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Stephen F. Austin

Stephen F. Austin is known as the "Father of Texas." Taking on his father's idea for a colony venture in Spanish Texas, Austin devoted "my life to the great object of redeeming it from the wilderness....by peaceful, silent, noiseless perseverance and industry, and that the axe, the plough and the hoe would do more than the rifle or the sword."

Austin had only two homes in Texas—both in San Felipe. He initially lived on six lots adjoining the Commerce Plaza, a site that is now part of the San Felipe State Historic Site. In the late 1820s, Austin moved to the outskirts of San Felipe to a new home in the "garden lots. This second home was burned during the 1836 Texas Revolution.

From his San Felipe capital, Austin governed his colony to achieve his goal "to settle it with intelligent, honorable, and enterprising people." Austin's land office provided "secure and valid titles for their land, and to furnish each emigrant with solid grounds on which to build the hopes of his family, and his humble 'forest home.'" While he and his father originally viewed the Texas colony as an enterprise that might bring the family profit, Austin eventually realized the profit would fall to others. "I have not made a fortune for myself...but I have greatly benefitted many others, hundreds of them, and made them and their families rich who were worth nothing before."

 
Etching of Stephen F. Austin
 

 

For a brief biographical sketch of Austin, see the Handbook of Texas entry.

 

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