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Republic of Texas charters Houston and Brazos Rail Road

January
26
1839

On this day in 1839, the Republic of Texas chartered the Houston and Brazos Rail Road, one of four lines chartered by the Republic. The company was granted the right to build railroads and turnpikes from Houston to the Brazos River. Michel B. Menard, Augustus C. Allen, James Love, Moseley Baker, and William A. Pettus were among the company's directors. The ceremony marking the beginning of construction was set to coincide with the fourth anniversary observance of the Odd Fellows in Texas. On the morning of July 25, 1840, the celebration began at the Presbyterian church in Houston with an address commemorating the Odd Fellows anniversary. From the church a procession of volunteer companies, members of the bar, medical faculty, army and naval officers, citizens, county officers, mayor and aldermen, Odd Fellows, Masons, the president and directors of the railroad company, the committee of arrangements, orator, and officiating clergyman formed and marched to the terminus of the railroad. Mayor Charles Bigelow broke ground with a spade, Holland Lodge No. 1 laid "a neat slab with fitting inscriptions," and the Milam Guards fired a salute. The procession then proceeded to Corri's Theater for more speeches. Despite these beginnings, however, the company was unable to construct its railroad and soon lost its charter privileges.

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