Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999 Page: 144
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
would be amazed to hear of the splendid enter-
tainments given, and handsome dresses worn in
those days. Thinking of these things, carries me
back with deeper retrospection to my first ar-
rival at Houston, a child of seven years old. It
was a year after the battle of San Jacinto, and a
wilderness city it might have been called, the
habitations being all tents and shanties, with the
exception of a double log cabin, one room being
occupied by Gen. Sam Houston, who very kindly
vacated in behalf of my mother, and betook him-
self to a tent. This was my first acquaintance
with this splendid man, which was destined never
to be broken in life.
This state of primitive living did not con-
tinue. Houston sprang up like a mushroom, and
a year after beheld the capitol built, and the people
living in comfortable houses.
The Allen family form an integral part
of the early history of Houston. The tract of land
on which this city is built was originally owned,
and the city laid out by A. C. and Jno. K. Allen.
These two brothers were among the first who
espoused and adhered to the war party of Texas
against Mexican oppression, giving material aid
in money and arms, until its victory was achieved
at San Jacinto. Three other brothers settled there
in its incipiency, George, Sam and Henry open-
ing the first store. Harvey Allen, the youngest of
the brothers, was by an especial act of Congress,
granted the right to practice law at the age of
twenty years. He was afterwards chief justice
of Harris county. A number of the Allens are
still living there, among whom is Mrs. A. C. Allen,
the honored representative of the family. During
this year, Gen. Sam Houston formed his famous
treaty with the Indians, and large delegations of
both men and women from all the various tribes
met at Houston and entertained the citizens with
their various dances and athletic sports, and de-
lighted my childish eyes with their gay adorn-
ments of feathers, beads and ribbons, with which
they were literally loaded. Houston being named
after him, a few anecdotes of the general as a
dancer will not be out of place. He was at that
time some forty-three years of age, "six feet high,
of fine proportions, with a manly and courteous
bearing, and undoubtedly one of the finest-look-
ing men of the age." A participant in the gay-
eties of the season, his handsome figure was ever
most conspicuous amid the brilliant throng of
pleasure-seekers. I shall ever take a pardonable
pride in my first escort to a ball. This was Gen.
Houston, and the ball the first ever given in Hous-
ton, on the anniversary of the battle of San
Jacinto. Taking me by the hand, we proceeded
to the ball room in company with my parents,
and Mr. (afterwards Gov.) and Mrs. Frank Lub-
bock. The ladies were handsomely attired in sat-
ins and laces, while Gen. Houston wore a mag-
nificent suit of black silk velvet, and a black bea-
ver hat surmounted by long black plumes of os-
trich feathers. I was elated at his appearance,
and in my childish delight cried out, "I've got the
finest dressed man in the crowd." The ball room
was unfinished but well lighted, and all seemed
to enter with zest into the gayeties of the hour.
Gen. Houston and my mother opened the ball in
a reel. I, being so very young, stood at the foot,
having been invited by a young gentleman who
could find no other partner. I had before this been
taught to dance by my sable companions, Rhody
and Betsy, and awaited with impatience the time
when I should do credit to their instructions. At
last the happy moment arrived, and having been
led up and down the requisite number of times, I
danced with all the energy of my being, excited
by the inspiration of the music, and the admira-
tion of the beholders. Oh, how proud and happy
Rhody and Betsy would have been of their pupil
could they have seen me! I looked around on the
company, and found them in convulsions of laugh-
ter. Receiving this as an approval of my efforts,
I danced with renewed zeal, and surely, among
the incidents of the night, there was nothing that
added more to the merriment of the company.
The debut of Miss Fuller in Texas was
also made with this brilliant man. She was after-
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999, periodical, September 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151407/m1/16/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.