John Henry Brown.

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occurred in the forenoon. She returned to the
field at sundown, and further investigation con-
vinced her that the child was really dead, she
hastened to the village and reported that she had
found a dead child in her field and that tbe indica-
tions were that it had been kicked and trampled to
death by horses. No one suspected her guilt, and
the body was brought to the home of the parents,
where it was found that the spark of life yet
lingered in the mangled form. Medical skill and
careful nursing finally restored consciousness, and
then the little fellow told, with circumstantial
detail, all that had transpired. His parents and
the people of the village were horror-stricken at
the recital, deeply incensed and determined to have
fitting punishment inflicted upon the woman.
John Denny had been assiduous in his attentions
from the day the child had been brought home.
He was no less shocked by the disclosure than his
neighbors and told them that the woman was in
their hands to whip, torture, hang, or do with as
they pleased, and continued to devote himself to
the child, nursing him, amusing him and bringing
him every little gift in his posver. His great kind-
ness to the boy and regard for the occurrence,
finally mollified the parents and community, and
out of regard for him nothing was done to the

Samuel was finally restored to health and at
twelve years of age was a fine, robust, manly boy.
At this age he was sent to school for three months
but was then taken home and put to work by his
parents, who were in straitened circumstances
had a large family to rear and educate and had
come to the conclusion that they could keep onlv
one of their children, the oldest, A. C. Allen at






^^■^zsPub Co.C'h^'^°-



school at the time. This finally mortified Samuel
and, after brooding over the matter, he told his par-
ents that he was determined to go out into the world
and try to make his own way in it, and asked his
mother to give him money to start with. In reply
he was told by her to go to his father. This he
did and his father said to him: " My son, go out
among my customers and collect the money you
need." This did not suit the young man, as he
knew from experience that the chances for raising
funds in the way proposed were very slim and that
the only probable result of following his father's
advice would be to delay his departure. Resolving
therefore to set off at once, he returned to his
mother and asked her for his clothes. These she
brought to him tied in a small bundle, and handed
them to him together with several loaves of bread,
saying: "Here, Sam, these will last you some
time." He remained firm, however, refused the
bread and taking a change of clothing, bade the
family good-bye and walked out of the house and
down the road. After proceeding some distance,
he came to a halt not knowing which way to bend
his steps, as he had no idea what to do or where to
go. After reflecting for a few minutes, he picked
up a stick and tossed it into the air, resolved to
journey in whatever direction it might point
on falling to the ground. It pointed toward
Syracuse and he made his way to that place.
Upon his arrival there he went to the . canal and
took passage on a boat bound for Lockport. He
had no money with which to pay his passage, but
had a vague idea that he could be of some assist-
ance in running the boat, and settle the score in
that way before reaching his destination. With
this hope he staid near the steersman and asked to
be allowed to steer the vessel, a request that was
granted by the man, who proved to be a good-
natured fellow and seemed to take pleasure in
showing him, and at the end of the first day he
could manage the boat as well as his instructor. At
Rochester the steersman stopped off and the
youngster applied for and was given the place at a
salary of $14 per month. He filled the position
for six months, during which time he practiced the
most rigid economy and then, longing to see the
dear ones at home, he dressed himself in a hand-
some new suit and returned to the old homestead
with his pockets well filled with silver dollars.
His parents had not heard from him since the day
of his departure, and upon again beholding him
folded him to their bosoms and wept for joy.
Shortly thereafter the family moved to Chittenango,
New York, where his father established a trip-
hammer business in which he employed a large

number of workmen. Samuel followed these men
in their labors and soon learned to make all man-
ner of edged tools, blacksmith's vises and screw-
plates. At the age of twenty he went to
Baldwinsville, N. Y., where he borrowed money,
erected two handsome granite-trimmed, three-story
brick business houses, purchased a large stock of
goods and engaged in merchandising with William
R. Baker as his clerk. He carried on the business
for two years and then sold the goods and turned
over the buildings to pay the money used in their
construction. His brothers had been back from
Texas several times and had given such glowing
accounts of the country that he decided to try his
future there. In due time he accordingly started
for Texas in company with Mrs. Charlotte M. Allen,
wife of his brother Augustus C. Allen (who was then
living at San Augustine, Texas), and Mr. Kelly, a
friend of the family, and traveled by boat down the
Ohio and Mississippi rivers and up Red river to
Natchitoches and from that point to San Augus-
tine on horses purchased by him. The party
reached Natchitoches on the fourth of July and
were regaled by a sumptuous dinner prepared in
honor of the occasion by the patriotic proprietor of
the hotel at which they stopped. The vegetables
served were large and fresh and the fruits and
melons so delicious and so far superior to any
grown in their home in New York, that they thought :
' ' Verily, we have reached a paradise in this Southern
clime." The desserts and wines were also excellent.
Many patriotic toasts were proposed, responded to
and drunk in flowing bumpers of champagne by the
guests seated around the festal board. The stay
of the party in Natchitoches was much enjoyed and
long pleasantly remembered. The first day's ride
from Natchitoches brought the travelers to Gaines'
ferry on the Sabine river and the next to San
Augustine. The two brothers soon moved to
Natchitoches, where the subject of this memoir re-
mained until September and then returned to New
York to wind up certain business matters prepara-
tory to establishing himself in Texas. He also de-
sired to settle a little affair of the heart which was
causing him some anxiety at the time. Business
matters disposed of, he called upon his sweetheart
and had an interview that resulted in terminating
their courtship.

She accepted him and promised to become his
wife upon the condition that he would forego his
intention of locating in Texas and agree to live in
New York. This he would not do. He thought,
as a majority of men would have thought, that if
she loved him truly she would go wherever it was
to his interest to go, even if that were to the ends



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 Kepublic, although Galveston,
where his brother, Augusta C. Allen, had established
a business house, was even then (in 1838) a con-
siderable 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. WoU 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 saw-
mill 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 en-
abled 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 busi-
ness, ypere the founders of that promising metrop-
olis. He, however, was an important factor in
the upbuilding of the place, doing as much, or
more, perhaps, than any other cf its earlier inhabi-
tants 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 construc-
tion. It was quite as large an edifice as
the handsome brick structure that now occupies
its former site. He opened the first for-
warding and commission house established in
Houston and associated T. M. Bagby with him in
the business. They did an immense business, ex-
tending 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 oflScers
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 sur-
vived 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 ameng 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 meet-
ing necessary expenses. As soon as he had suf-
ficiently 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 difiiculty 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 " shin -plasters."
Whenever he secured as much as $50 of this cur-
rency, 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 he
sold, receiving in return "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, he
consulted Col. Fisher of the Fisher and Miller col-
ony, who told him to take stock in the New Braun-
fels 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.






Samuel L. Allen was married late in life, being
considerably above fifty years of . age. He
was united in marriage to Miss Margaret E.
Caftrey, of Yazoo County, Miss., daughter of
Margaret P. and her husband, Thomas T. Caf-

Mr. Allen resided in Houston until his death,

which occurred in his eighty-seventh year. He left
an only child, a son, named Augustus C. Allen in
honor of Mr. Allen's deceased brother, one of the
founders of the city of Houston. His son is a
practicing attorney of learning and ability, and
occupies an enviable position at the bar in that city
and his section of the State.



Benjamin Chapman settled at Saratoga, N. Y.,
when the Revolutionary War ended. He was com-
missioned Captain of a company by Governor Clin-
ton of New York, and fought for the independence
of the American colonies from the inception of the
struggle in 1776 to its close in 1783. He and his
devoted wife, who during the absence of her hus-
band in the army performed several deeds of
heroism (as did many of the women of that trying
period) went industriously to work to repair their
broken fortunes, neither daunted or depressed,
although they were comparatively homeless, their
commodious residence, situated on a high and con-
spicuous point, having been burned by a detach-
ment of British troops as a signal to other forces
with which they were co-operating. Despite the
privations and dangers they had encountered and
the financial losses that they sustained, Mr. Chap-
man and his wife were happy at the return of white-
winged peace to the long distracted land — happy
in each other's love, happy because of the freedom
gained by their country and the fact that they had
helped to gain it, and happy in their children, sev-
eral of whom were sons (all of whom were after-
wards successful in life) and two daughters, the
youngest of whom, Sarah, was wooed and won by
Boland Allen.

He and his fair young bride made their first home
in the village of Canasareangh, N. Y., and where he
bought an Indian clearing consisting of a consider-
able tract of ground on which was situated a sub-
stantial five or six-room log-house surrounded by
several acres in cultivation. Here, in 1806, their
first child, Augustus C. Allen, was born. He was
so delicate that they had faint hope of raising him
to manhood. The atmosphere in his room was kept
at an even temperature night and day and every
means that parental affection could suggest was

employed to tide him over the critical point
of infancy. As other and sturdier boys grew
up about them they were assigned such labors
and duties as came within their strength,
but the first born was kept at school until
he graduated at the Polytechnic in the village of
Chittenango, N. Y., at that time the famous school
of the section. The adjacent villages of Canasa-
reaugh and Chittenango, both bearing Indian names,
were about fifteen miles distant from the important
town of Syracuse in the same State. After gradu-
ating, Augustus C. Allen became a professor of
mathematics in the Polytechnic School at Chitten-
ango ; but finally decided to seek a wider field and
accepted a position in the city of New York as
bookkeeper for H. & H. Canfield, soon thereafter
with his brother, J. K. Allen, purchased an interest
in the business, which was thenceforward conducted
under the firm name of H. & H. Canfield & Co.,
and feeling that he could, make suitable provision
for a wife, went to Baldwinsville, N. Y. , to claim,
and was there wedded to his promised bride, the
accomplished Miss Charlotte M. Baldwin, daughter
of J. C. Baldwin, founder of the town, one of the
most beautiful and brilliant women in the State.
Dr. Baldwin was a well-known physician and finan-
cier (owning lumber and fiour mills and other im-
portant business interests). Quick to plan and
quick to execute, after deciding to build the town
that bears his name, he erected in one day twenty
houses (stores, workshops and houses for his lab-
orers) upon the site selected. The town is situated
thirteen miles from Syracuse. The first mayor of
the latter municipality was a son of Dr. Baldwin.
The Doctor lived to see Baldwinsville become quite
a flourishing place. After his marriage, Augustus
C. Allen and his brother continued their commer-
cial connection in New York City for about two



years and then withdrew from the firm, having de-
cided upon new ventures that they had planned to
undertake in Texas. They went first to San Augus-
tine 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 Colum-
bia 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. Occu-
pied with his legislative duties he 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 stir-
ring 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 advanta-
ges of the young town as a place at which to estab-
lish 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, depart-
ments offices, the preservation of archives, etc. ;
and hotels and lodging houses for the accommoda-
tion of members of Congress, all of which he would
rent upon reasonable terms and iov any desired
length of time. It is a matter of familiar history
that these overtures were successful and that Hous-
ton became the capital of the Republic and so re-
mained until the rapid settlement of the country
necessitated a more central location and Austin was

In the early days of Houston, when accommoda-
tions 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 dis-
tinguished and heroic Texians as well as eminent
strangers from abroad. Many elegant and beauti-
ful ladies also lent the charm of their presence.
The Aliens enjoyed in the highest degree the exercise
of these social offices, which helped to render liv-
ing in Texas, their chosen home, pleasant to others.

The first day of August, 1838, the energetic busi-
ness man and legislator, John K. Allen, came to an
untimely end, being cut off in the midst of his use-
fulness 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





brother, Augustus C. Allen, than upon the others,
although they too were deeply affected.

Always delicate, Augustus C. Allen's constitu-
tion now became undermined and he determined to
seek surcease of sorrow and restoration to health
amid new and strange scenes in a foreign land.
Accordingly, leaving his family well provided for,
he journeyed into Mexico, where his active mind
found exercise in business ventures no less success-
ful than those in which he had previously engaged.
Before following him to Mexico, we will refer, in
passing, to the invasion of Texas by Gen. Woll, who
entered the Republic with the avowed intention of
reducing it to subjection. The whole country was
alarmed and patriots hastily armed and hurried to
the front, Augustus C. Allen and three brothers
being among the first to volunteer. At the begin-
ning of the campaign he attached himself to Capt.
Nicholas Dawson's company. Shortly thereafter,
however, he and a man named Lindsey became
dissatisfied with what they considered the injudi-
cious course that Dawson appeared resolved to
follow, and told him that he should seek to effect
a juncture with other Texian troops before meeting '
and attacking the force under Woll, provided as it
was with artillery. Upon Dawson flatly refusing
to be guided by this advice, they left the company,
and by doing so they saved their lives. They at
once joined other commands, under Caldwell or
Hays, and did their full share of fighting, and did
not return to Houston until Woll recrossed the Rio
Grande into Mexico never to return. On leaving
Texas, Augustus C. Allen went first to British Hon-
duras, where he remained six months, and then
loaded his goods on a vessel and shipped them to
the Isthmus of Tehauntepec, where for a season he

stayed his wandering steps. In four months' time
he had acquired a sufficient knowledge of Spanish
to transact all his business and keep his books in
that language ; established a mercantile house and

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 67 of 135)