Stephen F. Austin is considered the "Father of Texas" due to his continued efforts to settle the territory. His father Moses Austin contracted with the Spanish government to colonize a portion of northern Mexico. When Moses died in June 1821, the contract transferred to the younger Austin. Stephen selected a site for his colony along the Brazos and Colorado rivers and began recruiting families in 1821. Progress was slow because of difficulty in transporting supplies into the area and because of changing Mexican politics. Austin frequently discussed the future of his colony with Mexican officials and he earned their trust. By 1825, 297 families lived in Austin's Colony. They were called the "Old Three Hundred." Austin continued to negotiate with the Mexican government and represent residents. He also secured other land grants. In ten years he helped more than 1,500 families settle in Texas. At first the leadership of Antonio López de Santa Anna pleased Austin, but as Santa Anna assumed more and more control, he limited the freedom of the Texans. Austin supported the organized opposition to the absolute power of Santa Anna. This opposition led to the Texas Revolution.
Place of Birth: Wythe County, Virginia
Parents: Moses and Maria (Brown) Austin
Raised/Lived: Virginia, Missouri, Connecticut, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas
Early Jobs: Worked in his father's general store; managed father's lead manufacturing business; member of the Missouri territorial legislature; director of the Bank of St. Louis; circuit judge of the first judicial district of Arkansas; editor of a newspaper in New Orleans. Arrival in Texas and Nicknames Associated with Stephen F. Austin: He arrived in Texas in August 1821. The Father of Texas; Founder of Anglo-American Texas; "Old Three Hundred" - the name given to the settlers of Austin's first colony Death and Burial of Stephen F. Austin: He died December 27, 1836 at the age of 43
Place of Death: West Columbia, Texas - Original gravesite of Stepen F. Austin was in Gulf Prairie Cemetery at Peach Point, Brazoria County, Texas; Reinterred October 20, 1910 at the Texas State Cemetary in Austin, Texas. Gravesite is located in the Republic Hill Section, Section 1 Row L Number 20.
Significant Contributions to Texas by Stephen F. Austin: Continuing colonization plans first set in motion by his father, Stephen F. Austin worked extensively with the government of Mexico to enact immigration laws that paved the way for Anglo-American colonization of the territory. Austin exercised civil and military authority over his colonists for several years. In additon to encouraging immigration and overseeing the colonists, Austin was influential in the establishment and maintenance of the land system in Texas.
His final service to Texas was a short term as Secretary of State after an unsuccessful bid for the presidency of the newly independent Republic in September 1836.