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On the heels of the Texas Revolution, two New York real estate promoters, John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen were seeking a location where they could begin building "a great center of government and commerce." In August 1836, they purchased 6,642 acres (27 km²) of land (on a site adjacent to the ashes of Harrisburg) from T. F. L. Parrot, Sam Houston's widow for $9,428. The Allen brothers first landed in the area where the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou served as a natural turning basin, now known as Allen's Landing. The "city to be" was named after Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto, whom the Allen brothers admired and anticipated to be the first President of the Republic of Texas. Gail Borden, Jr., a publisher and surveyor, who would later found Borden, Inc., exercised foresight when he laid out wide streets for the town.

After it was established, it started out as a hamlet. Its population later swelled into the thousands. The Laura, the first ship ever to visit Houston and Galveston, arrived on January 1837. The city was granted incorporation by the state legislature on June 5, 1837 and was made as the temporary capital of Texas. At this time, lawlessness, diseases, and financial difficulties began to become a problem in early Houston. According to legend, the first business opportunity for the city vaporized when a businessman, who was considering relocating his carriage making business to Houston, heard accounts of violence witnessed by his uncle in a Texas saloon. Rather than relocate, the businessman left the state never to return.

Soon, Houstonians were prompted to put an end to their problems. And so, they wanted to make a Chamber of Commerce just for the city. A bill had been introduced on November 26, 1838 in Congress that would establish this entity. President Mirabeau B. Lamar signed the act into law on January 28, 1840. This move could not have come sooner; some creditors had already cut off some Houston businessmen, and there were numerous yellow fever outbreaks, including an 1839 outbreak that killed about 12 percent of its population. Also, on January 14, 1839, the capital had been moved to Houston, known as Waterloo at the time. On April 4, 1840, seven men met at the Carlos City Exchange and enacted the Chamber of Commerce. The seven men were Thomas M. League, Henry R. Allen, George Gazely, John W. Pitkin, Charles Kesler, E.S. Perkins, and Dewitt C. Harris. The chamber's community development efforts would revive the dying frontier village.

In 1840, the town was divided into four wards, each with different functions in the community. The wards are no longer political divisions, but their names are still used. The Texas Government started to promote colonization of the state. The Allen brothers started to promote their town at the same time that the Republic of Texas started promoting settling of Texas. The Allen brothers were not particularly honest to the people whom they settled. They boasted of waterfalls in their advertisements when all Houston had were bayous. However, Houston did get many perks very quickly, since the brothers really wanted their city to succeed. Digging for a proposed Port of Houston began when Congress approved a move to dig out the Buffalo Bayou on January 9, 1842. Funding was awarded which amounted to $2000. Houstonians had mixed opinions over the apparent statehood of their country. When Mexico was again threatening Texas, President Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston on June 27, 1842. However, the Houston residents wanted to keep the archives in their city. This would be known as the Archive Wars. The capital was then moved to Washington on-the-Brazos on September 29. Houston became capital again in 1844.

German immigrants started arriving in Texas and Houston after the revolution of 1848. Many were educated and arrived with capital to set up businesses or buy farms. The port in Houston was getting some shipping business, but the shallowness of the water hampered massive shipping. During the 1850s, the Houstonians decided to build a rail system to connect their port with rail links. Eleven companies built 451 miles of track before 1860. Mexicans, who were one of the earliest immigrant groups to Houston, worked as railroad builders and stayed in the area.

Houston first started shipping cotton, lumber, and other manufacturing products. Alexander McGowen established the iron industry, and Tom Whitmarsh built a cotton warehouse. A fire ravaged Houston on March 10, 1859, but the city rebuilt itself soon after.

Thousands of enslaved African-Americans lived near the city before the Civil War. Many of them near the city worked on sugar and cotton plantations, while most of those in the city limits had domestic and artisan jobs. In 1860 forty-nine percent of the city's population was enslaved. Frost Town, a nearby settlement south of the Buffalo Bayou, was swallowed by Houston.

Labor Department Shows an Increase in Seasonal Wages

While in Houston compensation cost shows a rise in the October-November quarter for the U.S workers owing to the relatively higher than wages and salaries. According to the Labor department compensation shows a seasonally increase of 0.4% in the third half in comparison to the 0.5% increase in April-June quarter. The 70 percent compensation cost counts for wages and salaries, which had shown an increase of 0.3 whereas the cost of benefits went up 0.7 %. The economy still has gained some boost due to low inflation rate maintained by the Federal Reserve to overcome the Great recession. Even though there has been a modest increase of 1.9 percent in the compensation cost, wages still have not grown significantly and Houston awaits economic progression.

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