Austin, Stephen (Fuller)(1793–1836) Texas colonist; born in Wythe County, Va. (son of Moses Austin). After varied work experiences in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where he also studied law, he founded the first legal settlement of Anglo-Americans in Texas (1822). He went to Mexico City to reconfirm his father's land grant and returned with almost dictatorial powers. He fixed the land system, mapped and charted the province, and encouraged a steady flow of immigrants from the U.S.A. He originally opposed separation from Mexico, but he was imprisoned by Mexican authorities (1834–35) after he attempted to change Texas' status within the Mexican confederation. Freed without a trial, he participated in the Texas Revolution and sought support from the U.S.A. He lost the election for president of the Texas Republic to Sam Houston but served briefly as its secretary of state.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.