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The Old Three Hundred is a term used to describe the 297 grantees, made up of families and some partnerships of unmarried men, who purchased 307 parcels of land from Stephen Fuller Austin and established a colony in present day Brazoria County in southeast Texas.

Contents

History

In 1820, Moses Austin, an American businessman who had taken Spanish citizenship in order to start a small colony in Missouri, travelled to San Antonio de Bexar to request an empresarial grant in Spanish Texas. The governor, Antonio María Martínez, refused to listen to Austin's proposal and ordered him to leave the territory immediately. While departing, Austin encountered an acquaintance he had met years earlier at an inn in Spanish Missouri, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop. Bastrop listened to Austin's plan, and, using his influence, persuaded the governor to approve the request.[1] Austin's plan was approved, and in January 1821 he left for Missouri with a grant to bring 300 colonists into Texas. On his way home he was attacked by highwaymen and badly beaten. Soon after he made his way back to Missouri, Austin died, leaving his empresarial grant to his son, Stephen Fuller Austin.[2]

Stephen Austin agreed to implement his father's plan, and in the summer of 1821 he and a small group of settlers crossed into Texas. Before he arrived in San Antonio to meet with the governor, they learned that Mexico had earned its independence from Spain, making Texas a Mexican province rather than a Spanish province. Governor Martinez assured him, however, that the new Mexican government would honor the colonization contract.[3]

Austin returned to Louisiana to recruit settlers. He offered land at 12.5 cents per acre, only 10% of what comparable acreage sold for in the United States. Settlers would pay no customs duties for seven years and would not be subject to taxation for ten years. In return, they would be expected to become Mexican citizens.[4]

In March 1822, Austin learned that the new Mexican government had not ratified his father's land grant with Spain. He was forced to travel to Mexico City, 1,200 miles (1,931 km) away, to get permission for his colony.[5]

The 1823 Imperial Colonization Law of Mexico allowed an empresario to receive a land grant within the Mexican province of Texas. The empresario and a commissioner appointed by the governor would be authorized the distribute land to settlers and issue them titles in the name of the Mexican government. Only one contract was ultimately approved under this legislation, the first contract granted to Stephen F. Austin.[6]

Between 1824 and 1828, Austin granted 297 titles under this contract. Each head of household received a minimum of 177 acres[7] or 4,428 acres[8] depending on whether they intended to farm or raise livestock. The grant could be increased for large families or those wishing to establish a new industry, but the lands would be forfeited if they were not cultivated within two years.[6]

The settlers who received their titles under Austin's first contract were known as the Old Three Hundred, and they made up the first organized, approved influx of Anglo-American immigrants to Texas. The new titles were located in an area where no Spanish or Mexican settlements had existed, covering the land between the Brazos River and the Colorado River from the Gulf Coast to the San Antonio Road.[9]

Settlers

When Austin began advertising his colony, he received a great deal of interest. He was able to be selective in his choice of colonists, which enabled his colony to be very different from most others of the time period. Settlers were chosen based on whether Austin believed they would be appropriately industrious. Overall, they belonged to a much higher economic scale than most immigrants, and all brought some property with them. One-quarter of the families brought slaves with them. Surprisingly for the time, all but four of the men could read and write. This unheard-of level of literacy had a great impact on the future of the colony. According to historian William C. Davis, because they were literate, the colonists "absorbed and spread the knowledge and news always essential to uniting people to a common purpose".[10]

Despite a provision in Mexican law requiring immigrants to be Catholic, most of Austin's settlers were Protestant. Many were unenthused about being ruled by Catholics. Most also held strong feelings about property ownership and personal liberty.[10]

Lester G. Bugbee in his article The Old Three Hundred published in the October 1897 issue of The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, identifies the head of each family who purchased land in Austin's colony.[11] They were:

  • Elijah Allcorn
  • Martin Allen
  • John Alley
  • Thomas Alley
  • Rawson Alley
  • William Alley
  • Charles G. Alsbury
  • Harvey Alsbury
  • Horace Arlington Alsbury
  • Thomas Alsbury
  • S. A. Anderson
  • John Andrews
  • William Andrews
  • Samuel T. Angier
  • John Austin
  • Santiago E.B. Austin
  • Estevan Austin
  • Stephen F. Austin
  • James B. Baily
  • Daniel E. Balis
  • William Baratt
  • Thomas Barnet
  • Mills M. Battle
  • James Beard
  • Benejani Beason
  • Charles Belknap
  • Josiah H. Bell
  • Thomas B. Bell
  • M. Berry
  • Isaac Best
  • Jacob Betts
  • Fras Biggam
  • William Bloodgood
  • Thomas Boatwright
  • Thomas Borden
  • Caleb R. Bostwick
  • John T. Bowman
  • Edward R. Bradley
  • John Bradley
  • Thomas Bradley
  • Charles Breen
  • Patrick Brias
  • William B. Bridges
  • David Bright
  • Enoch Brinson
  • Bluford Brooks
  • Robert Brotherington
  • George Brown
  • John Brown
  • William S. Brown
  • Aylett C. Buckner
  • Pumphrey Brunet
  • Jesse Burnam
  • Micajah Byrd
  • Mosis [Morris] A. Callihan
  • Alexander Calvit
  • David Carpenter
  • William C. Carson
  • Samuel Carter
  • Jesse H. Cartwright
  • Thomas Cartwright
  • Sylvenus Castleman
  • Samuel Chance
  • Isaac N. Charles [Charles Isaac Nidever]
  • Horatio Chriesman
  • Antony R. Clarke
  • John C. Clark
  • Merit M. Coats
  • John P. Coles
  • John Cooke
  • James Cook
  • William Cooper
  • John Crier
  • John Crownover
  • James Cummings
  • John Cummings
  • Rebecca Cummings
  • William Cummings
  • James Cummins
  • James Curtis, Sr.
  • James Curtis, Jr.
  • Hinton Curtis
  • Samuel Davidson
  • Thomas Davis
  • D. Deckrow
  • Charles Demos
  • Peter Demos
  • William B. Dewees
  • John Dickinson
  • Nicholas Dillard
  • Thomas M. Duke
  • George Duty
  • Joseph Duty
  • Clement C. Dyer
  • Thomas Earle
  • G.E. Edwards
  • John Elam
  • Robert Elder
  • Charles Falenash
  • David Fenton
  • John F. Fields
  • James Fisher
  • David Fitzgerald
  • Isaiah Flanakin
  • Elisha Flowers
  • Isaac Foster
  • John Foster
  • Randolph Foster
  • James Frazier
  • Charles Fulshear
  • Charles Garret
  • Samuel Gates
  • William Gates
  • Freeman George
  • Preston Gilbert
  • Sarah Gilbert
  • Daniel Gilleland
  • Chester S. Gorbet
  • Michael Gouldrich
  • Thomas Gray
  • Jared E. Groce
  • Robert Guthrie
  • John Haddan
  • Samuel C. Hady
  • George B. Hall
  • John W. Hall
  • W. J. Hall
  • David Hamilton
  • Abner Harris
  • David Harris
  • John R. Harris
  • William Harris
  • William J. Harris
  • George Harrison
  • William Harvey
  • Thomas S. Haynes
  • James Hensley
  • Alexander Hodge
  • Francis Holland
  • William Holland
  • Kinchen Holliman
  • James Hope
  • C.S. Hudson
  • George Huff
  • John Huff
  • Isaac Hughes
  • Eli Hunter
  • Johnson Hunter
  • John Iiams
  • Ira Ingram
  • Seth Ingram
  • John Irons
  • Samuel Isaacks
  • Alexander Jackson
  • Humphrey Jackson
  • Isaac Jackson
  • Thomas Jamison
  • Henry W. Johnson
  • Henry Jones
  • James.W. Jones
  • Oliver Jones
  • R. Jones
  • Imla Keep
  • John C. Keller
  • John Kelly
  • Jamuel Kennedy
  • Alfred Kennon
  • James Kerr
  • Peter Kerr
  • William Kerr
  • William Kincheloe
  • William Kingston
  • James Knight
  • Abner Kuykendall
  • Brazilla Kuykendall
  • Robert Kuykendall
  • Joseph Kuykendall
  • Hosea H. League
  • Joel Leakey
  • Benjamin Linsey
  • John Little
  • William Little
  • Jane H. Long
  • James Lynch
  • Nathanael Lynch
  • John McCroskey
  • Arthur McCormick
  • David McCormick
  • John McCormick
  • Thomas McCoy
  • Aechilles McFarlan
  • John McFarlan
  • Thomas F. McKenney
  • Hugh McKinsey
  • A.W. McClain
  • James McNair
  • Daniel McNeel
  • George W. McNeel
  • John G. McNeel
  • John McNeel
  • Pleasant D. McNeel
  • Sterling McNeel
  • Elizabeth McNutt
  • William McWilliams
  • Shubael Marsh
  • Wily Martin
  • William Mathis
  • David H. Milburn
  • Samuel Miller
  • Samuel R. Miller
  • Simon Miller
  • James D. Millican
  • Robert Millican
  • William Millican
  • Joseph Minus
  • Asa Mitchell
  • John L. Monks
  • John H. Moore
  • Luke Moore
  • Moses Morrison
  • William Morton
  • David Mouser
  • James Nelson
  • Joseph Newman
  • M.B. Nuckols
  • James Orrick
  • Nathan Osborn
  • William Parks
  • Joshua Parker
  • William Parker
  • Isaac Pennington
  • George S. Pentecost
  • Freeman Pettus
  • William A. Pettus
  • John Petty
  • J.C. Peyton
  • James A.E. Phelps
  • I.B. Phillips
  • Zeno Phillips
  • Pamelia Picket
  • Joseph H. Polley
  • Peter Powell
  • William Prater
  • Pleasant Pruitt
  • William Pryor
  • Andrew Rabb
  • John Rabb
  • Thomas J. Rabb
  • William Rabb
  • William Raleigh
  • L. Ramey
  • David Randon
  • John Randon
  • Frederic H. Rankin
  • Amos Rawls
  • Benjamin Rawls
  • Daniel Rawls
  • Stephen Richardson
  • Elijah Roark
  • Earle Robbins
  • William Robbins
  • Andrew Roberts
  • Noel F. Roberts
  • William Roberts
  • Edward Robertson
  • A. Robinson
  • George Robinson
  • James Ross
  • June Salmeron
  • Joseph San Pierre
  • Robert Scobey
  • Marvin Scheick
  • James Scott
  • William Scott
  • William Selkirk
  • David Shelby
  • Daniel Shipman
  • Moses Shipman
  • Bartlet Sims
  • G.W. Singleton
  • Phillip Singleton
  • Christian Smith
  • Cornelius Smith
  • John Smith
  • William Smeathers
  • Gabriel S. Snider
  • Albert L. Sojourner
  • Nancy Spencer
  • Adam Stafford
  • William Stafford
  • Thomas Stevens
  • Owne H. Stout
  • John Strange
  • Walter Sutherland
  • David Tally
  • John I. Taylor
  • George Teel
  • Ezekiel Thomas
  • Jacob Thomas
  • Jesse Thompson
  • Thomas J. Tone
  • James F. Tong
  • Samuel Toy
  • John Trobough
  • Elizabeth Tumlinson
  • James Tumlinson
  • Isaac Vandorn
  • Martin Varner
  • Allen Vince
  • Richard Vince
  • Robert Vince
  • William Vince
  • James Walker
  • Thomas Walker
  • Caleb Wallice
  • Francis F. Wells
  • Thomas Westall
  • Amy White
  • Joseph White
  • Reuben White
  • Walter C. White
  • William C. White
  • Boland Whitesides
  • Henry Whitesides
  • James Whitesides
  • William Whitesides
  • Nathaniel Whiting
  • William Whitlock
  • Elias D. Wightman
  • Jane Wilkins
  • George I. Williams
  • Henry Williams
  • John Williams
  • John R. Williams
  • Robert H. Williams
  • Samuel M. Williams
  • Solomon Williams
  • Thomas Williams
  • Zadock Woods

References

  1. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 58.
  2. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 59.
  3. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 60.
  4. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 61.
  5. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 63.
  6. ^ a b Greaser (1999), p. xviii.
  7. ^ Cantrell (2000), p. 419.
  8. ^ Hatch (1999), p. 136.
  9. ^ Greaser (1999), p. ix.
  10. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 60.
  11. ^ Bugbee, Lester G., THE OLD THREE HUNDRED. A LIST OF SETTLERS IN AUSTIN'S FIRST COLONY , Volume 001, Number 2, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Page 108–117. Accessed 2008-04-14.
  • Cantrell, Gregg (2001), Stephen F. Austin, empresario of Texas, New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300090932  
  • Davis, William C. (2006), Lone Star Rising, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 9781585445325   originally published 2004 by New York: Free Press
  • Edmondson, J.R. (2000), The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-678-0  
  • Greaser, Galen (1999), "Foreword", Austin's Old Three Hundred: The First Anglo Colony in Texas, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, ISBN 1571682910  
  • Hatch, Thom (1999), Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas revolution, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, ISBN 9780786405930  

External links

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