The town was founded in 1836 by John Richardson Harris, a native of New York State and one of the "Old Three Hundred" Texas colonists. He died of yellow fever in 1829, while visiting in New Orleans. His wife, Jane Birdsall Harris, and the oldest of their four children, arrived in Harrisburg in 1833.Erected by the Rotary Club of Harrisburg
The Harris home was located three blocks north of this site. At here invitation, the government of The Republic of Texas, retreating before the advancing Mexican forces, made her home the Capitol of the Republic from March 22 until April 13, 1836. On April 16 a patrol of the Mexican Army burned the town, including the Harris home.
Following the victory at San Jacinto Mrs. Harris and her children rebuilt their home, and she lived there until her death in 1869. She is buried in the Glendale Cemetery, at the foot of East Magnolia Street.
Harrisburg prospered for a time, being the first railroad terminal in Texas as well as the head of navigation on Buffalo Bayou. The neighboring city grew rapidly, however, and in 1926 Harrisburg was annexed by the City of Houston.