Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin, born in Austinville, Va., November 3, 1793, died December 27, 1836,
Often referred to as the Father of Texas, for the hundreds of families he brought into this state due to the relatively poor economic conditions in the United States at the time, Stephen F. Austin was very successful in recruiting families to move to Texas. On the death (1821) of his father, Moses Austin, he took over a grant to bring U.S. settlers into Spanish Texas. Under the terms of a special act in 1824 and additional contracts in 1825, 1827, and 1828--all granted by the newly independent Mexican government--the colonizer was responsible for the settlement of more than 1,200 American families in Mexican Texas.
In 1835, following a period of imprisonment in Mexico City, Austin urged Texans to join federalists in Mexico in revolt against the centralist dictatorship of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. During the Texas Revolution (1835-36), Austin briefly commanded Texas volunteers and then went to the United States to gain support for the Texan cause. He served as secretary of state of the republic.