John Kirby Allen

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John Kirby Allen

Birthdate: (28)
Birthplace: Orrville, Syracuse, Onondaga, New York, United States
Death: August 15, 1838 (28)
Houston, Harris, Texas, United States (congestive fever)
Place of Burial: Houston, Harris, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rowland Allen and Sarah Chapman
Brother of Augustus Chapman Allen; George Allen; Henry R. Allen; Harvey H. Allen and Samuel Allen

Occupation: Co-Founder of Houston, Texas; businessman, Texas Congress
Managed by: Harrison Victor Baldwin
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Kirby Allen


John Kirby Allen, son of Rowland Allen and Sarah Chapman, was b. in Orrville,Syracuse, Onondaga Co., New York in 1810. Having a knack for work and business, he was a store clerk and, at the age of sixteen, became a porter in a hat shop enterprise in Chittenango. Soon after he joined his brother, Augustus, in New York City, where the two bought stock in the H and H. Canfield Company. In 1832, the year after Augustus married Charlotte M. Baldwin, the brothers moved to Texas, arriving first at Galveston. Soon afterwards they went to St. Augustine. In 1833 they joined a group of speculators in Nacogdoches and involved themselves in a variety of enterprises, including the acquisition and sale of land certificates. Instead of joining the army when the Texas Revolution broke out, they personally bought and equipped a vessel, called the 'Brutus' to protect the Texas coast, and carry supplies and troops. To still allegations that they were privateering, they sold the ship at cost to the new Texas government. It became the 2nd vessel in the fledgling Texas navy.

Speculating on what next to do, they came across some land that they thought truly promising. Financed by an inheritance received by Augustus' wife, Charlotte, on Aug. 26,1836, they purchased over 6,600 acres of land along the Buffalo Bayou with the purpose of establishing a new city. At the suggestion of Charlotte, they named their townsite for the hero of the time, General Sam Houston.

John Kirby (J.K.) Allen, a delegate to the first congress, succeeded in having Houston named as the capitol of the Republic of Texas (1837-1839). This act gave the city a big boost in its initial years of existence. J.K. died of congestive fever on Aug. 15,1838, at the age of 28. Since he had not married and died without a will, his estate was deferred to his parents. Unfortunately, they died within a few short years and the remaining brothers (A.C. and four others who, with their parents and sister had moved to Texas in 1836), became embroiled in a dispute about his interests; which were intertangled and vast. The resulting disagreements became too much for Charlotte and she and Augustus separated, but never divorced.

John Kirby Allen is buried at Founders Memorial Park, Houston, Texas.

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John Kirby Allen's Timeline

Syracuse, Onondaga, New York, United States
August 15, 1838
Age 28
Houston, Harris, Texas, United States
Houston, Harris, Texas, United States