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Mary Brown Austin

Mary Brown Austin (1768–1824) had dramatic influence on early Texas history. Perhaps her most important contribution to history is writing a letter to her son, Stephen, two days before the death of her husband, Moses Austin, imploring Stephen F. Austin to carry out the dying wish of his father—that Stephen follow through with the empresario grants for land settlement in Texas.[1] As such, Mary Brown Austin had a significant role in the shaping and development of Texas.



Mary was born to Abia Brown and Margaret (Sharp) Brown, at Sharpsborough Furnace, New Jersey, on January 1, 1768.[1] She had eight siblings and she lived the longest.[1] Her father, Abia Brown, had served as a deputy in the provincial congresses of 1775 and 1776.[2] Her father had significant real estate holdings related to iron mining and smelting.[1]

After the death of her mother, Abia asked Benjamin Fuller to board Mary and one of her sisters.[1] Fuller was connected to Abia by marriage into the Sharp family and actually was her uncle.[1] Stephen F. Austin's middle name is credited to his great uncle, Benjamin Fuller.

Mary Brown Austin was the mother of Stephen F. Austin and Emily Austin Perry, James Elijah Brown Austin, and wife of Moses Austin. Her grandchildren include Guy Morrison Bryan, Stephen Samuel Perry, William Joel Bryan, and Moses Austin Bryan. Her daughter Emily was first married to James Bryan and later to James F. Perry.


Mary was also known by the names:

  • Miss Maria Brown
  • Miss Mary Brown
  • Maria Brown Austin
  • Mary Brown Austin
  • Maria Brown Austin
  • Maria (Mary) Austin Brown.[1] She liked to be called "Maria" (pronounced differently than typical for this particular spelling; the enunciation is like that of the first name of the singer Mariah Carey).
  • Mary Brown
  • Mary Austin
  • Mary
  • Maria


Tomb of Moses and Maria Brown Austin in Potosi, Missouri

Mary is buried in Potosi, Missouri, alongside her husband who founded Potosi.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g David B. Gracy II: Austin, Mary Brown from the Handbook of Texas Online (June 9, 2010). Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Mrs. Lotta Moss Edwards". USGenWeb Archives. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Photo of the tomb of Moses Austin". Rome of the West. February 18, 2008. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  • Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). David B. Gracy II, Moses Austin: His Life (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1987).