‘Father of Texas’ had connections to Milam County
Joy Graham

Stephen F. Austin had ties to the area now known as Milam County. He took over when his father Moses Austin died trying to colonize this area of Texas.

He was 27 when his father died.

The future “Father of Texas” was living in New Orleans at that time, studying law and working on a newspaper.

He was near Natchitoches, Louisiana, when he received the word of his father’s death and left for Texas to pick up the work to begin taking his father’s place.

Stephen developed a policy that was generous to the would be settlers to this area. He rewarded those occupations with special value to the community, professional men, merchants, ferrymen. He was responsible for having the land surveyed, and obtained settler’s title to the property.

In 1820 Moses Austin had received a grant from Mexico but died in 1821. Moses had sent for Stephen to take over his work.

Stephen Austin learned in 1822 Mexico had won her independence from Spain and was now a new government.

He set out for Mexico, began negotiating with the Mexicans and by 1823 a general colonization law passed and Stephen Austin received a contract.

In 1825, Austin returned to Texas to find San Felipe de Austin had suffered an extreme drought and Indians began raiding settlements.

In the spring of 1825, Austin completed contract terms and had issued titles to 197 families.

He was authorized to bring in 300 and thus his colony was referred to as the “Old Three Hundred.”

Settling Texas became popular as Nashville, Tennessee, contracted with Robert Leftwich from Nashville Colony to settle the area along Brazos River that was known as Old Nashville. Leftwich left that post to Sterling Clack Robertson in 1836. In May of 1834 Stephen Austin went back to Saltillo Mexico where he was arrested and placed in solitary confinement.

He was released Aug. 8, 1835. Ironically, Austin promoted keeping Texas a part of Mexico.

Stephen F. Austin died on December 27, 1835 at the age of 43. We observed the 176th anniversary of his death on Thursday.

Stephen F. Austin was known as the “Father of Texas” and gave the name to our state capital.

Research: Texas and Texans, Anderson Wooster published Steck-Vaughn Company Austin TX, pages 108-124.

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