Local News Update

Stephen F Austin

Some Information about Stephan F Austin

Stephen F. Austin was born in the mining regions of southwestern Virginia, Count yond, Virginia. He was the second child of Moses and Mary Austin, the first, Eliza Austin, having lived only one month. On June 8, 1798, when he was four years old, his family moved 40 miles west of the Mississippi River to the lead-mining region in present-day Potosi, Missouri. His father Moses Austin received a Sitio from the Spanish government for the mining site of Mine à Breton, established by French colonists.


When and why he wanted to settle in Texas

During Austin's time in Arkansas, his father traveled to Spanish Texas and received an impresarios grant that would allow him to bring 300 American families to Texas. Moses Austin caught pneumonia soon after returning home . He left his impresarios grant to his son Stephen. Though Austin was reluctant to carry on his father's Texas venture, he was persuaded to pursue the colonization of Texas by a letter from his mother, Mary Brown Austin, written just two days before Moses Austin died.

Austin boarded the steamer Beaver and departed to New Orleans to meet Spanish officials led by Erasmo Seguin . He was at Natchitoches, Louisianan , on June 31, 1821, when he learned of his father's death. "This news has effected me very much, he was one of the most feeling and affectionate Fathers that ever lived. His faults I now say, and always have, were not of the heart."

His party traveled the 300 miles (480 km) in three weeks to San Antonio with the intent of reauthorizing his father's grant, arriving on August 12. While in transit, they learned Mexico had declared its independence from Spain, and Texas had become a Mexican province rather than a Spanish territory. A San Antonio native, Jose Antonio Navarro, having like visions of the future of Texas, befriended Stephen F. Austin, and a lasting association developed between the two. Navarro, proficient with Spanish and Mexican law, would assist Austin in obtaining his impresario contracts. In San Antonio, the grant was reauthorized by Governor Antonio Maria Martinez, who allowed Austin to explore the Gulf Coast between San Antonio and the Bronzes River to find a suitable location for a colony. As guides for the party, Manuel Becerra , along with three Aranama Indians, went with the expedition.

Austin advertised the opportunity in New Orleans, stating that the land was available along the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. A family of a husband, wife and two children would receive 1,280 acres (520 ha) at twelve and a half cents per acre. Farmers could get 177 acres (72 ha) and ranchers 4,428 acres (1,792 ha). In December 1821, the first U.S. colonists crossed into the granted territory by land and sea, on the Brazos River in present-day Brazoria County, Texas.