The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911

The City of Austin from 1889 to 1865.


The ground on which the City of Austin is built was selected
as the proper place for the Capital of the Republic of Texas in
1839, six years before annexation to the United States.
How it happened that the seat of government was thus lo-
cated, what public houses were then built for the Republic, when
and how they were erected, and other matters of public inter-
est connected with the early history of Austin should be made
known to this generation before a knowledge of them fades into
vague tradition. Many events that illustrate the conditions that
surrounded the settlers on the upper Colorado over seventy years
ago were of deep interest to them, but have never been recorded
on the elevated plane of general history.
When I moved to Austin fifty-eight years ago, nearly all of
the pioneer citizens of Austin's Colony were living; many of them
I knew, as I did also all the Presidents of the Republic and gov-
ernors of the State except Anson Jones.
General Lamar, in the autumn of 1837 or 1838, weary with
official duties, came to the upper Colorado on a buffalo hunt. He
procured an escort of six rangers at the old fort that stood in
Fort Prairie, six miles below where Austin now is. Among'them
were James O. Rice and Willis Avery, both of whom long after-
wards became my clients. From them and from the Rev. Edward
Fontaine (a great-grandson of Patrick Henry), then the Epis-
copal minister in Austin, who for years was my friend and neigh-
bor, I learned what I am about to state regarding Lamar's buffalo
hunt and other matters.
Jacob Harrell was then the only white frontier settler where
Austin is located, and no white man lived on the waters of the
Colorado above him. His cabin, and a stockade made of split
logs to protect his horses from the Indians, were built at the
mouth of Shoal Creek, near the river ford. There Lamar and
Fontaine (who was his private secretary), and their ranger escort
camped for the night, and were awakened next morning early by
Jake Harrell's little son, who told them that the prairie was full

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed March 3, 2015.