Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998 Page: 57
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The Angus McNeill Family
of the group stayed in Texas, including Felix Huston who was given the rank of brigadier
general in the Texas army, Quitman and Henry C. McNeill returned to Natchez.26
The years from 1836 to 1840 saw Angus McNeill splitting his time be-
tween Natchez, Shreveport, and Texas. The Panic of 1837, however, may have con-
vinced Angus to make a move from Natchez. The panic had brought the collapse of the
Natchez banks, and one of the first to close its doors was the Planter's Bank.27 But in
Houston, Angus McNeill was very much involved with John Kirby Allen and Augustus
C. Allen in the sale of lots in the town of Houston. Angus bought 303 lots, plus a tract of
885 acres and a timber reserve of 1000 acres, in a number of deals. When John Kirby
Allen apparently wanted to get out of the partnership with his brother, Robert Wilson, and
James S. Holman, Angus paid $80,000 for the unsold land. A new partnership was cre-
ated on December 13, 1837, and McNeill was reimbursed for all except the $8000 that his
final 10% in the town tract cost him.28 He, and the other partners, gave their powers of
attorney to sell lots to Holman.
Even though Angus was still president of the Shreve Town Company, he
also found time to become a charter member of the Texas Philosophical Society. Houston
at the beginning of 1837 consisted of a few tents, one large tent that served as a saloon,
several small houses under construction, and logs being brought in to build a hotel. By
March, a few log cabins (two of which were taverns), tents for groceries and grog shops,
and a few shanties had been added, and a one-story frame building approximately two
hundred feet long, which was intended for stores and public offices, was being built. The
population, which varied, was around four or five hundred people. It was a volatile place
seemingly dedicated to drinking, gambling, dueling, and carousing. However, Zachariah
N. Morrell, claimed that he preached the first sermon in Houston late in March 1837 to
what he described as "an attentive, intelligent audience." By May 15, 1837, John J.
Audubon, visiting in Houston, described it as a place with houses half-finished, most of
them without roofs; tents; a capitol without a roof; a President's mansion that had an
antechamber that was muddy and filthy; and the streets muddy or covered with water that
came up to the ankles. Even as late as October 1, 1837, Henry Smith, the secretary of the
treasury, who had been occupying a temporary shed for an office, lost the shed and had to
wait until October 25 to be allowed to use a committee room in the capitol. Fevers pre-
vailed amidst the muddy conditions of the city. The Reverend Littleton Fowler wrote that
26 "Selected Letters and Papers of Judge Charles Taylor," Robert Bruce Blake Research Collec-
tion, vol. XXVI, pp. 89-90, The Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin; McLendon,
"John A. Quitman in the Texas Revolution," pp. 178-179.
27 D. Clayton James, Antebellum Natchez (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, n, d,),
28 Glass, "The Original Book of Sales of Lots of the Houston Town Company from 1836 For-
ward," p. 168. Robert Wilson had also formerly lived in Natchez
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998, periodical, May 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151403/m1/9/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.