The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 43
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Harris County, 1832-1845
Captain, landed at Houston, and on April 21, of the same year,
the first sailing vessel, the Rolla, arrived, just in time for many
of the passengers to attend there, the first anniversary ball of the
battle of San Jacinto. Navigation between Harrisburg and Hous-
ton was always extremely difficult, and on that account many
people believed that it would be impossible to build a town at
As early as May, 1839, The Morning Star mentions the names
of the committee which had been appointed to make improve-
ments in Buffalo Bayou,-J. D. Andrews, President; William M.
Bronaugh, Secretary; Henry Kesler, William Pierpont, William
M. Cook and George Allen, committee. It is probable that the
work consisted mostly in cutting away the branches and dense
foliage of magnolia and other trees which overhung the stream.
The first two years in the life of Houston were marked by great
activity in the organization of societies of various kinds. There
were grave minds among the first settlers, as evidenced by the ex-
istence of a Philosophical Society before the close of the first
year. The original constitution of this society was in the posses-
sion of Mrs. Jane Gray, widow of Judge Peter W. Gray, and was
read by her at the celebration of Texas Independence Day held
at my home, Maxch 2, 1892. Unfortunately this interesting docu-
ment, embracing also the names of the first members, was soon
afterwards lost or misplaced by its owner.7
As in most early settlements of the South and West, the love
of horses and horse racing held sway in Harris County. Old set-
tlers have told that meetings in neighborhoods for this sport would
hold for several days; there would be races by day and dances by
night. While the aspiring new city had a Philosophical Society
in its first year, the desire of the sporting citizens for a regularly
organized society for the proper conduct of "the races" was re-
corded in the next. On October 31, 1838, the Jockey Club came
into existence, and for many years the newspapers containing
notices of the races under its management formed a feature of
interest as absorbing to the community as are the records of base
'In the Houston Post of March 3, 1893, Mrs. A. H. Mohl's report of the
celebration mentioned, gives the names of some members of the Philo-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/52/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.