Texas State Historical Association
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Moses Austin was one of the most important figures in the history of Texas. Moses Austin’s Old 300 were the first 300 Anglo Americans to be settled in Spanish Texas. He was remembered for establishing an Anglo American settlement on the western banks of the Mississippi. The Old 300 were hand-picked by Stephen F. Austin, Moses Austin’s son.
The war of 1812 affected the economy of the United States very negatively. Austin and a few other powerful wealthy men tried to find the best solution to their problem but all of the attempts had failed which affected Austin financially. These unsuccessful attempts had inspired Austin’s idea of settling and starting a business in Spanish Texas. This move was to try to save himself from financial bankruptcy. Moses was actually able to obtain permission from the Spanish colonists in San Antonio. Unfortunately, during his visit to Texas, Austin was affected by the cold and wet weather and contrasted severe pneumonia. After becoming ill, Moses Austin passed away and his son received his land grant. Stephen F Austin continues his father’s work and soon settles the Old 300 in Spanish Texas.
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It states on The Texas State Historical Associa “Moses Austin, founder of the American lead industry and the first man to obtain permission to bring Anglo-American settlers into Spanish Texas, son of Elias and Eunice Austin, was born in Durham, Connecticut, on October 4, 1761. In Philadelphia, he met and in 1785 married Mary Brown, by whom he had five children, three of whom lived to maturity: Stephen Fuller Austin, who accepted and successfully carried out Moses’ deathbed request to prosecute “the Texas Venture,” Emily Margaret Austin, and James Elijah Brown Austin. Moses extended his business to Richmond, Virginia, where he established Moses Austin and Company. In 1789 he secured a contract to roof the new Virginia capitol in lead, and, since the state promised to pay 5 percent above the new Virginia capitol in lead, and, since the state promised to pay 5 percent above market price if the contractor used Virginia lead, Moses, again in partnership with Stephen, gained control of Virginia’s richest lead deposit. He brought experienced miners and smelters from England to improve the efficiency of his operation, and the resulting expertise and industry he introduced into the lead business established the American lead industry.”
In conclusion, Moses Austin was an important figure in the history of Texas because he was the first man to ever obtain permission to bring Anglo Americans into Spanish Texas. Also, Stephen F. Austin fulfilled his father’s deathbed request to continue “the Texas Venture.”