THE CIT OF HOUSTON, TEXAS 65
made and before work could be resumed the war
came on and nothing further in the way of construction
The Houston men who had taken a leading part
in the construction of this first railroad were W. M.
Rice, W. A. Van Alstyne, James H. Stevens, B.
A. Shepherd and W. J. Hutchins.
These same men and others had organized a purely
local company at Houston, one year before construction
had begun on the Harrisburg road, and
had obtained a charter under the name of the Brazos
Plank Road. Their object was to grade a road from
Houston to some point on the Brazos and then
plank it over so as to enable the ox wagons which
were the only means of transportation in those days
to reach Houston easily at all seasons. That was in
1850, and the work of grading had extended the
road twenty-three miles, though no planks had been
laid, when some of the citizens of Chappell Hill,
Washington County, issued a call for a great meeting
to be held at Chappell Hill in the interest of
building a railroad. Houston was invited to send
delegates to that railroad convention, and a meeting
was held inJT ; e _S52 at the old Capitol Hotel
for the purpose of discussing the question.
The meeting was largely attended, the stockholders
in the Plank Road project being conspicuous8
They had something of a double interest in
the meeting, for while they knew the value of a railroad
they also knew that a railroad would completely
destroy the value of their plank road. However,
Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/. Accessed December 13, 2013.