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Moses Austin is Born

Today in Masonic history Moses Austin is born in 1761.

Moses Austin was a leader in the American Lead industry and secured a land grant from the Spanish Government.

Austin tried to start his own mining business in southwest Virgina in 1789. Two years later, along with his brother, he would find a suitable location for the mine. A small town cropped up around the mine to support the raw materials coming out of the mine and the miners. Unfortunately Austin and his brother incurred a large amount of debt and he was forced to flee the area to avoid jail. At that time English law was still used and being in debt could get you put in prison.

Austin fled to what would one day be Missouri and upper Louisiana which was controlled by Spain. Still looking to get into the mining business he surveyed many mines and areas. In 1798 he was given a land grant by the Spanish Government in exchange for his declaration of allegiance to Spanish Crown.

In 1803 Missouri would fall under United Stated control after the Louisianan Purchase. Austin would become the principle stock holder in the Bank of St. Louis. The Panic of 1819, the first financial collapse of the United States, caused the bank to fail and once again Austin found himself broke.

Austin turned turned again to the Spanish to remake his fortune. He traveled to Spanish controlled Texas and sought another land grant. This time to create an Anglo-American colony in the region. The regional governor initially refused his request. Austin was able to enlist the aid of a former Spanish Ally, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, who was able to convince the Governor to allow the land grant and the colonization.

Austin planned to colonize the area with 300 families. Unfortunately on his return to Missouri he died of pneumonia. Austin's son Stephen would take up his fathers cause and would lead the colonization of the land granted to his father.