|Death: ||Feb. 27, 1891|
Company A 1st Dakota Cavalry Sgt. This 2 company volunteer cavalry unit served on the Dakota frontier 1862-1865.
ON. HORACE J. AUSTIN, deceased, who was in life one of the foremost citizens of Clay county, as well as South Dakota, was born in Washington county, N. Y., July 11, 1837. When he was two
years of age his parents removed to Essex county, of the same state, and there our subject was reared and grew to manhood, making his home with his parents until the fall of 1857, at which time, in company with Silas N. Palmer, who still resides in Vermillion, and a young man named Dustin, he left the Empire state for the West. The little party first stopped at Dubuque, Iowa, where Mr. Austin soon found employment with a company of surveyors, and there for two years he made his home, when not absent on surveying expeditions. Twice during those two years his business brought him to Dakota territory. On the second trip he concluded to make Dakota his home, and accordingly he took up his residence in Yankton, where he was living when the civil war broke out. He enlisted early in that period of strife, becoming a member of company A, First Dakota cavalry, in 1861, and served his country faithfully and well. For some time the troop of which he was a member was stationed at Vermillion, and after the close of the war he located in that city, and there his death occurred February 27, 1891.
Although our subject was not afforded facilities for obtaining a higher education than was to be had in the district schools of the neighborhood where he resided when a boy, yet, by close observation of what was going on about him, he acquired a fund of general knowledge that was of great benefit to him in later years, and he was well-posted on all current topics of the day. His honesty, integrity and steadfastness of character won him a high place in the hearts of the people, and the esteem and respect in which he was held is attested by the fact that he was six times elected a member of the legislature. During 1868-69 he served as chairman of the council. As a civil engineer he secured government surveying contracts every year from 1866 to his death, and there are few if any counties in the state which do not bear some of his surveying stakes.
March 21, 1870, Mr. Austin was united in wedlock to Miss Rachel M. Ross, a highly accomplished lady and graduate of the Warren high school in Trumbull county, Ohio. Mrs. Austin, who survives her husband, is a native of Trumbull County, Ohio, and was born June 1, 1838, a daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Palm) Ross. The former died in Arkansas, and Mrs. Ross later came to Vermillion, where she also passed from time to eternity January 22, 1876. Mr. Austin had a high conception of what a home should be, and was enabled to carry out these ideas, as his beautiful abode in Vermillion testifies. Home to him was the most sacred place on earth, and there he was always to be found when not away in the discharge of his public duties. Although not blessed with offspring, he took upon himself the care and education of three motherless ones, in whose companionship he delighted and to whom he gladly acted a father's part.
In this world's goods Mr. Austin was greatly prospered, but freely as he received, so, also, freely did he give to the poor and needy. His was a kindly, sympathetic nature. He was the soul of gentility. Bigotry was foreign to one endowed like he was and charity ever abided with him. The principles of diligence and faithfulness were long ago mastered by him and not forgotten to his last day. His name, too, was a synonym of honesty, and in writing to a sister several years prior to his death, he said: "I am being prospered, but this much I can say, I have never taken an unjust penny from any man." In the political history of South Dakota he bore an honorable part, and as a legislator was associated with such men as Moody, Brookings, and a host of other prominent men, and he was peer of all. As a public official he added fidelity to zeal. As a citizen he believed in law and its obeyance. And as a man he was gentle, courteous and obliging. In truth Horace J. Austin was well nigh the embodiment of manhood's ideal. He was a sturdy pioneer, a patient soldier, a faithful legislator, a true citizen, loyal friend, and last but not least, a loving and indulgent husband.
The names of the children reared by Mr. and Mrs. Austin are: Anna Ross, Leroy O. Stevens, and Helen P. Austin. The latter child was adopted and raised from infancy.
Rachel R Austin (1838 - 1904)
Bluff View Cemetery
South Dakota, USA
Created by: Kathy Solem
Record added: Nov 04, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61128334