Portrait of Moses Austin
October 4, 1761
|Died||June 10, 1821 59) (aged|
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Known for||Being awarded the first land grant to settle Anglo-Americans in Spanish Texas|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Brown Austin|
|Children||Stephen F. Austin, Emily Austin Perry, James Elijah Brown Austin|
|Parent(s)||Elias Austin and Eunice Phelps Austin|
Moses Austin (October 4, 1761 – June 10, 1821) was an American businessman and pioneer who played a large part in the development of the lead industry in the early United States. He was the father of Stephen F. Austin, one of the earliest American settlers of Texas, which was at the time part of Mexico.
Lead is a chemical element with symbol Pb and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metal that is denser than most common materials. Lead is soft and malleable, and also has a relatively low melting point. When freshly cut, lead is silvery with a hint of blue; it tarnishes to a dull gray color when exposed to air. Lead has the highest atomic number of any stable element and three of its isotopes are endpoints of major nuclear decay chains of heavier elements.
George Washington, elected the first president in 1789, set up a cabinet form of government, with departments of State, Treasury, and War, along with an Attorney General. Based in New York, the new government acted quickly to rebuild the nation's financial structure. Enacting the program of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the government assumed the Revolutionary war debts of the states and the national government, and refinanced them with new federal bonds. It paid for the program through new tariffs and taxes; the tax on whiskey led to a revolt in the west; Washington raised an army and suppressed it. The nation adopted a Bill of Rights as 10 amendments to the new constitution. The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the entire federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court became important under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall (1801–1835), a federalist and nationalist who built a strong Supreme Court and strengthened the national government.
Stephen Fuller Austin was an American empresario. Known as the "Father of Texas", and the founder of Texas, he led the second, and ultimately, the successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States to the region in 1825.
After receiving a land grant from the Spanish Crown in 1820, Moses Austin planned to be the first to establish an Anglo-American settlement in Spanish Texas, but he died before his dream was realized.On his deathbed, he pleaded his son to fulfill his dream to colonize Texas. Stephen led the colony to a now-sovereign Mexico in 1825, and in time, the settlers demanded autonomy and later won independence from Mexico under President Antonio López de Santa Anna, thereby establishing the Republic of Texas.
The monarchy of Spain, constitutionally referred to as The Crown, is a constitutional institution and historic office of Spain. The monarchy comprises the reigning monarch, his or her family, and the royal household organization which supports and facilitates the monarch in the exercise of his duties and prerogatives. The Spanish monarchy is currently represented by King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia, and their daughters Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofía.
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1690 until 1821.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Moses Austin was born October 4, 1761 to Elias Austin and Eunice Phelps Austin in Durham, Connecticut.
Durham is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. Durham is a former farming village on the Coginchaug River in central Connecticut. The population was 7,388 at the 2010 census. Every autumn, the town hosts the Durham Fair, the largest volunteer agricultural fair in New England.
In 1784, he moved to Philadelphia to enter the dry goods business with his brother, Stephen. He then moved to Richmond, Virginia to open a second dry goods store. In 1785, he married into the affluent iron mining family of Mary Brown, who then became known as Mary Brown Austin.The Austins' second child was born in 1793 and named Stephen Fuller Austin in honor of his father's brother and his mother's great uncle. Their daughter Emily Austin followed in 1795. A second son, James Elijah Brown Austin, was born in 1803.
Dry goods is a historic term describing the type of product line a store carries, which differs by region. The term comes from the textile trade, and the shops appear to have spread with the mercantile trade across the British colonial territories as a means of bringing supplies and manufactured goods out to the far-flung settlements and homesteads that were spreading around the globe. Starting in the mid-1700s, these stores began by selling supplies and textiles goods to remote communities, and many customized the products they carried to the area's needs. This continued to be the trend well into the early 1900s, but with the rise of the department stores and catalog sales, the decline of dry goods stores began, and the term has since largely fallen out of use.
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. Richmond was incorporated in 1742 and has been an independent city since 1871.
Mary Brown Austin (1768–1824) had dramatic influence on early Texas history. Perhaps her most important contribution to history is writing a letter to her son, Stephen, two days before the death of her husband, Moses Austin, imploring Stephen F. Austin to carry out the dying wish of his father—that Stephen follow through with the empresario grants for land settlement in Texas. As such, Mary Brown Austin had a significant role in the shaping and development of Texas.
Austin sought to start his own mining business in southwestern Virginia, and in 1789 he traveled there to look at a lead mine. Moses saw potential in the site and by 1791 his family had joined him in what is now Wythe County. Moses and his brother Stephen and several other partners and individuals industrialized the area. Several smelters, furnaces, commissaries, the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower, blacksmith shops, liveries, and mills were established. The tiny village around the mines became known as "Austinville", and Moses came to be known as the "Lead King".
Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.
Wythe County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,235. Its county seat is Wytheville.
A furnace is a device used for high-temperature heating. The name derives from Latin word fornax, which means oven. The heat energy to fuel a furnace may be supplied directly by fuel combustion, by electricity such as the electric arc furnace, or through induction heating in induction furnaces.
The Austin brothers soon incurred debts, causing the collapse of the company. After the Virginia lead business failed, Moses skipped out to avoid imprisonment and the consequences of debt, which was then customary for debtors in the U.S. under traditional English law (now being developed for U.S. federal and state codes), and looked toward the rich lead deposits in Missouri, then a part of upper Spanish Louisiana.In December 1797, Austin and a companion traveled to investigate the Spanish mines. In 1798, the Spanish colonial government granted to Moses one league (4,428 acres). In return he swore allegiance to the Spanish Crown and stated he would settle some families in Missouri. Stephen remained behind to salvage the Virginia business, creating a rift between the two brothers that would last for much of the rest of their lives. The state of Virginia seized much of the property Moses owned and broke up the various operations, which were later purchased from the state at great discounts by Thomas Jackson and his partners.
Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.
In 1803, Missouri came under the jurisdiction of the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Austin became founder and principal stockholder in the Bank of St. Louis, but the bank failed in the Panic of 1819, causing him to lose his entire fortune. He again sought help from Spain. In 1820, Austin traveled to the Presidio San Antonio de Béxar in Spanish Texas and presented a plan to colonize Texas with Anglo-Americans to Governor Antonio María Martínez. In 1821, the governor asked Austin's friend, Erasmo Seguín, to give him the news that he had been awarded a land grant and permission to settle three hundred families in Texas. On Austin's return trip, he became ill, and he died in June 1821, shortly after arriving back in Missouri. His son Stephen F. Austin carried out his colonization plan several years later, and led the three hundred families to what became the first Anglo-American settlement in Texas.
In 1885, the legality of Austin's Spanish property claims were settled posthumously by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bryan v. Kennett .
Moses Austin had many relatives who helped settle Texas, including Stephen F. Austin and Emily Austin Perry (daughter), Moses Austin Bryan (grandson), and others. Moses Austin should be distinguished from his grandson Moses Austin Bryan. James Bryan was his first son-in-law; James F. Perry was his second son-in-law. The Missouri State Archives reflect that Moses Austin lived in a mansion called Durham Hall, named for his birth town of Durham, Connecticut.
Moses Austin attempted various economic ventures before his plans to settle in Texas came to fruition. Austin failed to successfully maintain the St. Louis Bank and his financial situation suffered from unfavorable shipment deals. Austin's desperation reached a climax in 1820 when a Missouri sheriff threatened to break down his door to collect past debts. Austin's son, Stephen F. Austin, also continued to seek employment in Mississippi and Arkansas to help his poor financial situation. In November 1820, Austin learned that the United States passed the Adams–Onís Treaty with Spain, which situated present-day Texas in New Spain's territory. Moses Austin hoped the Spanish government would permit free trade with the United States so he left for Texas to try and begin a new economic venture.Mary Brown Austin, Moses Austin's wife, wrote to her cousin explaining Moses's plans to colonize Texas in order to provide for their family.
Austin's primary intention was to create a trading venture on the coast of Texas to allow the United States to trade with New Spain. On December 23, 1820, Austin arrived in San Antonio to begin negotiations with the Spanish government to establish a trading post. After some difficulty on his own, Austin paired with a Spanish interpreter, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, who agreed to join Austin and plan a settlement called "Austina" which would be located somewhere on the coast of Texas. On December 26, 1820, Austin and Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop presented a formal petition to Governor Antonio María Martínez. They requested permission to bring three hundred families to a port in Texas. Most importantly, Austin insisted that the settlers were former subjects of Spain and would be willing to defend the land against foreign enemies.Austin convinced Spain to reinstate the empresario system in Texas, which resulted in permission to begin a new settlement in Texas. This outdated reward system granted tracts of land to immigrants who pledged their allegiance to the Spanish crown. Therefore, Austin's settlement was contingent upon its allegiance to the Spanish Crown.
After returning from successful negotiations in San Antonio, Austin returned to Missouri to recruit settlers for his new settlement. In April, he created a “Form of Contract for Emigration to Texas” which detailed the obligations of each member joining the settlement in Texas. Austin required emigrants to help build community structures. He also ordered the settlers to own a “Spanish carbine”, a type of gun, to protect the settlement. Austin's relationship with the settlers he recruited was not one of mutual respect, but rather he employed the settlers. Austin contracted his settlers to work from their departure in May, until the following January. In return, Austin guaranteed transportation along with the necessary tools and provisions to begin the settlement.Although Moses Austin died prior to his planned departure, his son, Stephen F. Austin, continued his efforts to colonize Texas. Austin triggered such a substantial movement of people into Texas, the land became inundated with Americans. Austin's push to settle Texas contributed to the Texas Revolution in 1836 which foreshadowed Texas's integration into the United States in 1845.
Moses Austin died of pneumonia. His tomb is located in Potosi, Missouri.
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.
Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 after winning its war. Initially, Mexican Texas operated similarly to Spanish Texas. Ratification of the 1824 Constitution of Mexico created a federal structure, and the province of Tejas was joined with the province of Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas.
An empresario was a person who had been granted the right to settle on land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for settling the eastern areas of Coahuila y Tejas in the early nineteenth century. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur.
Haden Edwards was a Texas settler and land speculator. Edwards County, Texas on the Edwards Plateau is named for him. In 1825, Edwards received a land grant from the Mexican government, allowing him to settle families in East Texas. His grant included the city of Nacogdoches, and Edwards soon angered many of the previous settlers. After his contract was revoked in 1826, Edwards and his brother declared the colony to be the Republic of Fredonia. He was forced to flee Mexico when the Mexican army arrived to put down the rebellion, and did not return until after the Texas Revolution had broken out.
The Old Three Hundred were the 297 grantees, made up of families and some partnerships of unmarried men, who purchased 307 parcels of land from Stephen Fuller Austin and established a colony that encompassed an area that ran from the Gulf of Mexico on the south, to near present-day Jones Creek, Brazoria county Texas, Brenham in Washington County, Texas, Navasota in Grimes County, and La Grange in Fayette County. Moses Austin was the original empresario of the Old Three Hundred and was succeeded by his son, Stephen F. Austin, after his untimely death.
Dr. Clifton E. Marsh is an American author, sociologist and educator. He has written a number of books that chronicle the history of various people of the African Diaspora.
The DeWitt Colony was a settlement in Mexican Texas founded by Green DeWitt. From lands belonging to that colony, the present Texas counties of DeWitt, Guadalupe and Lavaca were created. The hub of the colony was primarily located, however, in what is now Gonzales County. The first battle of the Texas Revolution occurred in the DeWitt Colony.
Green DeWitt was an empresario in Mexican Texas. He founded the DeWitt Colony.
Felipe Enrique Neri was a Dutch businessman and land owner known for his money in Anglo-American settlement of Texas.
Juan Jose Maria Erasmo Seguin was a prominent citizen and politician in San Antonio de Bexar in the 19th century. From 1807 until 1835, Seguin served as head postmaster of San Antonio, Texas. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Seguín was named the sole representative from Texas to the constitutional convention. He helped to draft the Constitution of 1824 and was a major influence in the addition of a general colonization provision. Seguín assisted Stephen F. Austin in choosing land for the first colony of American settlers to immigrate to Texas. He later supported the Texas Revolution, providing political as well as material support.
James Elijah Brown Austin was an American settler and brother of empresario Stephen F. Austin, "The Father of Texas." Counted also as one of the Old Three Hundred, he is listed in Spanish and Mexican records as "Santiago E.B. Austin". James and Stephen F. Austin are both brothers of Emily Margaret Brown Austin.
Emily Austin Bryan Perry was an early settler of Texas and sole heir to Stephen F. Austin. She achieved significant political, economic and social status as a woman in Texas at a time when women were often not treated equal to men.
Moses Austin Bryan was an early settler of Texas. Moses served as Secretary for his uncle, Stephen F. Austin.
James Bryan (1789–1822) was an American mining entrepreneur whose efforts in concert with others brought economic development to Missouri. Bryan operated "Bryan's Mines" on Hazel Run, north of Big River, in SW 1/4 of Sec. 33, T. 37N. 5E. in 1806; this location is also known as "Hazel Run Lead Digging."
Stephen Samuel Perry (1825–1874) managed Peach Point Plantation, and is credited with amassing and preserving significant historical manuscripts related to Texas history.
Robertson's Colony was an empresario colonization effort during the Mexican Texas period. It is named after Sterling C. Robertson, but had previously been known by other names. It has also been referred to as the Nashville Colony, after the Tennessee city where the effort originated, the Texas Association, the Upper Colony, and Leftwich's Grant, named after early colonizer Robert Leftwich. The eventual contract spread over an area that includes all or part of thirty present-day counties in Texas.
Horatio Chriesman was an American surveyor, politician in Mexican Texas and participant in the Texas Revolution.
Jose Miguel de Arciniega (1793–1849) was a Mexican military explorer and legislator. He was mayor of San Antonio, Texas, in 1830 and 1833.