Henry R. Allen, businessman, alderman, and state representative, was born in New York in 1815, the son of Roland and Sarah (Chapman) Allen. Allen immigrated to Texas in 1837 during the early republic period, joining his brothers, Augustus C. and John K. Allen, and settling in Harrisburg near present-day Houston, Harris County. The elder Allen brothers had immigrated to Texas in 1832, and they relocated to the Houston area around 1836 to speculate on real estate. Allen quickly established himself as one of the leading businessmen and developers of early Houston. He was an inaugural director of the Houston and Brazos Rail Road, established in December 1839, directed numerous successful business enterprises from 1840 through 1866, and helped establish the Houston Chamber of Commerce, becoming a charter member of this body at its creation on January 28, 1840. He was also one of the pioneers of photography in Houston, opening a daguerreotype business in 1845. On March 12, 1842, Allen married Margaret Carter. This couple had one son and three daughters. A prominent resident of the influential Sixth Ward community, Allen championed the development of the Houston Ship Channel. In the 1850s Allen served as an alderman in Houston. In 1870 Allen won election on the Republican ticket as representative for Harris County to the Twelfth Texas Legislature. Following the conclusion of the legislature in 1871, Allen returned to Houston. He died sometime after this date.