Historical Marker Detail for Allen, John Kirby, (1810 - 1838) Co-Founder of Houston

Available Photos (click to enlarge):
Photographs by J. Fisher

Marker Text:
Houston in 1836 was a humid swamp overgrown with sweet gum trees and coffee bean weeds. In this spot, however, two brothers from New York recognized the future "commercial emporium of Texas." John Kirby Allen was born and lived in New York until moving to Texas in 1832 with his older brother Augustus Chapman Allen, a professor of mathematics. A natural leader with a magnetic personality, J. K. Allen was an astute businessman as well. He and his brother soon saw that the area around Buffalo Bayou could readily become a major seaport. Immediately after the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21, 1836), J. K. Allen carefully chose the site of future Huston. On August 24 and 26, the brothers paid $9,428 for 6,642 acres of land originally granted by Mexico to John Austin, a pioneer colonist. Fittingly, they named the town for Sam Houston, leader of the Texas Army. In glowing words, the brothers advertised their infant town all over the United States; and J. K. Allen, who was soon elected representative to the Texas Congress, worked unceasingly to make Houston the capital of Texas, as it became-- 1837 to 1839. At 28, J. K. Allen died of congestive fever, but the town he founded has since become Texas' largest city. (1968)
Corrections and New Research:
Per the research of Allen descendant, Ralph Dittman, John Kirby Allen was born in Canaseraga Village, Madison County, New York. This is not the same location as the contemporary Canaseraga in Allegany County, New York. The Villiage of Canaseraga in now Sullivan Village. Canasareaugh, ending with "areaugh", is a misspelling of the village name. In an interview given to the Houston Daily Post in 1895 Charlotte Baldwin Allen refers to his birthplace as Orrville. Charlotte Allen was 90 years of age at the time of the Houston Daily Post interview, and died the following month. Dittman's research indicates that John Kirby moved to Orrville at the age of seven to live with an uncle. Orrville was renamed DeWitt in 1825.
Marker Type:
Marker with Post
Historical Organization:
Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Time Period:
1836 - 1845 Republic of Texas
Marker Address:
1217 West Dallas at Valentine Street Houston 77019
Key Map:
493 P
GPS Coordinates:
29 45.458, 95 22.733
Freestanding marker in Founders Park Cemetery, first of two markers on walkway leading into cemetery from front gate; NE section of Founders Memorial Park Cemetery
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