Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 430 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
years and then withdrew from the firm, having decided
upon new ventures that they had planned to
undertake in Texas. They went first to San Augustine
and then to Nacogdoches and employed their
capital in the purchase of land certificates at $100
per league. Older settlers laughed at them and
said, with many a wiseacre wink, that they were
green from the States. When the elder brother,
however, went to Natchez, Miss., and sold one of
the leagues for $5,000, the " o'er wise " failed to
see anything to laugh at and themselves commenced
the purchase of certificates. The Allen brothers
came to Texas in 1832. They remained several
years in Nacogdoches, studying the country and its
people, needs and possibilities.
In 1836 John K. Allen, who was then at Columbia
serving as a member in the Texian Congress,
received a letter from his brother recommending
the establishment of a town on the John-Austin
half-league, recently purchased from Mrs. Parrott,
sister of Stephen F. Austin, by the brothers. Occupied
with his legislative duties be did not give
proper weight to the arguments advanced in favor
of the enterprise and in reply expressed himself as
opposed to the undertaking. He, however, as soon
as his official duties permitted, joined his brother
and went out to view the site selected, a point
where White Oak bayou debouches into Buffalo
bayou and to which tide-water extends. He was
delighted with the location and upon learning that
his brother had, in a small boat, taken soundings
down stream and had discovered that there was
sufficient depth of water to float vessels of heavy
draft, withdrew the objections that he had advanced
and entered heartily into the work of building the
proposed town, the present city of Houston. This
agreement having been reached, Augustus C. Allen
mapped out on the crown of his stove-pipe hat
(and later upon paper) streets, squares, etc., and
then with a knife that he wore in his girdle, blazed
out the pathway of Main street, where to-day stirring
throngs of men and women, citizens and
visitors, are hurrying to and fro to obey the calls
of business or pleasure.
The two brothers named the town in honor of
their personal friend, Gen. Sam Houston, the hero
of San Jacinto. They donated a block for a city
market, a block upon which to erect a court-house,
half a block for the First Presbyterian church, half
a block for a First Methodist church and also
grounds for Episcopal and Baptist churches.
Academy square for educational purposes; grounds
for a jail and for cemeteries and lots and blocks to
a number of private individuals, thereby securing
the co-operation of prominent and influential people.
They also gave valuable property to Robert Wilson
as a recognition of the services rendered by him in
negotiating for them the purchase of the site from
Mrs. Parrott. A part of this property, a block of
ground in the fifth ward, is still owned by his son,
J. T. D. Wilson. To further push the enterprise
they made a liberal use of printer's ink.
As soon as the town was well started and gave
promise of future growth, John K. Allen addressed
a letter to Congress in which he set forth the advantages
of the young town as a place at which to establish
the seat of government and promised that, if it
was made the capital, he would erect at his own
expense suitable buildings for a State house, departments
offices, the preservation of archives, etc.;
and hotels and lodging houses for the accommodation
of members of Congress, all of which he would
rent upon reasonable terms and for any desired
length of time. It is a matter of familiar history
that these overtures were successful and that Houston
became the capital of the Republic and so remained
until the rapid settlement of the country
necessitated a more central location and Austin was
In the early days of Houston, when accommodations
were difficult to procure, the Allen brothers
provided in their comfortable home, without
money and without price, for all who sought their
hospitality. Provisions of all kinds then sold at
fabulous prices in Texas owing to the distance of
the country from sources of supply and want of
transportation facilities; yet with lavish hospitalitY
they entertained friends and strangers. W. R.
Baker, who kept their books, said that sometimes
their expenses averaged $30,000 a year and that
Mrs. A. C. Allen did the honors of the house with
queenly grace and courtesy. Their dinings and
other social gatherings were graced by many distinguished
and heroic Texians as well as eminent
strangers from abroad. Many elegant and beautiful
ladies also lent the charm of their presence.
The Allens enjoyed in the highest degree the exercise
of these social offices, which helped to render living
in Texas, their chosen home, pleasant to others.
The first day of August,.1838, the energetic business
man and legislator, John K. Allen, came to an
untimely end, being cut off in the midst of his usefulness
at the early age of twenty-eight years. He
died suddenly of congestion. He was deeply
lamented by all his brothers. As he had never
married, his property vested in his parents, Mr.
Roland and Mrs. Sarah (Chapman) Allen. He
had been so active as a coadjutor, so strong to lean
upon and such a constant companion for so many
years that the loss fell more heavily upon the elde
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/430/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .