He signs a demand promissory note arranging for payment in 142½
pounds of lead. Framed to 10½x8½.
Promissory Note signed: "M. Austin", 1 page, 7¼x5¼, affixed to
a larger off-white sheet and framed to an overall size of 10½x8½. Mine A
Burton, 1802 February 11. In full: "Please pay Mr. Jos. Pratt One
Hundred & forty two pounds & half of lead out of the Lead in your hands
of mine and this order shall be your Discharge for the same." Moses
Austin (1761-1821), the father of Texas pioneer Stephen F. Austin, was known
as "the Lead King" of southwestern Virginia, where he owned mines and production
facilities to make buckshot and other lead products. His business failed, and in
1798 Austin and his family moved to what is now Missouri, then Spanish
territory. (Austin had purchased the land from Spain, but when he signed this
note it was actually in French territory under a secret Franco-Spanish treaty,
soon to be acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803).
Mine a Burton (named for Francis Burton, who had discovered the lode
in1763) was the first of 10 mines Austin opened in what would become
Missouri. Austin established the first Anglo-American town and the first
American mining operation west of the Mississippi at Potosi, Missouri, which he named after the Bolivian silver-mining
town. Austin prospered for a time, but his business failed again in the Panic
of 1819. He then traveled to Texas, acquiring permission to settle there with a
colony of Anglos. Moses Austin died before he could return with the
colonists, but his son Stephen F. Austin led 300 colonists there, and
became known as the "Father of Texas," and was the first Secretary of State
of the Republic of Texas when he died suddenly in 1836. Joseph Pratt was
one of 31 original American settlers near Potosi, whose claims under Spanish law
were subsequently confirmed by the US. Toned and soiled. Multiple mailing folds.
Notches at folds. Edges and corners worn and chipped. Note lightly bled but
legible. Otherwise, fine condition. Not framed in the Gallery of History
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