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Stephen F. Austin
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Patriot
    (November 3, 1793-December 27, 1836)
    Born in ustinville, Wythe County, Virginia
    Birth name is Stephen Fuller Austin
    Founder of the State of Texas
    Son of Missouri businessman, Moses Austin
    Assumed his father's Empresario contract, after his death in 1821
    Established a colony on the coast of Texas, in the same year
    Led 300 families to colonize the region, in 1825
    Lost to Samuel Houston in the colony's first Presidential election; appointed Secretary of State instead (1836)
    City of Austin, Texas is named in his honor
    Initially buried at Gulf Prairie Cemetery in Brazoria County, Texas; remains were reinterred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, in 1910
    He opposed Texas’ annexation to the United States.
    His surname is frequently misspelled 'Austen' (as is the city named after him).
    To be blunt, revisionist post-colonial historians like Howard Zinn haven't exactly been kind to him.
    He lobbied successfully against the banning of slavery in Texas, even though it had been illegal in Mexico since 1824.
    He was known for harboring racist attitudes toward Mexicans common to the period, in his writings calling them 'a mongrel Spanish-Indian and negro race.'
    He was initially a loyalist to the Mexican government who discouraged Texans from seeking independence.
    He spent much of the Texas Revolution in the United States away from the actual fighting, trying to drum up support for the revolutionary effort.
    He took it for granted he would win the Texas 'Presidency' in a landslide, but didn't count on facing off against former Tennessee governor Sam Houston.
    He lost to Houston by over 1,000 votes and had sour grapes afterward (saying 'many of the old settlers who are too blind to see or understand their interest will vote for him').
    His consolation prize was serving as the Secretary of State, but he barely served three months before passing away.
    Schoolkids who see his San Antonio statue tend to ask why it looks like he's delivering the Nazi salute (teachers then have to explain what chronology is).
    He's a reference from Liz Taylor's character in the movie 'Giant' ('Its right there in the books - Mr. Austin came down with families, it says - The next thing you know, they're claiming it from Mexico. Why, l've never heard anything as ignorant as some Eastern people--').
    He studied law in New Orleans.
    He was the most successful of all the ‘empresarios' in the Westward migration.
    His father had taken the initial steps toward establishing an American colony in Mexican Tejas, but died shortly after receiving the approval to do so.
    He took on the project in his father’s stead, selecting a site on the lower Colorado and Brazos rivers, settling his colonists there within a year.
    He faced hostility from the Mexican government which refused to recognize his family’s land grant due to its having been negotiated under a Spanish charter.
    He succeeded in securing a new law confirming his right to colonize the land after traveling to Mexico to exercise diplomacy.
    He established a judicial law-enforcement system and a basic social infrastructure (roads, schools, etc.) for the newly-occupied territory.
    When he traveled to Mexico, in 1832, to smooth over Spanish-Texan tensions he brought a grievance petition and a request for statehood (which got him locked up by Santa Anna).
    He took command of the attack on Mexican troops led by Juan Seguin at San Antonio, in 1835.
    Upon hearing of Austin's death, Houston ordered an official statement proclaiming: ‘The Father of Texas is no more; the first pioneer of the wilderness has departed.’
    Stephen F. Austin State University (in Nacogdoches) and Austin College (in Sherman) are both named in his honor.
    He was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1956).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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