Allen, Henry R. (1815–unknown)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 24, 2008

Updated: August 18, 2016

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.

Craig's Daguerreian Registry (, accessed June 6, 2007. The 1870 Census of Harris County, Texas, with Index (Houston: Houston Genealogical Forum, 1992). From a Troubled Beginning (, accessed June 6, 2007. Houston Chamber of Commerce, Volume XI: Centennial Edition, 1840–1940 (Houston: Houston Chamber of Commerce, 1940). Robert Shook, "Toward a List of Reconstruction Loyalists," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76 (January 1973).

  • Business
  • Visual Arts
  • Photography
  • Twelfth Legislature (1870-1871)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Allen, Henry R.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 24, 2008
August 18, 2016

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: