Austin was born in Austinville, Virginia (near the historic town of Lexington, VA), where his father had a lead mine.
I have written about the Father of Texas several times, so you can easily read in the blog archives about his father Moses and how they became Texas Empresarios, how Stephen was reluctant to take over his father’s dream, but capably founded his original colony at San Felipe just the same.
Last summer, though, I gained insight into the Austin family–who they were and why they came to Texas.
I got to travel through Virginia, and I saw firsthand the place where Stephen F. Austin was born. Austinville is one of the most pleasant places you could hope to visit!
(Is it a coincidence that he and Sam Houston were both born within a short distance of each other? Houston’s birthplace is literally right up the road!)
The Austin home site is now a memorial park, commemorated with a lovely plaque where the cabin once stood.
The cabin was a stone’s throw from the banks of the New River, nestled between rolling hills and reflecting the clouds on its calm surface.
Papa Moses’ lead mines were about a mile upstream, and the colors in the rocks of that area bear testimony to their mineral content.
It’s such a pretty place that if I were Moses Austin, I’m not sure I would ever have left! But starting a business is hard. There are factors no man can control, and growing families need to eat regularly. I imagine Moses Austin was a man who was willing to take risks when he thought there was a chance of doing better for his family. And his son, Stephen, was dedicated to carrying out his father’s wishes–so much so that he never got around to fulfilling his own…or maybe he did. Whatever his own hopes once were, perhaps he, too, saw the potential in Texas and gladly assumed the personal risks that would help hundreds of other families have a chance to live better.