The First Texas Railroad.
THE FIRST TEXAS RAILROAD.
The first railroad built in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos,
.and Colorado, commonly called in its early days the Harrisburg
railroad. With this road the writer has been familiar from near
the day when its building was begun down to the present time,
and perhaps the following partial history of its beginnings may
not be without interest to the readers of TE QUARTERLY.
The first charter for a railroad from Harrisburg was granted '
by the fifth congress of the Republic of Texas, January 9, 1841.
'The name of the corporation was the Harrisburg Railroad and
Trading Company; but there is evidence that the enterprise was ,
.commenced almost =one year earlier under the name of the Harris-
burg and Brazos Railroad. An original contract let for three1
thousand cross-ties dated February 28, 1840, signed by M. L. Bird-
sall and by A. Briscoe, proprietor of the road, is in my possession,
and a copy of it is herewith given:
REPUBLIC OF TEXAS,
COUNTY OF HARRIS.
This contract and agreement made and entered into this
Twenty-eighth day of February, A. D. 1840, between Maurice L.
Birdsall and Andrew Briscoe, proprietor of the Harrisburg and
Brazos Rail Road, both of the county above-written, witnesseth:,.
That the said Birdsall doth engage and agree, that he will take
from the woods and deliver within thirty feet of the line of the
said Rail Road three thousand pieces of post-oak or cedar timber
in a sound state. Seven feet in length, clear of the chip or kerf,
and from eight to twelve inches in diameter, hewed straight on one
.side, and that said timber shall be deposited five sticks or pieces
to every twenty-five feet of the road; also that five hundred pieces
shall be delivered within one month from the first day of March
-of the current year, and that the remaining Twenty-five hundred
shall be delivered within four months thereafter at the discretion
of the said Briscoe: In consideration of which the said Briscoe
.doth engage, that within ten days after the next public sale of lots
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 7, July 1903 - April, 1904. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101030/. Accessed May 29, 2015.