The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 48
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the way of Richmond, to Prairieville, Fayetteville, through Rock
Island, through Washington County to Austin; thence to El Paso,
by the most direct route. The practicability of this route was
largely based upon a report made by Major Neighbors, and other
immigrants. It was also urged as possessing advantages over any
other, because work could be carried on at all seasons of the year,
not having to lie by for snow and cold weather.
The plans for selling town lots as the road progressed was one
of the schemes for raising revenue. And but for the unsettled
condition of the country due to threatened invasion, this initial
railroad to the Pacific might have taken permanent form.10 This
vision became a reality with the completion of the Southern
Pacific in 1883.
But, those citizens of Houston who had invested all their for-
tunes, however small, in the future of that place, determined also
to have a railroad to the cotton fields. As early as April 25,
1839, The Houston and Brazos railroad, with A. C. Allen as presi-
dent of the company, appeared from time to time in the adver-
tising columns of the Morning Star. It was designed to run via
Brazos City to Austin, and notices over the signature of James S.
"1The Morning Star, Friday, March 20, 1840, contains a report of the
surveyor of this pioneer railroad, also the report of a committee that had
been appointed to select the route. The report is signed by Stephen Rich-
ardson and Wm. P. Harris, committee, and by A. Briscoe, Trustee for
Jacob Rothans, Engineer, Harrisburg, March 18, 1840, with the request
that, the "Galveston Civilian and Richmond Telescope will copy and for-
About one year afterwards the same parties were operating under the
charter of the Harrisburg Railroad and Trading Company. Its Board of
Directors was A. Hodge, Stephen Richardson, Andrew Briscoe, Robert Wil-
son and D. W. C. Harris. They organized by electing A. Briscoe Presi-
dent pro tem., Lewis B. Harris, Secretary pro tem., and John P. Borden,
Treasurer pro tern. Subscription books were opened at Harrisburg by
Stephen Richardson and D. W. C. Harris, at Galveston by John S. Sydnor
and A. M. Jackson, and at Fort Bend by John P. Borden and James B.
The failure of the first attempt at railroad building did not dishearten
the people of Harrisburg, and after annexation gave assurance of the
safety of investments in Texas, largely through the efforts of General
Sidney Sherman, one of its citizens, they began to enlist the interest of
Boston capitalists. By this means the first railroad built in the State,
The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railroad, was chartered Feb-
ruary 19, 1850, and the company organized June 1, 1850. Construction
went forward steadily and in a few years cotton was transported by rail
from the Brazos plantations to the wharf at Harrisburg-forming a large
part of Texas commerce. For a more extended account of this railroad
see THE QUARTERLY, VII, 279.
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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/m1/57/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.