A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 04, 2008
Father of Texas (Stephen F. Austin); Father of Texas Day (Nov. 3)

The “father of Texas” is Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) and “Father of Texas Day” is his November 3rd birthday. Austin helped bring people to the city of Waterloo—later renamed Austin and made the capital of Texas. The honor of “father of Texas” was bestowed on Austin by at least 1844.

“Father of Texas Day” has been recognized since 1932. Jane Long (known as the “mother of Texas”) knew Stephen F. Austin briefly near the end of his life.


Wikipedia: Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin (November 3, 1793 – December 27, 1836), known as the “Father of Texas” led the second and ultimately successful colonization of the region by the United States. The capital city, Austin, Texas, Austin County, Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, Austin College in Sherman, Texas, as well as a number of K-12 schools are named in his honor.

About.com: Austin
Stephen F. Austin
from Jacci Howard Bear
Known as the Father of Texas and the Founder of Anglo-American Texas, the settlement of Waterloo on the banks of the Colorado River was renamed in honor of Stephen F. Austin and became the capital of the State of Texas. Although he came to Texas somewhat reluctantly himself, Austin was instrumental in persuading others to come to the Texas frontier and he worked diligently with the Mexican government to make it happen.

He died young but did live long enough to see his adopted home become an independent Republic. Austin’s full name was Stephen Fuller Austin.

PBS - The West - Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin
(1793-1836)
Known as “The Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin established the first Anglo-American colony in the Tejas province of Mexico and saw it grow into an independent republic.

Austin was born in southwestern Virginia, but his family moved to Missouri when he was five years old. After four years of schooling at Yale College, he returned to Missouri, where he had a mixed career as a storekeeper, manager of the family lead mining business, and director of a failed bank. He served as a militia officer and was a member of the Missouri territorial legislature from 1814 to 1820. In 1820, Arkansas’ governor appointed him as a circuit judge.

It was Austin’s father, Moses Austin, who took the first steps toward establishing an American colony in Mexican Tejas. In 1820, he traveled to San Antonio to petition for a land grant, and in 1821 received approval to settle 300 American families on 200,000 acres. But Moses Austin died before completing his plans and responsibility for establishing the colony fell to Stephen.

Austin selected a site on the lower Colorado and Brazos rivers, and settled his colonists there in January 1822. Almost at once he faced opposition from the newly independent Mexican government, which refused to recognize his father’s land grant since it had been made under Spanish charter. Austin traveled to Mexico City to correct this situation, and using skillful diplomacy secured a new law confirming his right to colonize the land and designating him as the new colony’s empresario or administrative authority.

Austin occupied a complex and difficult position as intermediary between his colonists and the Mexican government. In his role as empresario, he was responsible for controlling immigration into the region, for establishing a judicial and law-enforcement system, for allocating land according to accurate surveys, and for supervising the creation of a basic social infrastructure—including roads, schools, sawmills, and granaries. He was also a general ombudsman to the Mexican government for the colonists’ interests. In 1827, for example, he lobbied successfully against the banning of slavery in Texas, even though it had been illegal in Mexico since 1824.

Despite growing friction between the American immigrants and the Mexican government, Austin continued to believe that most disputes could be worked out within the Mexican system. Accordingly, he sought to ally himself with Mexican liberals seeking a limited but efficient government and the separation of church and state. His efforts to work out problems within the Mexican system, however, would ultimately proved futile.

In 1830, Mexican officials passed a law prohibiting further American immigration into Tejas, hoping in this way to limit American influence over the region. Austin found a loophole that allowed him to continue expanding his colony, but the law stirred resentment among his colonists, who began calling for a separate state government in Tejas, which was then under the jurisdiction of the neighboring state of Coahuila. Against Austin’s advice, they framed a constitution for the proposed state of Texas at the San Felipe Convention in 1833, and had Austin carry it to Mexico City, along with a list of demands for redress of grievances.

Austin had mixed success with the Mexican government. President Antonio López de Santa Anna agreed to repeal the 1830 law against further American immigration, but he refused to grant the request for statehood. He also had Austin imprisoned for a time on suspicion of inciting an insurrection.

Even after his release in July 1835, Austin still thought an alliance with Mexican liberals was the best option for Americans in Texas, but the outbreak of the Texas Revolution at Gonzales on October 1, 1835 left him little choice but to support the drive for independence. He took command of the attack on Mexican troops led by Juan Sequin at San Antonio, and then in late 1835 began to act as commissioner to the United States, traveling to Washington to seek military support and the eventual annexation of Texas by the United States. He also sought to rally public support for Texas in speeches delivered along his route.

Austin’s efforts in Washington proved unsuccessful, however, and he returned to Texas in June 1836, shortly after the Texas War for Independence had been won at San Jacinto. In the fall, he was defeated in a bid for the presidency by Sam Houston, but he served as secretary of state until his death on December 27, 1836.

Texas Government Code - Holidays and Recognition Days, Weeks, and Months
§ 662.045.  FATHER OF TEXAS DAY. 
(a) November 3 is Father of Texas Day in memory of Stephen F. Austin, the great pioneer patriot and the real and true Father of Texas
(b) Father of Texas Day shall be regularly observed by appropriate and patriotic programs in the public schools and other places to properly commemorate the birthday of Stephen F. Austin and to inspire a greater love for this beloved state.
Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

14 April 1844, Macon (GA) , pg. 2:
Gen Houston for some reason or other—some say because it did not bear his name, instead of that of the “Father of Texas”—was never partial to Austin, and as soon as he could possibly effect it, deranged the condition of the whole west by convening Congress at Houston, and afterwards at Washington on the Brazos.

23 August 1844, Guernsey Jeffersonian (Washington, OH), pg. 1, col. 3:
HOLLEY is a citizen of the United States and a blood relation of Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas.

24 August 1849, Alton (IL) Telegraph, pg. 1, col. 5:
Austin himself had forbidden such persons to settle on his ground, and the colonial law passed by him, was most strict, prohibiting any asylum to refugees, and all persons rendered infamous by felonies, of whatever description they might be—a law which the father of Texas enforced with the utmost rigor.

OCLC WorldCat reocrd
Stephen F. Austin : Father of Texas
by James T DeShields
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Dallas, Texas : Published monthly by the Home and State Company, [1907]

OCLC WorldCat record
Stephen Fuller Austin, father of Texas. A biographical sketch
by Claudia Mae Hagy
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Wytheville, Va., Southern Magazine [193-?]

3 November 1932, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Father of Texas Day Observance Is Urged,” section 1, pg. 7:
Study of the patriotic sacrifices made by Stephen F. Austin is urged on all Texans on his birthday, Thursday, Nov. 3, which has been designated Father of Texas Day in a Governor’s proclamation.

9 March 1933, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Father of Texas Day Set,” section 1, pg. 3:
AUSTIN, Texas, March 8.—A bill by John W. Hornsby designating Nov. 3 as Father of Texas Day, in memory of Stephen F. Austin, and requiring school exercises commemorating his birth anniversary was passed Wednesday by the Senate.

25 August 1933, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “The State Press,” section 2, pg. 4:
FATHER OF TEXAS.
Pampa News: The Legislature also created Father of Texas Day, which will be observed Nov. 3 with appropriate exercises in honor of Stephen F. Austin. It will not be a legal holiday.

Nov. 3 is the birthday of Stephen F. Austin, whose memory is thus belatedly recognized. The little man from Missouri became a big man in Texas when the mammoth proportion of the results of his accomplishments are considered. Yet he visioned himself as no forerunner of empire. Life had dealt hardly with Stephen Austin when at 27, with considerable foreboding, he undertook to make real the colonization scheme of his father, Moses Austin. At that time Austin himself might have considered that he had gotten nowhere. Actually fate in buffeting him about had tempered him for the task that lay ahead. Austin himself was to derive no worldly advantage from his leadership and to suffer much in the service to which he had dedicated himself. But what he did survives as a measure of fame accorded to few. “Father of Texas Day” has been long in coming.

OCLC WorldCat record
The father of Texas
by Eugene Campbell Barker
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill [©1935]
Related Subjects: Austin, Stephen F. | Texas—History—To 1846. 

OCLC WorldCat record
Following Stephen F. Austin : father of Texas
by Bernhardt Wall
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Limerock, Conn. : Wall, ©1936.

OCLC WorldCat record
Stephen F. Austin, Father of Texas
by Carleton Beals
Type: Book; English
Publisher: New York, McGraw-Hill [1953]

OCLC WorldCat record
The father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin
by Mallie Phegley
Type: Book; English
Publisher: San Antonio, Naylor, 1960

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 04, 2008 • Permalink