At his Burton Mine, Louisiana Territory, Austin co-signs the
promissory note of Joseph Whittlesey.
Promissory Note signed: "Moses Austin", Jos. Whittlesey", a
page, 8x5¼. Mine au Burton [Louisiana Territory], 1806 October 24.
Moses co-signs a $70 promissory note for Joseph T. Whittlesey, on a sum
borrowed from John Baker: "On condition Mr. Whittlesey should not be
capable to pay the above I will on the condition pay the sum of Seventy
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 au Burton (named for Francis Burton, who had discovered the lode
in1763) was the first of 10 mines Austin opened in what would become
Missouri, near the town of St. Genevieve, on the Mississippi.
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.
Little is known of borrower Joseph T. Whittlesey, but his name appears on
an 1806 petition to President Jefferson recommending candidates for Territorial
Governor of Louisiana, listing Whittlesey's home as St. Genevieve. Right edge
frayed and worn. Edges and corners worn. Heavily toned with soiled spots around
edges. Multiple mailing folds. Otherwise, fine condition.
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