Transcript of Moses Austin

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture, and education.

Moses Austin, the patriarch of Anglo settlement in Texas, died before his colonial dream became a reality.

Austin was born in Connecticut in 1761. As a young man, he opened dry goods stores in Philadelphia and Richmond. After winning the contract to roof the new Virginia capitol, Austin acquired the state's richest lead deposit and brought miners from England. In establishing the American lead industry, he became a wealthy man.

In 1798, Austin moved into the Spanish territory of Louisiana and founded the first Anglo settlement west of the Mississippi River at what is now Potosi, Missouri.

However, the economy of the early American republic was highly unstable, and by 1819, Austin found himself deeply in debt. Ever the schemer, he developed a plan to establish an American colony in Spanish Texas. In 1820, he traveled to San Antonio, where the Baron de Bastrop convinced the Spanish governor to approve Austin's plan. Austin soon received a land grant in what is now the state of Texas.

Austin contracted pneumonia on his return to Missouri and died two months later. Two days before his death, he called his wife to his sickbed and begged her to tell his son Stephen to take his place as leader of the Texas colony. It was left to Stephen F. Austin to fulfill his father's dream.

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