Austin, Moses (1761–1821)
Moses Austin (1761–1821)
Moses Austin was a famous industrialist. He began the American lead industry.
In the late 1700s, Moses Austin was one of the first to go into the lead business. He soon owned lead mines and factories. Searching for richer lead mines took Austin west. In 1798, he created one of the first Anglo-American settlements on the west side of the Mississippi River. There, he opened new businesses.
When his businesses began to lose money, Austin decided to try to rebuild his fortune in Texas. For years, Austin had been interested in Texas. (At the time, Mexico and Texas were owned by Spain.) In 1820, Austin went to Texas to talk with the Spanish governor. Austin had a plan to bring 300 families into Texas. The families would pay him for his services in setting up a colony.
At first, the governor refused. With the help of friends, however, Austin got his plan approved. But luck turned against him. On the way home to Missouri from Texas, Moses Austin became ill with pneumonia. Just before he died, he asked his wife to give a message to their son Stephen. He asked that Stephen finish what Austin had begun-the creation of an American colony in Texas.
When Stephen Austin rode into Texas to begin his colony, it was Moses Austin’s dream that was coming true.
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