Moses Austin
Overview
 
Moses Austin played a large part in the development of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 industry and is the father of Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

, a leading American settler of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. He was the first to be allowed to gather Anglo
Anglo
Anglo is a prefix indicating a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, Australia and...

 Americans for settlement in Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

. He also established the first English American settlement west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

.
Austin was born in Durham, Connecticut
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 6,627 at the 2000 census. Every autumn, the town hosts the Durham Fair, the largest volunteer agricultural fair in New...

 to a family that can be traced back to Richard Austin, who arrived on the ship "Bevis" in Massachusetts colony in 1638, only a few years after the colony was founded.

In 1784, he moved to Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 to enter the dry goods
Dry goods
Dry goods are products such as textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and sundries. In U.S. retailing, a dry goods store carries consumer goods that are distinct from those carried by hardware stores and grocery stores, though "dry goods" as a term for textiles has been dated back to 1742 in England or...

 business with his brother, Stephen.
Encyclopedia
Moses Austin played a large part in the development of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 industry and is the father of Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

, a leading American settler of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. He was the first to be allowed to gather Anglo
Anglo
Anglo is a prefix indicating a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, Australia and...

 Americans for settlement in Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

. He also established the first English American settlement west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

.

Biography

Austin was born in Durham, Connecticut
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 6,627 at the 2000 census. Every autumn, the town hosts the Durham Fair, the largest volunteer agricultural fair in New...

 to a family that can be traced back to Richard Austin, who arrived on the ship "Bevis" in Massachusetts colony in 1638, only a few years after the colony was founded.

In 1784, he moved to Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 to enter the dry goods
Dry goods
Dry goods are products such as textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and sundries. In U.S. retailing, a dry goods store carries consumer goods that are distinct from those carried by hardware stores and grocery stores, though "dry goods" as a term for textiles has been dated back to 1742 in England or...

 business with his brother, Stephen. He then moved to Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 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
Mary Brown Austin
Mary Brown Austin 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...

. The Austins' first child was born in 1793 and named Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

 in honor of his father's brother and his mother's great uncle. Their daughter Emily Austin followed in 1795. James Elijah Brown Austin was born in 1803.

Austin sought to start his own mining business in southwestern Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, and in 1789 he traveled to southwest Virginia to look at a lead mine site. Moses saw potential in the site and by 1791 his family had joined him in what is now Wythe County
Wythe County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,599 people, 11,511 households, and 8,103 families residing in the county. The population density was 60 people per square mile . There were 12,744 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile...

. Moses and his brother Stephen and several other partners and individuals industrialized the area. Several smelters, furnace
Furnace
A furnace is a device used for heating. The name derives from Latin fornax, oven.In American English and Canadian English, the term furnace on its own is generally used to describe household heating systems based on a central furnace , and sometimes as a synonym for kiln, a device used in the...

s, 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."

The brothers ran up debts, causing the collapse of the company. After the Virginia lead business failed, Austin looked toward the rich lead deposits in Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, then a part of upper Spanish Louisiana. In December 1796, Austin and a companion traveled to investigate the Spanish mines. In 1798, the Spanish crown 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.

In 1803, Missouri came under the jurisdiction of the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

. Austin's American bank failed in the Panic of 1819
Panic of 1819
The Panic of 1819 was the first major financial crisis in the United States, and had occurred during the political calm of the Era of Good Feelings. The new nation previously had faced a depression following the war of independence in the late 1780s and led directly to the establishment of the...

, causing him to lose his entire fortune. He again sought help from Spain. In 1820, he presented a plan to colonize Texas to Governor Antonio María Martínez
Antonio María Martínez
Antonio María Martínez was a colonel in the infantry regiment of Zamora and the last governor of Spanish Texas.-History:He was born in Andújar, province of Jaén, Spain. He entered military service on July 7, 1785, and had a distinguished career, winning the Cross of Northern Europe and the Cross...

. The Governor rejected Austin's plan due to the ongoing attacks on Spanish Texas by American filibusters. An old acquaintance, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop
Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop
Felipe Enrique Neri was a Dutch businessman and land owner known for his assistance in Anglo-American settlement of Texas.-Early life and family:...

, helped Austin convince the governor to accept his plan. In 1821, the governor asked Austin's friend, Erasmo Seguín
Erasmo Seguín
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 postmaster of San Anotnio, TX. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Seguin was named the sole representative from Texas to the...

, to give him the news, that he had been awarded the first colonization contract in Texas. With the governor's approval, Moses Austin returned to Missouri. Although he died in 1821, his son Stephen F. Austin carried out his colonization plan.

Family

Moses Austin had many relatives who helped settle Texas, including Stephen F. Austin (son), Emily Austin Perry (daughter), Moses Austin Bryan, grandson, and others. Moses Austin should be distinguished from his grandson Moses Austin Bryan
Moses Austin Bryan
Moses Austin Bryan was an early settler of Texas. Moses served as Secretary for his uncle, Stephen F. Austin.-Family:...

. 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
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 6,627 at the 2000 census. Every autumn, the town hosts the Durham Fair, the largest volunteer agricultural fair in New...

.

Death

Moses Austin died of pneumonia. The tomb of Moses Austin is located in Potosi, Missouri
Potosi, Missouri
Potosi is a city in Washington County, Missouri, United States. Potosi is about 10 miles north of Belgrade. The estimated population in July 2008 was 2,698. It was 2,662 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Washington County...

.

Further reading

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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