas.  His wife, who he married in Germany, was Anna Catherine.  She was born 07 May 1819 in Nassau, Germany, and died 07 Feb 1887 in Matagorda, Texas.

When Peter Duffy, Sr. and his family came to Texas in 1845, his oldest son, Peter Duffy, Jr. stayed in Germany.  He brought his wife and family to Texas in 1853.  They left Fachbach, Germany, boarded the ship “Texas” at Bremerhaven on 23 Oct 1853 and arrived at Galveston on 18 Dec 1853. 

After he and his family arrived in Matagorda, they joined the “German Settlement” on Matagorda Peninsula, homesteading an 1,800 acre tract of land.  According to an affidavit signed by his youngest son, John J. Duffy, in 1937, the family raised sheep and other livestock.  However, John relates that it was difficult for them to keep the land fenced as the fences were often washed away by high tides.  The 1870 census lists Peter Duffy as a 56 year old farmer with real estate valued at $300 and personal property valued at $1120.  He is also listed as an United States citizen which means he must have gone through naturalization proceeding at some point prior to 1870.

On August 12, 1866, a storm began brewing east of the Lesser Antilles.  The tropical storm moved northwestward and reached hurricane strength on August 13.  As the hurricane approached the coast of Texas, the winds intensified to 155 mph.  At the time, it was the strongest hurricane ever recorded.  On August 19, winds increased in Indianola, and, on August 20, the storm made landfall as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane.  It was the fifth strongest hurricane ever known to have hit the United States.  The hurricane dissipated over Texas on the 21st.  In its wake, the port of Indianola was destroyed as was the Peter Duffy homestead.  Following the storm, the Duffy family and others living on the Matagorda Peninsula abandoned their land and moved inland.

Peter Duffy had already passed away at the time of the 1886 hurricane, having died in 1883.  His wife, Anna Catherine died shortly after it, in February of 1887.  They are both buried in the Old Cemetery in Matagorda.

Children of Peter Duffy and Anna Catherine were:

1.  Christian John Duffy was born 23 Mar 1846 in Nassau, Germany and died 15 Oct 1907 in Matagorda, Texas.

2.  Catherine Duffy was born 21 Sep 1848 in Nassau, Germany and died 19 Jul 1907 in Matagorda, Texas.  She married first married Jake Clouder on 15 Sep 1870.  She married second Dr. Arthur M. Pelton on 18 Feb 1896.  She did not have any children but raised her niece, Annie Elizabeth Duffy, as her own.

3.  Peter J. Duffy was born 15 Jul 1851 in Nassau, Germany and died 03 Jan 1924 in Matagorda, Texas.  He is the subject of the next generation.

4.  Andrew August Duffy was born 1854 in Matagorda, Texas, and died 19 Sep 1917 in Matagorda, Texas.  He married Annie Laura Spoor who was born 16 Oct 1863 and died 23 Jul 1915.  They raised four children, Amos Emory, Leslie Hammond, Lucille A. and Maude.

5.  Annie Elizabeth Duffy was born 1856 in Matagorda, Texas and died 03 August 1935 in San Antonio, Bexar Co., Texas.  She married John Kemp and they raised at least one son, John Otto Kemp.

6.  John Joseph Duffy was born 25 Dec 1858 in Matagorda, Texas, and died 22 Jul 1942 in Matagorda.  He married Emma Nolte on 11 Nov 1885.  The 1880 census lists his occupation as sailor.  John and Emma raised 4 children, Edward A., Alpha, Myrtle and Rosser Ray. 

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