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TIMELINE 1836 - 1839



The Colt revolver, a six-shooter designed by Samuel Colt, is patented. Today the gun is used by the fear-inspiring Texas Rangers

March 2

A convention at Washington on the Brazos issued the Texas Declaration of Independence as Santa Anna's Mexican troops swept into Texas

March 24

President Burnet and his government fled from Santa Anna, setting up headquarters in Harrisburg

Santa Anna marches thru Harrisburg

April 15

Harrisburg was put to the torch as the Texas government sought refuge in Lynchburg

April 21

Victory at last! A captured Mexican scout reveals Santa Anna's plans, enabling General Sam Houston and 900 of his stronger men to march on Lynch's Ferry, where Buffalo Bayou joins the San Jacinto. There they catch the Mexicans off guard during their traditional siesta time. After making their presence known with a four-piece band playing Will You Come to My Bower I Have Shaded for You?, the Texans charge, and within 18 minutes, kill 630 Mexicans, wound 208 and take 730 prisoner. They capture Santa Anna the next day, insuring the Republic's independence

Harrisburg County is established

August 26

Augustus C. and John K. Allen purchased for $5000 ($1000 down) the site on the ruins of Harrisburg, burned by Santa Anna, for which would be the location for Houston

August 30

The Allens placed their "paper town" on the market. Land is offered for sale at $1 per acre

Republic's 1st congress convened at Columbia south of Houston


Sam Houston elected first president of the Republic of Texas, and Lorenzo De Zavala elected vice-president

November 30

Augustus Allen's offer to make Houston the capital of the Republic wins congressional acceptance and the First Texas Congress chose Houston as the capital of the Republic of Texas

Gail and Thomas Borden survey and map the original townsite for Houston


Houston's population of about 1,200 consisted in large part of political officials and their families

The first large warehouse was erected and used primarily for cotton

Mrs. Andrews opened a school primarily for girls

January 22

The first steamboat to arrive could not find the city. The 85-foot "Laura" went three miles beyond the stakes marking Houston and had to back up

April 26

Sam Houston arrived in the town and praised its potential

May 1

The Texas Congress convened for the first time in Houston in the yet unfinished Capitol Building. There were no chairs inside, nor any roof on top

May 2

Gail and Thomas Borden established Houston's first newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register. It had been published formerly in Columbus, Texas

A row of commercial establishments were built on the west side of Main Street between Preston and Congress

The new Republic's congress arrives in Houston

June 5

Houston's first charter was issued and Houston was incorporated as a city

Houston's population of about 1,200 residents consisted in large part of political officials and their families

The first large warehouse was erected and used primarily for cotton

Mrs. Andrews opened a school primarily for girls

August 14

James S. Holman won the town's first mayoral election


The Texas Congress appropriated $1,000 for a City Hospital

Legislators were already discussing moving the capital out of Houston

The first courthouse and jail are established


Francis Moore, Jr. was chosen as Houston's second mayor

The city council appointed two constables and thereby initiated police activity in the town. Night protection, however, was still often left to volunteers

The government of the republic bought a small store building at Main and Preston and converted it into a residence for the chief executive. This first Texas White House was on the site where the Scanlan sisters later built the Scanlan Building

Deputy Constable Edward Stiff reported forty-seven places selling intoxicating drinks

The Philosophical Society of Texas was founded under President Mirbeau D. Lamar

April 28

Journeymen printers met and formed the Texas Typographical Association, the first organized group in Houston

William Marsh Rice arrives in Houston


The Telegraph and Texas Register reported four steamboats regularly plying the Houston-Galveston run

June 11

Theater was inaugurated in Houston with two plays at the John Carlos theater, the city's 1st theatre

August 15

John K. Allen, co-founder of the City of Houston, died of congestive fever at the age of 28, and was buried in Founders Cemetery, Houston


The city council appointed a market a market inspector and authorized private construction of a market house


Houston's second charter was issued providing a more detailed account of the city's powers and limitations

George W. Lively was elected Mayor

Individual merchants began installing sidewalks, and an 1858 ordinance made it obligatory for all merchants along Main Street

Henry F. Byrne opened a short-lived subscription library with a 1,300 volume collection

The Morning Star reported Houston's population at 2,075 residents

Early. The city council attacked the city's serious health problem by appointing a board of Health which operated sporadically for several years

The Texas legislators moved the state capital to Austin with the transfer completed by September

William Marsh Rice settled in Houston

One of the capital city's prominent female citizens was locked up in the log jail and put on trial for her life in the log courthouse. Pamala Mann had borrowed some money from a man named Hardy to finance a boarding house at Washington-on-the Brazos during the convention that produced the Texas Declaration of Independence. She was found guilty of forging a receipt, which was a capital offence with a penalty of being hanged. President Mirabeau Lamar's last official act was to pardoned her and she went back to her boarding house that she built by the time her case came to trial

The first Episcopal congregation was organized

Harrisburg County becomes Harris County though an Act of Congress


The city's first Abstinence Society held its initial meeting with 98 signing pledges

February 11

Houston's first public school opened with most students paying a fee, but with some poor children admitted free. Individual Merchants began installing sidewalks, and an 1858 ordinance made it obligatory for all merchants along Main Street

April 19

A group of local businessmen had cleared five miles of the Buffalo Bayou of overhanging limbs and snags, thus completing the first improvements on the shipping route


A devastating yellow fever epidemic swept Houston, killing 240 of the city's 2,000 residents


Over 200 German immigrants arrived and were in sheltered in the old Capitol building



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