Heritage, Volume 11, Number 3, Summer 1993 Page: 20
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State Prepares For
Texas communities, universities, schools, and civic organizations
are actively preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of
Stephen F. Austin's birth this year. Austin, recognized long ago
by his contemporary and political rival Sam Houston as the true
Father of Texas, was born on November 3, 1793. His father
Moses Austin secured a grant of land from New Spain in 1821
along with permission to settle 300 Americans within its boundaries.
Moses died shortly thereafter but not without first requesting
that his son Stephen carry on his work - a request that the
young Austin respected and carried out.
In that same year the first 18 of Austin's authorized settlers
landed at the mouth of the Brazos River expecting to meet
Stephen and begin settlement of the Austin Colony. They were
supposed to have landed at the Colorado where Stephen awaited
them but mistook the Brazos for the site. Nevertheless, that
landing marks the beginnings of Anglo Texas and developments
that would, by 1848, gain for the United States the remainder of
its continental empire.
One historian has written that "Of all men who have figured
in American history there are no other two who have attracted
so little attention from their contemporaries and have yet done
things of such vast and manifest importance, as Moses Austin
and his son Stephen. Their great work consisted in the making
of Anglo-American Texas, an enterprise planned and begun by
the one and carried into execution by the other."
He went on to write, "We scarcely need to be reminded of the
series of mighty effects, increasing in geometrical ratio in magnitude
and historical significance, that followed directly therefrom.
Thus it runs: The Texan Revolution, the annexation of
Texas, the Mexican War [ 1846-1848], and the acquisition of the
Southwest below the forty-second parallel from the Rio Grande
to the Pacific -a territory almost equal in extent to the
Louisiana Purchase...How far and in what way all this has
permanently affected our national life, it would take volumes to
tell; but the profound and far-reaching nature of the influences
set in operation by the Austins is evident."
Now, 200 years after his birth, Texas celebrates what Stephen
F. Austin gave to them. It can hardly be lost even to the most
casual observer that Texas has had and will continue to have a
profound effect on global events.
The Texas Legislature created, in November 1992, the Stephen
F. Austin Bicentennial Commission. The Commission's charge
is to urge Texans to recognize the contributions of the Father of
Texas on the occasion of his 200th birthday. A wide variety of
activities have been endorsed by the Commission; they are all
open to the public.
One of the premier events in the celebration will occur during
the weekend of October30 and 31. The Brazoria County Historical
Museum in Angleton will officially open its Austin Colony
Exhibit. Soon to be installed in the now-renovated 1897 Brazoria
County Courthouse, this will be the first-ever, fully-definitive
Stephen F. Austin photograph courtesy of the San Jacinto Museum of History
Association. This is a copy of a painting alleged to have been made by George
Catlin. Copy by the late Houston artist Robert Joy. Editor's note: This pho.
tograph has been flopped; in the original painting, Austin faces right.
20 HERITAGE * SUMMER 1993
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 11, Number 3, Summer 1993, periodical, Summer 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45416/m1/20/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.