Texas President. When he was seven years old the family moved from his father's lead mines in Virginia to southeastern Missouri. He was educated in Connecticut and at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. After returning to Missouri he gradually assumed management of his father's lead business while holding military and public positions in Missouri and Arkansas. He subsequently studied law in New Orleans. He reached San Antonio, Texas late in 1821 after his father's death. His father had been given 200,000 acres and Stephen was among the first to colonize the Spanish grant. He expanded and wholly managed the colony, becoming the most successful of all the ‘empresarios' as those who contracted to settle colonies were called. He was responsible for building a sound legal base for his settlement, as well as the continued introduction of slaves. At first he was loyal to Mexico and desirous of his colony remaining apart from political turmoil that was wracking the country believing Texas could become an independent state within the Mexican commonwealth. He sought to thwart the ambition of his people to annex to the United States. Against his better judgment he went to Mexico City with a petition requesting the creation of an independent state government for Texas. He was placed in jail and upon his release he returned to Texas in time to participate in the revolution. He served initially as commander of the region's volunteer army. He then journeyed to the United States to garner support for their efforts. He returned to Texas in June of 1836, after the fighting had all but ceased. He was defeated by Sam Houston for election as the president of the new republic. Houston appointed him to be Secretary of State, but he would only serve for two months before he died. The original capital of Texas was known as Columbia, now West Columbia, and it was there that Austin caught a severe cold and died from pneumonia. Upon hearing of Austin's death, Houston ordered an official statement proclaiming: "The Father of Texas is no more; the first pioneer of the wilderness has departed." His body was taken by wagon from Columbia and was put on a boat on the Brazos River and taken to the Gulf Prairie Cemetery in Jones Creek, Texas. In 1910 his remains were removed and taken to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
Bio by: Tom Todd