Austinville, Virginia

The Birthplace Of Stephen Fuller Austin – Founder Of The Texas Rangers And The First Commander Of The Texas Military Forces During The Texas Revolution

In 1836, this was the engraving that was created of Stephen Fuller Austin.

On November 3, 1793, Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Wythe County, Virginia, in an area that would be later named Austinville. As Stephen grew up, father and uncle operated the lead mines within Wythe County. On September 16th 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, launched the Mexican War of Independence after publishing the “Grito de Dolores”, also known as the “Cry of Dolores”. On August 1821, after eleven years of war, Spaniard Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which approved a plan to make Mexico an independent constitutional monarchy.

Painting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

In 1821, at a period after the end of Spanish rule in Mexico, Stephen Fuller Austin brought 300 families to the Spanish province within Texas. In 1823, due to the lack of military forces to protect the American colonists, Austin decided to create the policing force called, “Texas Rangers”. During the course of the Texas Revolution Stephen Fuller Austin became the first commander of the Texan military forces. After Texas won its independence, Sam Houston was elected to be the first President of the Republic of Texas and he nominated Stephen Fuller Austin to be the first Secretary of State for the new nation. However, two months after obtaining that appointment, Secretary Austin caught a severe cold and passed away.

Two decades ago, private donors from Texas and Wythe County, Virginia financed the creation of a monument dedicated to Stephen Fuller Austin, at the site of the former cabin that he was born in. Three miles from the Stephen Fuller Austin Memorial Park, the Fincastle Resolutions was signed by American Revolutionaries, which influenced the tenants of Thomas Jefferson’s drafts of the Declaration of Independence.

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