M/V Raymond M.
M/V Evelyn M.
M/V Sophie M.
M/V Marilyn M.
M/V Anna M.
M/V Hannah Ray
Fleet at a Glance
evolve to meet changing times and needs, and that's exactly what has occurred
the Muchowich family's business over the past 75 years.
Muchowich said it all started with his father,
Muchowich, who was an entrepreneur in the best sense of the word. It began
with the operation of a dairy between Port Arthur and Beaumont. The dairy
was sold in 1924 when Carl Muchowich purchased half a city block in Port Arthur
and built garage apartments to be used for his produce distribution business.
He lived in one of the garage apartments and used the first story for produce
storage. He would purchase the produce in Louisiana and bring it back to
Port Arthur for distribution. As the business prospered, he used the large
space available to him to store other items, branching into the purchase of
wood, which was cut by others, brought in with a horse and wagon, and sold by
Ready for his next venture by 1928, the elder Muchowich constructed a Gulf
service station on the corner of his property. He also began buying and
selling scrap - iron, brass, copper, batteries, and tires. With such
success in his business ventures, it must have appeared that nothing could go
wrong. But then came 1929, and when the stock market collapsed, the demand
for scrap plunged along with it. The scrap metal and tires on hand
instantly became worth less than they had cost him. But even in the face
of the Depression, Carl Muchowich was a canny businessman. As the story
goes, Carl was among the first at the bank to withdraw his money. He sold
out of the scrap business including the nine trucks he acquired.
Now Muchowich was a business man without a business, but that situation was
short lived. A business acquaintance suggested that he purchase a
load of shrimp in Palacios, Texas and bring it to
Arthur to sell. Muchowich bought fine white jumbo shrimp, which he sold
for about five cents a pound, leading the family into its era in the shrimp
business. In 1930-31 "Captain Carl" and his family came to Freeport during
the summer, and brought followers. Although the family had no boats of
their own, shrimp were plentiful right off the jetties, at the sea buoy three
miles out, and could be unloaded at the city dock in Freeport, Texas. The
business was so successful that the family moved to Freeport, arriving just in
time to experience the
1932 hurricane that came ashore in August and almost
destroyed the little town.
Raymond Muchowich recalled "I was on a 40-foot shrimp boat blocked up on the
bank where the shrimping docks were. During the rains my parents and my
brother - everybody but me - stayed in the stairwell of the Freeport Sulphur
Company building. I was on the boat. Jack Spencer, who ran the Port
Cafe, and my dad came down in a Model T Ford touring car. On their way,
the top blew off. By the time they got there, the boat had started to
float. I remember I was sure glad to see them."
At that time the family's 20 by 20 seafood vault, built flat on the
ground, contained about 3,500 pounds of shrimp, about 500 pounds of various
fish, and three pounds of block ice, as well as some "home brew" that had been
left iced down there. As the family members sheltered in the stairwell,
the wind blew this vault - weighing more than two and a half tons in
contents, alone - onto its side, with the door on top. After the
worst of the storm had past, Raymond Muchowich, who was then 16 years old,
climbed down into the vault through the door, popped the top off a quart of the
home brew, and drank most of it while he shoveled shrimp. Not a board was
left on the Muchowich residence across from the east Brazos River but the family
managed to grab some lumber that had washed onto the river bank and they use
that to build another fish house.
family continued in the shrimp business after 1932, and had three small shrimp
boats built in Galveston and a 40-foot boat built in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The demand for shrimp was larger than could be supplied by their own boats,
however, so they also bought shrimp from other boats and processed them.
Between 1946 and 1950 the Muchowich family bought two shrimp boats.
Through the years almost all of the boats have been named for Muchowich family
members, including, at various times, the Captain Carl, Joe M, Anna M, Pearl M,
Marilyn M, Evelyn M, Joe M. Jr, and the Carl M II, among others. When all
the names had been used, they had the Miss Freeport. In 1950 the Miss
Freeport was converted from 75 feet to 105 feet in length. This was
accomplished by having the boat cut in half, and adding a 30 foot section to the
middle. This enlarged boat, which was used for seismograph work, was
equipped with a darkroom just behind the galley, to develop photos taken
offshore. These were sent by helicopter to the mainland. The Miss
Freeport was later sold and is now in Australia. When last heard of, the
Captain Carl was in Kuwait, five other boats were sold to the Mexican government
and went to Campeche, and two others were later converted to use as oil drilling
standby boats. In 1954, the family's small shrimp freezer was proving
inadequate for the needs, and the family built a fish house on the Brazos River.
This was a mammoth facility, capable of freezing 30,000 pounds of shrimp in 12
hours, and holding up to 100,000 pounds in the storage room.
The family also operated a party boat fishing business that was so well known
across the state that
Dallas Morning News readers referred to an outdoor editor's page as "the
Muchowich page". One of the party boats was a 40 foot Dolphin built about
1933 in Biloxi. The fee for "stragglers", or single passengers, was $3
each to fish, and another $1 to rent a rod and reel. The boats went to the
close east banks, located about ten miles south of Freeport, Texas.
A 1962 newspaper story outlining the family's business history credits them for
having "put Freeport on the map for fisherman" with both their shrimping and
party boat operations. The party boat business was sold in 1974 to one of
the captains, Elliot Cundieff.
The next phase of the business was service to offshore wells, with the family
leasing three seismograph boats to Shell Oil Company. Originally they
worked from the shrimp and party boat docks in Freeport, but in the latter part
of 1963, they were barred from loading and unloading explosives inside the
Freeport city limits. Muchowich recalls "The party manager for Shell
said if we would build a dock for them on the New Brazos River, which was
outside the city limits, they would give us a six-month lease."
Since that would pay for the construction, they built
the creosote piling dock as a facility for three boats - a private dock for Shell Oil Company.
been the pattern for the family's business ventures, further expansion,
including a signing of a drilling mud company, soon followed.
1987 the family acquired a 18.5 acre site on the Intracoastal Canal which
included 750 feet of water frontage. Using existing staff, the property
was turned into a marine terminal designed to provide rapid turnaround for
maximum efficiency. It featured a 400 by 160 foot slip and five fueling
stations, serviced by a 350,000 gallon fuel tank. Water, cranes to load
equipment and piping, as well as the requisite drilling mud, were readily
In 2004, after 35 years in the marine terminal business, that segment of
operations was sold. Today, the company continues to serve the offshore oil
industry as a provider of offshore supply vessels.
In the year 2000,
Raymond Muchowich passed away leaving his beloved company in the hands
of his daughter, Marilyn Muchowich Stanley, who worked beside her father
for 25 years. Through her
lifetime, Marilynís daughter, Stacy Stanley, has played many roles in
the company and, today, through her service as the companyís
President has become the fourth generation of the Muchowich
family actively engaged in the familyís business.