The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934 Page: 186
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
most luxurious for the time. One room contained all "cherry"
furniture-bureau and table, easy chair and candlestand; the
dining room was complete even to the two "cherry" sideboards,
well equipped with wines and cider, a "mahogany tea caddy,"
and a silver service which included a pair of sugar tongs. And
the "big parlor" impressed the eight children of the family as
a "magnifiCent apartment," with its books on the table, pointss
with glasses" on the walls, coat of arms suspended over the
mantle, and a rare Wilton carpet, or for summer use, "the still
rarer straw matting from China . . . (the admiration . . .
of New Haven)," on the floor. This was the house in which
Henry Austin, born January 31, 1782, spent his boyhood.3
His available letters, all written after he was twenty-four, in-
dicate that Henry acquired more than the rudiments of an ed-
ucation, although the formal part of his early training could
not have been very extensive. At the age when boys of today
are planning to enter high school, he was following the example
of many other New England youths of the late eighteenth cen-
tury by preparing to go to sea. In the summer of 1794 he was
serving as a cabin boy on the Neptune, one of his father's ships,
then on a sealing and trading voyage to the Falkland Islands
and China. He returned to find that his father had contracted
yellow fever on board one of his West Indian vessels, lately ar-
rived in New Haven, and had died, June 23, 1794.4
A major share of the family responsibility was now placed on
the three eldest boys, Horace, E. Phelps, and Henry. Horace's
delicate health, his marriage in June, 1804, and his lack of suc-
cess in business prevented him from being of much aid to the
family; E. Phelps died of yellow fever "in a foreign land."
Although Henry "was left a fatherless boy, dependent upon his
own efforts to aid and sup[p]ort his younger brothers and sis-
ters," his early character-building voyage to China had in real-
ity returned him a "man full of energy." He carried on the
work and spirit of his father by engaging in the shipping trade.
"He made voyages & built ships. In one of these, The Persia,
Mary Austin Holley, Stephen F. Austin (MS.), University of Texas;
Copy of Probate Records, New Haven, Connecticut, Vol. 17, p. 302, in
Henry Austin Papers, University of Texas; Copy of Henry Austin's Will,
Henry Austin Papers.
4Holley, Stephen F. Austin; Old Family Records, Holley Papers.
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Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934, periodical, 1934; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/m1/205/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.