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Brazos River
Map of Brazos River near Houston. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
William A. Pettus
William A. Pettus. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

HOUSTON AND BRAZOS RAIL ROAD. The Houston and Brazos Rail Road Company was one of four railroads chartered by the Republic of Texas. The charter was granted on January 26, 1839, and the company had the right to build railroads and turnpikes from Houston to the Brazos River. Subscription books were opened in Houston, Galveston, and Harrisburg. On December 20, 1839, the stockholders met in Houston and elected Michel B. Menard, Augustus C. Allen, James Love, Moseley Baker, William A. Pettus, and Henry R. Allen as directors. By July 1840 Charles L. Clark had been awarded a contract to build the first nine miles of the railroad. 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, the celebration began at the Presbyterian church, where an address commemorative of the Odd Fellows anniversary was given. 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. An additional contract was awarded to James S. McGahey to get out timber for the ten miles of the railroad closest to the Brazos River. Despite these beginnings the company was unable to construct its railroad and soon lost its charter privileges.

George C. Werner

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

Handbook of Texas Online, George C. Werner, "Houston and Brazos Rail Road," accessed November 21, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.