University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Austin Papers:

The Moses and Stephen F. Austin Papers, 1676, 1765-1889.

Descriptive Summary

Creators Austin, Moses and Austin, Stephen F.
Title: Austin Papers
Dates: 1676, 1765-1889
Abstract: The Austin Papers are composed primarily of the collected personal and official records of Moses Austin and Stephen F. Austin, documenting an era in Texas history marked by increased Anglo colonization, strained relations with the Mexican government, the Texas Revolution, and eventually the founding of the Republic of Texas.
Extent: 25 ft., 2 in. Correspondence, notes and lists, diaries, petitions, certificates, maps, field notes and surveys, broadsides, proclamations, inventories, financial and legal papers, land grants and deeds, reports, and newspaper clippings
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Moses Austin (1761-1821) was born October 4, 1761, in Durham Connecticut. He married Mary Brown in 1785 and the couple had five children, including Stephen Fuller Austin. Moses founded his own dry goods company (Moses Austin and Co.) and in 1789 won the Virginia state contract to provide a lead roof for the new capitol building. His innovative business and mining strategies earned Austin credit for founding the lead industry in the United States. Though he amassed a considerable fortune from his lead mining ventures, the failure of the Bank of St. Louis sent Austin into debt. So he devised a plan to colonize Spanish-controlled Texas with Anglo settlers. He travelled to Texas and won the approval of the Spanish governor in 1820, but his health soon failed. Suffering from pneumonia contracted in Texas, Moses Austin died on June 10, 1821. His final wishes were that his son, Stephen, carry on with his plans to colonize Texas.

Stephen Fuller Austin (1793-1836), son of Moses Austin, was born on November 3, 1793, near his father's lead mines in Virginia. Educated in Kentucky, Stephen went to work in his father's business and served in the Missouri state legislature. Stephen and the family suffered a major financial set-back with the failure of the Bank of St. Louis, so he moved from Missouri to Arkansas to speculate in real estate and other business ventures. He was appointed circuit judge in Arkansas but soon decided to study law in New Orleans. While there, he learned of his father's efforts toward Anglo settlement of Texas, and planned to work with his father on this new enterprise. The untimely death of Moses Austin left Stephen to carry on the colonization plan, and in August 1821 he received permission from the Spanish governor to continue the work begun by his father.

Stephen returned to New Orleans and began promoting the new colonies along the Brazos and Colorado Rivers in Texas, with the first settlers streaming into the area in late 1821. Soon thereafter Mexico gained independence from Spain, forcing Austin to travel to Mexico City to salvage his colonial arrangements. The new agreement ushered in the era of the empresario, while Austin spent much of his time coordinating the allotments of land, mapping and surveying the territory. Accused of inciting insurrection among the colonists, Austin was taken prisoner and spent much of the period between 1834 and 1835 in Mexican prisons. Though he generally favored a moderate approach to relations with the Mexican government, Austin returned to Texas and was a leading figure in the revolutionary movement that eventually led to Texas independence from Mexico. Austin served briefly as Secretary of State for the new Republic of Texas, but died soon after his appointment at the age of forty-three.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of the personal and official records of Moses Austin (1761-1821), and his son Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) who carried out his father's plan for the Anglo colonization of Mexican Texas. Included is material related to the history and early peregrinations of the Austin family, especially their years in Missouri; their business activities, including the lead mines, store and banking investments; the pursuit of both men for permission to colonize and Stephen F. Austin's management of the resulting colony; the events leading up to the Texas Revolution and then the Revolution itself; and the first few months of the Republic of Texas. There is also a small cache of later family correspondence on historical topics.

NOTE: The Austin Papers, including detailed calendar and index, have been published in The Austin Papers, 3 volumes, Eugene C. Barker (ed.), Washington: USGPO, 1924-1928.


Organization and Arrangement

Papers are arranged in five series:
[* below refers to the published calendar: The Austin Papers, 3 volumes, Eugene C. Barker (ed.), Washington: USGPO, 1924-1928. ]
Series I represents published papers that are listed in the calendar*.
Series II represents unprinted papers, originals not in the possession of the University.
Series III represents papers not published and not mentioned in the calendar*.
Series IV represents papers that are unpublished but mentioned in the calendar*. (Many of these are published in other places.)
Series V represents miscellaneous copies. The originals may be found in the files marked Austin Papers (H. B. Perry)
NOTE: Typewritten transcripts of many of these materials have been prepared, and precede the originals in the detailed description of the papers.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

The use of select documents is restricted due to fragility. Photocopies are available in their place for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Austin, James Elijah Brown, 1803-1829.
Austin, Moses, 1761-1821.
Austin, Stephen F. (Stephen Fuller), 1793-1836.
Bastrop, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de, 1759-1827.
Borden, Gail, 1801-1874.
Bryan, James, d. 1822.
Dewitt, Green C., 1787-1853.
Edwards, Haden, 1771-1849.
McKinney, Thomas F., 1801-1873.
Mier y Teran, Manuel de, 1789-1832.
Musquiz, Ramon.
Padilla, Juan Antonio, d. 1839.
Perry, James Franklin, 1790-1853.
Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez de, 1794?-1876.
Wharton, William H. (William Harris), 1802-1839.
Williams, Samuel May, 1795-1858.
Zavala, Lorenzo de, 1788-1836.
Emigration and immigration--Texas.
Frontier and pioneer life--Texas.
Indians of North America--Texas.
Land grants--Texas.
Lead mines and mining--Missouri.
Anahuac (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Austin's Colony (Tex.).
Galveston (Tex.)--History--Sources.
San Felipe (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Texas--History--Revolution, 1835-1836.
Texas--History--To 1846.

Related Material

For Stephen F. Austin's calling card and other related material see the Stephen F. Austin Calling Card and the Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry Papers.

For more Austin material see the Stephen F. Austin Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The Austin Papers, 1676, 1765-1889, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

NOTE: Collection is alternately referred to as "The Stephen F. Austin Papers" or "The Moses and Stephen F. Austin Papers."

Processing Information

Subsequent revisions were made by Megan Mummey, July 2009.

Detailed Description of the Papers


Typewritten transcripts:

2Q407 Series I:
Vol. I, part 1, 1765-1812
Vol. I, part 2, 1812-1820
Vol. I, part 3, 1821-1822
2Q408 Vol. I, part 4, 1823
Vol. I, part 5, January-June, 1824
Vol. I, part 6, July-December, 1824
Vol. II, part 1, 1825
2Q409 Vol. II, part 2, January-June, 1826
Vol. II, part 3, July-December, 1826
Vol. II, part 4, 1827
Vol. II, 1828
2Q410 Vol. II, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832
2Q411 Vol. II, 1833-1834
Vol. III, October 1834 - September 1835, October 1835 - January 1836, 1836-1837
2Q412 Series II:
Part 1, 1794-1817
Part 2, 1818-1847
Part 3, letters to Schoolcraft, 1819
Series III:
1775-1814, 1822-1824
2Q406 1814-1821
2Q413 1825, 1826, 1829, 1830, 1831-1834
2Q414 1835, 1836, 1837-1889, undated
2Q415 Series IV:
1825-1827, 1828-1829, 1830, 1831-1834, 1834-1835
2Q416 1834-1835, 1836
Series V:
1792-1801, 1802-1810, 1811-1838
2Q406 1792-1801, 1811-1838
(Copy 2)
2A104 Field Notes Vol. I [Photostats], books 1-14
Field Notes Vol. II [Photostats], books 15,17-46
Field Notes Vol. III [Photostats], books 49-126
Field Notes [Photostats], unpublished
Field Notes [Photostats], not indexed
Field Notes Vol. IV [Photostats], books 127-149, 151-152, 154-160
2Q406 Letters from the Henry R. Schoolcraft Papers [originals held at the Smithsonian], 1819-1820, 1848
Henry Austin Letters and Will, [Copied from "Life and Letters of Henry Austin, 1782-1853," by William Ransom Hogan, 1954] 1806-1846, April 26, 1851


Original materials:

2.325/OD19 A List of Titles Made under the First Contract with the Mexican Nation for Settling 300 Families by Stephen F. Austin, [original RESTRICTED for preservation, but facsimile available at this same location] 1824 and 1827
3H249 Inventories compiled by Guy M. Bryan
Commonplace book, 1791
2A147 Series I:
2A148 1811 - October 1821
2A149 November 1821 - 1822
Project for a Constitution for the Republic of Mexico, March 1823
Memorandum kept by S.F. Austin, relative to his enterprise to settle a colony of North Americans in Texas – for the information of my brother J.E.B. Austin
2A150 January 1823 - April 1824
2A151 May 1824 - November 1824
2A152 December 1824 - July 1825
2A153 August 1825 - August 1826
2A154 September 1826 - May 1827
2A155 June 1827 - December 1828
2A156 January 1829 - May 1830
3H249 Ledger and diary of James F. Perry’s journey to inspect Austin’s Colony, 1830
2A157 June 1830 - April 1831
Memorial to the Convention of 1833
2A158 May 1831 - December 1832
2.325/OD19 Austin’s prison diary [original RESTRICTED for preservation, please use service photocopy in 2.325/N32a]
2.325/N32a Austin’s prison diary [service photocopy for reading room use]
2A159 January 1833 - September 1835
2A160 October 1835 - June 1836
2A161 July 1836 - January 1837
Series II
Series III
Series IV:
2A162 1802-1811
2A163 1812-1818
2A164 1819 - August 1824 and fragments
2A165 September 1824 - June 1828
2A166 July 1828 - April 1830
2A167 May 1830 - September 1832
2A168 October 1832 - June 1835
3H232 July 1835 - December 1835
3H233 January 1836 - August 1837
3H234 September 1837 - 1889
3H235 Undated
3H249 Reminiscences of Early Texans, J.H. Kuykendall, 1857
3H235 Series V:
General, 1676-1776, 1790-1819
3H236 Business and account papers, 1795-1806
3H237 Business and account papers, 1795-1806
3H238 Business and account papers, 1808-1812
3H239 Business and account papers, 1813-1817
3H240 Business and account papers, 1818-1856, undated
3H249 Account of Austin, Archer, and Wharton, Commissioners to the United States, 1836
3H241 Business and account papers, undated
3H247a Notes, bills and receipts, 1796-1812
3H247b Notes, bills and receipts, 1813 - June 1830
3H247c Notes, bills and receipts, July 1830 - 1833, undated
3H241 Field Notes, 1-37
Map fragments, unidentified
List of Colonists
3H242 List of Colonists
Field Notes, books 38-126
Field Notes
3H249 Ledger and diary of Stephen F. Austin, 1818-1821
Memorandum Book of Stephen Samuel Perry, undated
Diary of William Joel Bryan, 1853
2.325/OD19 A List of Titles Made under the First Contract with the Mexican Nation for Settling 300 Families by Stephen F. Austin, 1824 and 1827
2.325/V8 Oversize material:
Loan contract to government of Texas, [1836?]
Survey and field notes of 555 acre tract for Stephen F. Austin on Cany Creek, undated
Abstract of titles for land made to and from Stephen F. Austin and J.B. Austin at San Felipe, undated
Two newspaper clippings, Galveston, 1842
2AA2 "Headings for Classification of Texas Historical Matter" (removed from daybook: Col. Guy M. Bryan, classification by C. W. Raines, ) 1899
Letter, Moses Austin to his son J.E.B. Austin, February 23, 1820
List of notes received of Stephen F. Austin, 1832
House plans, description, and typescript of explanatory notes by Stephen F. Austin, 1831, undated
Blueprints of house plans, 1831
Memorandum of agreement, Moses Austin and Andrew Dinwiddy, concerning mining, December 25, 1811
Notice of land auction, Missouri[?], Moses Austin, February 26, 1819
Letter to and account of Moses Austin with Thomas Hockley, 1801
MS. General Council of Provisional Government Decree states commissioner’s duties, December 5, 1835
Muster roll of Capt. R. Jones Company, October 10, 1835
Copy of letter to Manuel de Mier y Teran from Lucas Alaman, concerning the law of April 6, 1830
J. Dawkin’s account with Moses Austin, 1810-1814
Shipper’s export manifest, 1834
Moses Austin in account with Robert Collet, July 16, 1817
Memorandum of agreement, Moses Austin, Parsons Bates, and Thomas Narvell, April 20, 1796
Draft of notice to colonists from Stephen F. Austin, November 1829 Amendments to the judiciary bill, [1816?]
John Rice Jones in account general with Moses Austin and Co., 1798-1812
Number of sales, April 23, 1812
Amiable Mason in account with Moses Austin and Co., 1807-1809
Field notes of William Cooper’s tract on Peach Creek, undated
George Lauman in account with Moses Austin and Co., March 16, 1795
Memorandum to James Bryan from Moses Austin, [1819?]
Fragment of letter from Stephen F. Austin [?] to James Perry [?] , while a prisoner in Mexico, May 10, 1834
Account papers, undated
List of notes received from the settlers, [1828?]
List of deeds, Austin’s Colonies, 1825
Letter to Don Carlos Dehault from Moses Austin, February 5, 1800
Moses Austin in account with Aaron Eliott, October 25, 1807
Moses Austin’s oath of allegiance to the Louisiana Territory, September 11, 1807
Muster Roll of Hugh B. Johnston’s Company, February 17, 1827
Stephen F. Austin in account with Perry and Hunter, 1832
Perry and Sommerville bought of Victor David, December 9, 1833
Stephen F. Austin’s passport to Mexico, July 15, 1835
George Fisher in account current with James Miller, October 31, 1810
“State of Texas, Special Mission of Austin, Archer, and Wharton,” January 21 and 22, 1806
Perry and Hunter bought of Rufus Shamb and Co., April 6, 1830
Perry and Hunter bought of J. and M. Brown and M.D. Lewis, October 7, 1830
Perry and Hunter bill of sale, October 16, 1830
Appointment of William Wharton as Plenipotentiary from Texas to the Unites States, November 18, 1836
Daniel Phelps in account with Moses Austin and Co., 1805-1806
2AA3 Robert Wescott in account with Moses Austin and Co., November 14, 1805
Account sheet “Amount of Debt…” February 5, 1806
Account sheet beginning “Amount brought over…” April 14, 1806
Lead account, Moses Austin, 1806
John Butler in account with Moses Austin and Co., 1809-1811
Moses Austin in account with Amos and C.L. Bird, August 27, 1815
Letter, Benjamin Johnson, Esq. to Moses Austin and Co., October 15, 1810
John Paul in account with Moses Austin, December 26, 1812
Moses Austin in account with Van Peters, April 24, 1815
Moses Austin in account with John Sugar, July 5, 1817
Moses Austin in account with Perkins and Drips, October 31, 1817
Timothy Wilkins in account with Moses Austin and Co., August 5, 1819
Property sold, undated
Benjamin Johnson in account with Moses Austin, March 4, 1802
John Rice Jones' Account with Moses Austin, undated
Moses Austin in Account with Thomas Hockley, October 1, 1801
Charter of the Milam Fur Trading and Land Co., undated
[T.V.] Alley Statement, undated
Bond from Missouri involving Elias Bates, January 27, 1820
Abia Brown’s Account of Credit to E. Sharp, undated
Document in Spanish addressed to SFA from Vicente Guerrero, March 20, 1825
List Grantees who received titles under Robert Peebles, 1836
Inventory from A. Baines to Moses and James Austin, undated
Moses Austin in account with Robert Collet, 1817
James Bryan in account with Bryan and Morrison, April 23, 1814
Copy of Col. William Ashley's Account with Moses Austin, 1813
Account of Lead and Shell received and delivered to Moses Austin, 1807
Account of David Strickland with Moses Austin, 1805
Inventory of General Land Office of Houston - Archives received from Austin's Colony, October 15, 1837
List of private transfers, undated
Letter to James Perry from Capt. H. Austin, October 6, 1837
Bill from Gill Ferguson and Co. to Perry and Hunter, October 8, 1851
Account Sheet, undated
Bill of Perry and Hunter with C. McMain and Co., October 8, 1831
Letter from Stephen F. Austin to Peter Grayson, undated
Letter from Stephen F. Austin to the Department of State, December 16, 1836
Letter from Stephen F. Austin to William Wharton, December 10, 1836
Letter to Stephen F. Austin, Branch T. Archer, William H. Wharton from Charles Stewart and Henry Smith, December 8, 1835
Letter to Stephen F. Austin from Manuel de Mier y Teran, March 1830
Balance Sheet, 1803-1804
Observations on the Account of Stephen Austin against Moses Austin, and Co., June 1802
Moses Austin and Co. in Account current with Stephen Austin, undated
Receipt for land in Virginia from Moses and Maria Austin, July 18, 1797
Letter to Moses Austin from brother's colleague Thomas Buston, concerning a land purchase, June 29, 1794
Letter from SFA to James Perry, giving general news about the struggle in Texas, March 4, 1836
Letter to Stephen F. Austin from William Bryan, concerning Mexican movements, June 20, 1836
Letter to Stephen F. Austin from Elisha Roberts, November 8, 1827
Letter to Stephen F. Austin from J.C. Blair, March 20, 1826
Three copies of a memorial from Stephen F. Austin to the Mexican Congress on the subject of the port of Galveston, November 6, 1824
Petition to Government from Stephen F. Austin to establish 2000 more families in Texas, October 1, 1824
Microfilm 828.42 Microfilm:
J.B. Austin account book, daily transactions at San Felipe de Austin, 1825-1843
(Master Negative)