Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 425 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
of the earth. They differed upon this point, parted
and never met again. He found Houston on his
return to Texas the most promising and growing
city in the infant Republic, although Galveston,
where his brother, Augusta C. Allen, had established
a business house, was even then (in 1838) a considerable
town and good business point. After
visiting Houston he went down on Galveston Bay
to where his father and mother had established
themselves, and engaged in stock raising. When
Gen. Woll entered Texas with a strong Mexican
force the subject of this memoir mounted many
Texian volunteers who were hurrying toward San
Antonio to resist the invaders, freely giving to
them all his broken horses. In attempting to
break a very fine horse for himself upon which to
ride to the front, he was thrown and sustained such
serious injuries that he was incapacitated for many
months from pursuing any active employment. In
1839 the first yellow fever epidemic that visited the
Republic made its way to Houston and among those
who died were eighteen out of a party of twenty
men from Connecticut who had put up a fine sawmill
at that place. The survivors were anxious to
sell in order to secure funds with which to leave
the country and Mr. Allen bought the plant. He
gave employment at high wages to all persons who
sought work. This was a blessing to many, as
there were a large number of idle men in the
country, mostly soldiers who had served in the
Texian army. The mill was also a great advantage
to the community and settlers far and near, as it enabled
them to procure lumber for building purposes.
Being the only one of six brothers who is now
living he is often spoken of as the founder of the
city of Houston. In truth, his brothers Augustus
C. and John K. Allen, who were partners in business,
were the founders of that promising metropolis.
He, however, was an important factor in
the upbuilding of the place, doing as much, or
more, perhaps, than any other of its earlier inhabitants
to advance its prosperity. While the two
brothers named donated the ground upon which
to build the first Presbyterian church he gave
every foot of the lumber used in its construction.
It was quite as large an edifice as
the handsome brick structure that now occupies
its former site. He opened the first forwarding
and commission house established in
Houston and associated T. M. Bagby with him in
the business. They did an immense business, xtending
to every part of Texas. In 1845 Mr.
Allen went to Corpus Christi as sutler in Col.
Twiggs' regiment. Maj. Carr, who had retired
from the army, was his partner. They made a
great deal of money, the sutler's stores that they
handled being in great demand, as they purchased
and kept in stock everything wanted by the officers
and men. This promising venture, however, was
brought to an end by a fatal epidemic that made its
appearance in camp, to which many succumbed.
Mr. Allen was stricken down and his life despaired
of. He made money fast, it is true, and if he survived
and remained with the army had every reason
to expect further gains; but, tossing on a sick bed,
his whole thoughts centered upon getting back to
Houston where he could die among friends. He
managed to make his way back to that city, where he
lingered long at death's door but finally recovered.
Upon his restoration to health, he found that all of
his earnings as sutler had been consumed in meeting
necessary expenses. As soon as he had sufficiently
recuperated, he purchased a stock of goods
and loaded them on wagons, which he started for
the town of New Braunfels. Following on behind
in a few days, he made inquiries along the road but
could hear nothing of the wagons. Nor, upon
arriving at his destination, could he hear anything.
Perplexed and annoyed, he went to La Grange and
there found them intact, all loaded as when they
started. The teamsters had stopped en route to
work out their crops. When the goods reached New
Braunfels he met with little difficulty in selling
them, but was compelled to receive in return money
issued by the company that had established the
colony. It was the only medium of exchange in
use, was of various denominations and known in
the vernacular of the country as "shiD-plasters."
Whenever he secured as much as $50 of this currency,
he would take it to the proper officers
of the company, and be given a check on a New
Orleans bank in exchange for it. He finally
closed out the remainder of his merchandise for a
large lot of gentle, well-broken oxen, which be
sold, receiving in return "L shin-plasters " and later
checks on New Orleans. These checks were not
paid on presentation at the New Orleans bank, and
went to protest. He thereupon entered suit in the
courts at San Antonio and secured judgment
against the company. Not knowing what course to
pursue to realize anything from the judgments, be
consulted Col. Fisher of the Fisher and Miller colony,
who told him to take stock in the New Braunfels
company in satisfaction of the judgment, as the
stock was already paying an annual dividend of
five per cent and would become more valuable with
the further settlement of the country. He followed
this well-meant advice and has the stock yet. It is
not worth the paper it is written upon, although
that is now yellowed by age.
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/425/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .