The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Texas Collection

157

matter of some interest, and personal "diggings" for increased knowl-
edge about it have been undertaken.
In an article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XL, entitled
"Epidemic Cholera in Texas 1833-1834," the writer, J. Villasana Hag-
gard, after describing the visitation at Peach Point where, I under-
stand, Stephen F. Austin once lived, stated: "Among those who died
at Brazoria were: John Austin, both his children, Mr. Anthony, who
was editor of The Texas Gazette, Mr. Bradley, Mr. Reynolds, Dr. Cox,
Mr. Counsel, his wife and his child, William Austin's wife and daugh-
ter, and the eldest son of Mr. Bell; about 8o persons died altogether."
This seems to place John Austin's death at Brazoria. That this
might not be correct is indicated in a letter written by Thomas H.
Borden to Moses Lapham, dated September 7, 1833, appearing in the
interesting and informative article in the Quarterly, LIV, by Joe Frantz,
titled: "Moses Lapham: His Life and Some Selected Correspondence."
From this letter I now quote:
The Cholera has been more fatal at Brazoria & at the mouth of the Brazos than
any place that I have heard of the mortality at these places was truly alarming.
Not less than 70o or 8o persons have died of that all apauling malidy at those places
the mortality was greater than any place I have heard of 7 persons lay all at
one time Austin family died there and the Editor Mr. Anthony the Austins went
to Westall to escap the deseas at Brazoria and was soon taken after they got to
Westalls it appears that in their case that the desseas is cetching Westall's family
was well before the Austins went there but as soon as they were taken the rest of
the family took the desease the old man James and his daughter fell victoms and
6 negroes 16 persons in all died there in a week.
Although here the Thomas Westall residence is not given definite
location, it seems the site can be established as may next be noted.
In my "diggings" in public records of various counties in this area
of Texas, an original affidavit made by William T. Austin (a brother
of John Austin) was located, and a copy of it was made for my
files. It reads as follows:
In the early part of the summer of 1833, the cholera prevailed at Brazoria and
along the lower Brazos, in a violent form. John Austin and myself were brothers
at that time. We both resided, with our families, at Brazoria, Brazoria County. In
consequence of the epidemic prevailing badly at Brazoria, John Austin, deceased,
and myself removed, with our families, to the residence of Thomas Westall, about
ten miles distant from Brazoria, at "Gulf Prairie." Some friends were in our party.
A few hours after arriving at Westall's, the cholera broke out, in our families. John
Austin lost his only two children, and all his servants-and some ten days or two
weeks afterwards John Austin died of the same disease, leaving his widow as the
only surviving member of his family. My wife and family were all taken, and died
of the same disease, with the exception of one little child, a daughter six (6) years
old, who is now the wife of Emmet Jones and resides in Fort Bend County. The
widow of my deceased brother, John Austin, immediately took charge of my young
child and cared for it as a mother, for a considerable length of time after the
death of my wife. I emigrated to Texas with my family in 1830 and settled at
Brazoria and have continued to reside in Texas ever since.
Signed: William T. Austin.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed January 27, 2015.