Texas Almanac, 1956-1957 Page: 55
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HISTORY OF TEXAS 55
ten. Capital of the new state was at San
The Republican Army of the North fi-
nally met defeat at the Battle of Medina
on the Medina River, southwest of San
Antonio, Aug. 18, 1813, in an extraordi-
narily bloody conflict in which most of
the thousand or more members of the
expedition were massacred by the royalist
forces under General Arredondo.
Dr. James Long of Natchez, Miss., led
an expedition into Texas in 1819 and cap-
tured Nacogdoches. His forces were de-
feated, however, while he was at Galves-
ton seeking the aid of the pirate, Jean
Lafitte. He lead a second expedition in
1821, from Point Bolivar, near Galveston,
capturing Goliad, but was later defeated
and captured. He was killed after having
been sent to Mexico as a prisoner and
paroled. His followers were later re-
Long was undoubtedly motivated by a
sincere desire to free Texas from Spain,
even though he sought the aid of some
desperate characters of that time. Mrs.
James (Jane Herbert Wilkinson) Long
worked valiantly for her husband's cause.
A marker erected by the Centennial Con-
trol Commission at her old home near
Richmond, Texas, proclaims her the "pio-
neer of Anglo-American women in Tex-
as." She is sometimes referred to as the
Mother of Texas.
During this period of failing Spanish
rule, the Texas Gulf Coast, notably Gal-
veston Island, became the harbor of pir-
ates. Luis Aury, who, like Gutierrez, had
been an adherent of Hidalgo, established
himself at Galveston Island and did a
successful privateering business in 1816,
eventually sailing away on an expedition
against Spain in Mexico, where he met
He was succeeded by Jean Lafitte (also
spelled Laffite and La Fitte by some his-
torians) who had operated his ships prior
to the War of 1812 out of headquarters
off the mouth of the Mississippi. Lafitte's
enterprise at Galveston thrived from 1817
until 1821, privateering against the Span-
ish commerce in the Gulf. In 1821, how-
ever, some of his men attacked vessels
flying the flag of the United States and
his Galveston base was closed by the
United States Navy.
Only three outposts of civilization lay
in the wilderness between Rio Grande
and Sabine in 1821, three hundred years
after white man first set foot on Texas
soil. They were San Antonio, Goliad and
Nacogdoches. The white population was
not more than 7,000 and it had declined
during the preceding thirty years.
Even among the few white people, civil
authority was uncertain. The Texas seat
of government at San Antonio was sepa-
rated from Mexico City by a wide wilder-
ness. A few Anglo-Americans were fil-
tering into Texas from the East, most of
whom were adventurers. Just east of the
Lower Sabine lay the Neutral Ground
with neither United States nor Spanish
*New Orleans is also called the Mother of Texas.
Through this port went most of the trade and
travel between Texas and the United States.
sovereignty definitely established, a home
for desperate characters.
Moses Austin Visits Texas.
At this point the destiny of Texas piv-
oted on the decision of a single man.
Moses Austin of Missouri, native of Con-
necticut, who had been interested in lead
mining in Virginia and Missouri, came
upon hard times and decided to cast his
lot with Texas. He traveled from his
home in Missouri in 1820 to San Antonio
to seek permission to establish a colony
of Americans in Texas.
At San Antonio, through the interces-
sion of Baron de Bastrop, he was per-
mitted to file a formal application with
the viceroy of Mexico. He returned to
Missouri overland, dying from hardships
suffered during the trip soon after reach-
ing his home, but his dying request was
that his son, Stephen F. Austin, carry out
his plans for establishing the Texas col-
ony. Austin had received word just be-
fore his death that his request of the
Spanish Government had been granted.
A native of Virginia, Stephen F. Austin
had received a college education and had
joined his father in the frontier territory
of Missouri. At the time of his father's
death he was in New Orleans studying
law. Stephen F. Austin traveled to San
Antonio over the upper road and came to
an agreement with Governor Martinez
relative to the establishment of the col-
ony. This was in August, 1821, and Aus-
tin was in his twenty-eighth year. On his
return trip to the United States he made
a detour through the territory lying be-
tween the Colorado and Brazos below the
San Antonio Road and chose this area as
the site of his colony.
He had been given permission to settle
300 families and the terms were that
"each head of a family and each single
than would be granted 640 acres with 320
additional acres allowed for a wife and
160 acres for each child and 80 acres for
each slave." Austin was to receive 12 c
an acre from each settler, with which he
was to attend to the details of surveying,
perfecting titles and advertising the en-
terprise in the United States. First set-
tlements were made late in 1821 at Co-
lumbus on the Colorado and Washington-
At this point, Mexico established its in-
dependence of Spain, and Austin jour-
neyed to Mexico City where he succeeded
in getting new confirmation of his grant,
despite the conflict and confusion pre-
Under the new law the government
contracted with empresarios or agents for
the introduction of families. Under the
law the empresario could obtain grants
on contracts for introducing no fewer
than 200 families of colonists. He Was
given wide authority over his colonists in
the matters of establishing commercial
centers, maintenance of militia and ad-
ministering justice. It was this empre-
sario system under which the coloniza-
tion of Texas made extraordinary strides
during the next decade.
Austin's colony grew rapidly and San
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Texas Almanac, 1956-1957, book, 1955; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117138/m1/57/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.