Moses Austin (1765 - 1821)

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About Moses Austin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Austin

Moses Austin (October 4, 1761 – June 10, 1821) was a leading figure in the development of the American lead industry and the father of Stephen F. Austin, a pioneer settler of Texas. He was the first to obtain permission for Anglo Americans to settle in Spanish Texas. He also established the first Anglo-American settlement west of the Mississippi River.

Early life

Austin was born in Durham, Connecticut, moved to Philadelphia in 1784, and entered the dry goods business with his brother, Stephen. In 1785, he married into the affluent iron mining family of Mary Brown, who then became known as Mary Brown Austin. Austin sought to start his own mining in southwestern Virginia, and in 1789 he traveled to southwest Virginia to look at the lead mine site. 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."

The Austins' first child was born in 1793 and named Stephen F. Austin 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. The Austins ran up several debts as part of their business, which would lead to the eventual collapse of the company. Moses left his brother for Missouri and swore allegiance to the Spanish Crown, while Stephen remained behind to salvage the business, which would cause 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.

The Austin family 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.

Businessman

After the Virginia lead business failed, Austin looked toward the rich lead deposits in Missouri, 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). He then obtained a divorce and married a lady by the name of Maria Hobbs.

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. 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.

Death

The tomb of Moses Austin is located in Potosi, Missouri.

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Moses Austin's Timeline

1765
October 4, 1765
1787
June 29, 1787
Age 21
1790
April 14, 1790
Age 24
1793
November 3, 1793
Age 28
1795
June 22, 1795
Age 29
Austinville, Virginia, United States
1803
October 3, 1803
Age 37
1821
June 10, 1821
Age 55
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