Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793–1836)

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Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793–1836)

Stephen Fuller Austin (b. 3 November 1793; d. 27 December 1836), father of Anglo-American Texas. Born in southwest Virginia, Austin lived and attended school in Spanish Upper Louisiana, Connecticut, and Kentucky before beginning work at age seventeen in his father's mercantile and lead businesses in Missouri. He served in the Missouri territorial legislature, but demonstrated no special business acumen. Loyalty to his father, despite financial reverses, drew him into land speculation in Arkansas (1819) and law studies in Louisiana (1820).

In 1821, Austin determined to carry out his deceased father's plan to settle Anglo-Americans in Spanish Texas. He received or participated in five empresario contracts, his first one for 300 families being the only one fulfilled by any empresario. Until 1828, Austin was responsible for civil and military affairs of the Anglo-American settlements, an authority he exercised with a patience and tact that minimized friction between the settlers and the Mexican authorities until unrest led to the conventions of 1832 and 1833, which sought changes in unpopular laws and separate statehood within Mexico.

Returning from a trip to Mexico City, where he obtained many of the demands of the conventions of 1832 and 1833, Austin was arrested (1834) on suspicion of inciting insurrection and held in Mexico City for eighteen months. Back in Texas (1835), he supported opposition to the Mexican central government, and during the Texas Revolution (1836) commanded troops, later serving as a commissioner to the United States. Defeated for president of the republic, he became secretary of state but died in office soon after.

See alsoTexas .


Eugene C. Barber, The Austin Papers (1924–1928) and The Life of Stephen F. Austin (1925).

Additional Bibliography

Cantrell, Gregg. Stephen F. Austin, Empresario of Texas. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

                                  David B. Gracy II

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Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793–1836)

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