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Moses Austin Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

MOSES AUSTIN
Born: October 4, 1761 in Durham, Connecticut
Died: June 10, 1821 in Herculaneum, Jefferson County, Missouri
Biography | show moreshow less
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.

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