Augustus Chapman Allen was born to Roland and Sarah (Chapman) Allen in Canaseraga, New York on July 4, 1806. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute at Chittenango, New York, where he taught mathematics until 1827. That year, he became a bookkeeper for the H. and H. Canfield Company, in which he and his brother John Kirby Allen bought an interest. A.C. Allen married Charlotte M. Baldwin (1805-1895) on May 3, 1831. The next year, the brothers left the firm and moved to San Augustine, relocating to Nacogdoches the following year. From there, they worked with others in land speculation and provided, at their own expense, a ship called the Brutus for transporting troops and supplies during the Texas Revolution.
After Texas won its independence in 1836, the Allen brothers purchased land along Buffalo Bayou not far from Harrisburg, which had been substantially damaged during the war. The Allens planned a new town named for Sam Houston, offering it to the fledgling Texas government as a capital. The Texas Congress accepted the proposal and held the first session in Houston in May 1837. That year, the Allens were joined by their parents, four brothers and a sister. On August 15, 1838, J.K. Allen died from a fever.
In the 1840s, A.C. Allen moved to Mexico. There, he served as U.S. Consul for the ports of Tehuantepec and Minotitl?n, and was engaged in various business enterprises. In 1863, Allen traveled to Washington, D.C., where he contracted pneumonia. He died there at the Willard Hotel on January 11, 1864. Unable to have his body returned to Houston, his widow Charlotte had him buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. He is remembered today as a co-founder of the city of Houston.